Will your team make the College Football Playoff?
Unlike most media sites, Bleacher Report doesn’t give you a yes-or-no answer. Instead, we use analytics and a proprietary algorithm as a substitute for committee rankings to assign teams probabilities of making the playoff. Each week, we’ll highlight the most important talking points from the previous weekend’s action and how those results impact our algorithm for playoff probability.
The table shows the results, and you can find more information on the methods at the Power Rank.
The strength-of-schedule rank considers only FBS opponents played so far, not a team’s entire schedule. It also adjusts for whether a team plays at home or away.
Now let’s look at some key results.
Tide Getting Stronger
Is there any doubt about college football’s best team? Alabama posted a 49-10 win over Tennessee, who managed only 163 yards on 2.6 yards per play in their home stadium. The Crimson Tide still have games against Texas A&M and at LSU, but the numbers like them at 76% to make the playoff, best in the nation.
Clemson’s Minor Drop
North Carolina State missed a 33-yard field goal attempt at the end of regulation, and Clemson kept its perfect record with a win in overtime. However, the close encounter hurts the Tigers. They drop one place in the AP poll, and my numbers don’t like that they won by seven as a 21 point favorite. These factors contribute to Clemson’s drop in playoff probability to 58 percent from 63 percent last week.
Louisville Hanging Around
Louisville racked up 7.7 yards per play against 4.0 for Duke. The Cardinals also out gained their opponent 469 to 239. Despite this insane domination in yardage, the Cardinals only managed a 10 point win over Duke. No matter, my numbers still like Louisville at 50 percent to make the playoff. While Clemson most likely wins the ACC Atlantic (91 percent by my numbers), Louisville could be 11-1 and in the committee’s top 4 by the end of the season. With no chance of losing on championship weekend, they would have a great chance to make the playoff.
Ohio State’s Odd Increase
J.T. Barrett made just enough plays as Ohio State managed a 30-23 overtime win over Wisconsin. After passing this stiff road test, Ohio State’s playoff odds increase to 49 percent from 44 percent last week. However, the Buckeyes defense did show a potential weakness. They allowed Wisconsin, who hasn’t been able to run the ball all season, to gain 6.4 yard per carry (numbers do not include sacks). We’ll see if this was a one game aberration or a potential worry for Ohio State.
Nebraska a Long Shot
Nebraska is 6-0 after a win over Indiana this weekend. But are the Cornhuskers a legit playoff threat? While they beat Oregon earlier this year, this win looks less impressive now that Oregon has started 0-3 in the Pac-12. My simulations give Nebraska a 2 percent chance to make the playoff, and road trips to Wisconsin (35 percent win probability) and Ohio State (13 percent win probability) play a big role in this small probability.
So You’re Saying There’s a Chance
Don’t count out Florida State from the playoff just yet. Despite two losses, the Seminoles rank No. 13 in the AP poll, and they would move up with a win over Clemson. It’s not likely that they make the playoff (19 percent) but they would have an outside shot with a 10-2 record and some kind of chaos scenario during championship week, such a loss by Alabama, Ohio State or both.
It might seem strange that two loss Oklahoma has a higher playoff probability than unbeaten Baylor and West Virginia. However, my numbers rank Oklahoma over these other Big 12 contenders. The Sooners have a 74 percent win probability over Baylor and a 63 percent win probability at West Virginia. If they beat both those teams, they most likely jump both teams in the committee rankings. Then Oklahoma would need the same type of championship week chaos scenario as Florida State to make it as a two loss team. It’s a long shot at 15 percent.
Ed Feng is Bleacher Report’s playoff probability guru and runs the sports analytics site the Power Rank. Stats provided by the Power Rank unless otherwise noted. You can find him on Twitter @thepowerrank.
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Source: Bleacher Report-CFB News