Ed Feng's Week 4 College Football Playoff Standings Predictions

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 to make 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 ranking considers only FBS opponents played so far, not a team’s entire schedule. Here’s what we learned in Week 3.

    

Louisville Sluggers

While it was a little difficult to figure out Louisville when they were beating up on Charlotte and Syracuse, an emphatic 43-point win over Florida State puts the Cardinals in the middle of the playoff race.

Quarterback Lamar Jackson has been spectacular, and let’s not forget that head coach Bobby Petrino has led top 10 teams in the past. Louisville’s 49 percent chance to make the playoff trails only Alabama (60 percent).

    

FSU Still in the Mix

It might seem strange to see Florida State with the fourth-highest playoff probability after getting crushed at Louisville. However, it’s all about the schedule.

The Seminoles still play Clemson but have rather large win probabilities against their remaining competition. A team can bounce back from one early loss, as evidenced by Ohio State falling to Virginia Tech early in the 2014 season and storming back to win the inaugural College Football Playoff.

    

ACC Trio to Fight It Out

Louisville, Clemson and Florida State might have the second-, third- and fourth-best playoff odds, but this in no way means all three ACC teams will make the playoff. These three teams play in the Atlantic division, so the results imply that the winner of this division has a high likelihood to make the playoff.

A second team from this division is not out of the question either, particularly if both finish with just one loss. However, there’s no certainty for any of these three teams, as no ACC teams made the playoff in 12 percent of the simulations.

     

Alabama Stays on Top

Top-ranked Alabama didn’t play the perfect game against Ole Miss, as it gained fewer yards than the Rebels (492 to 527). However, the Crimson Tide had two defensive scores and a punt-return touchdown to aid in its five-point win. This road win against the 10th-best team by my numbers keeps the Crimson Tide on top, with a 60 percent chance to make the playoffs.

    

Clemson Cruises

Clemson’s offense struggled in its first two games against Auburn and Troy, as the Tigers could only muster about five yards per play in each game. Deshaun Watson’s unit got back on track against South Carolina State, as the Heisman hopeful threw for 10.1 yards per attempt in just one half of action. Clemson’s 59-point win keeps its playoff odds high at 43 percent.

     

Stanford Safe…for Now

Late in the first quarter Saturday, Christian McCaffrey found himself open in the USC secondary. The Stanford standout scored the easiest 56-yard touchdown reception of his career, and Stanford remained untested in a 27-10 win over the Trojans.

Stanford looks like the top Pac-12 playoff contender with calculated playoff odds of 32 percent. The Cardinal can confirm this position by beating UCLA and Washington on the road over the next two weeks.

     

Buckeye Beatdown

Ohio State scored a huge 45-24 road win over Oklahoma and moved up to second in the rankings that drive these playoff odds. However, the Buckeyes still face difficult games against Wisconsin, Michigan and Michigan State. They have a 29 percent chance to make the playoff, surprisingly lower than a team like Florida State, which faces a less difficult remaining schedule.

    

Vols Need a Makeover

Tennessee entered its game against Ohio as a 27-point favorite. However, the Vols didn’t look impressive in a 28-19 win. Tennessee has a 75 percent probability to beat Florida at home this week. Then its path to the playoff gets progressively tougher, with games at Georgia (57 percent), at Texas A&M (44 percent) and against Alabama (35 percent).

    

Spartans Ascend Up Rankings

After a poor showing to open the season against Furman, Michigan State impressed with a 36-28 point win at Notre Dame. The Spartans have the 10th highest playoff odds at 10.7 percent. This will improve if the Spartans can convert on their 62 percent win probability against Wisconsin this week.

     

Aggies Stay Hot

Not many saw Texas A&M as a playoff contender this preseason. Following two consecutive 8-5 seasons, the Aggies didn’t crack the Top 25 in the preseason AP poll. But after three weeks of football, 3-0 Texas A&M has wins over UCLA and Auburn.

My numbers give the Aggies an outside shot at the playoff spot at 11 percent, third best in the SEC. They still face many pitfalls in the SEC West, the first of which is a date with Arkansas in Arlington on Saturday, with a 54 percent win probability.

       

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

The Hot-Seat Tigers: Are Gus Malzahn and Les Miles Coaching for Their Jobs?

It’s Week 4 of the college football season, and two high-profile head coaches are coaching for their jobs.

Against each other.

Les Miles, a two-time SEC champion (2007 and 2011) and one-time national champion (2007), will take his LSU Tigers into Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday afternoon to take on 2013 SEC champion and the offensive coordinator of the 2010 national champion Auburn Tigers, Gus Malzahn. 

Is it “loser go home,” with the head coach who falls immediately hitting the computer to polish up his resume?

No, probably not right away.

But the loser of Saturday’s showdown on the Plains will have to win back his job for the remaining two months of the season, not fight to keep it.

You can already tell that the pressure is mounting, because both have addressed the “state of the program” after losses this year.

“Yeah, I recognize that there’s some things going on out there, and I’ll address them at the right time,” Miles said after his team’s season-opening loss to Wisconsin, according to quotes emailed by LSU.

Each year is different, and this is 2016,” Malzahn said after his team’s home loss to Texas A&M, according to Auburn’s emailed quotes. “The only thing on my mind right now is making us as good as we possibly can be. That’s the way I look at it. You turn the page from this one, you learn from it, you go practice, you give them a good plan and you worry about LSUthat’s the only thing on my mind, and that’s how you look at it.”

You don’t address the state of your program this early in the season unless it’s in a bad state, which is exactly where these two programs are.

For LSU, it’s a sense of the same old story.

The offense wasn’t able to stretch the field on a consistent basis early when running back Leonard Fournette struggled, to a point where Miles was forced to go to backup Danny Etling in the first quarter of the Tigers’ Week 2 game against Jacksonville State to find some kind of spark.

Etling has been decent, including a 19-of-30, 215-yard performance in the 23-20 win over Mississippi State on Saturday night. 

But LSU established its running game early with Fournette, and the pressure never fell on Etling’s shoulders to be the difference-maker through the air that LSU has been lacking. Thus, questions remain about LSU, Miles and his ability to produce a flexible offense that’s prepared for “Plan B” when “Plan A” doesn’t click.

For Auburn, it’s a case of a head coach flat-out losing his edge.

Three short seasons ago, Malzahn was the toast of the town. An offensive genius. An innovative play-caller who always seemed to be one step ahead of the opposing defense thanks to a power rushing attack out of the spread that thrives with tempo.

The play-calling has become predictable, Malzahn has not developed quarterbacks in each of the last two seasons and he seems convinced that playing “musical quarterbacks” is the only way out of this rut, despite the obvious fact it prevents anybody from getting into and sustaining a groove under center.

As a result, Auburn has lost six straight conference home games for the first time in program history and has lost 12 of its last 15 games against Power Five programs dating back to the loss to Texas A&M on Nov. 8, 2014.

The ESPN broadcast pointed out Saturday that Auburn has the second-longest active home losing streak in the nation against Power Five teams (seven) behind Colorado’s 10 straight home losses. Its last home win over a Power Five opponent was on Oct. 25, 2014, over South Carolina (42-35).

You’ve got to work hard, you’ve got to coach them up, you’ve got to give them a good plan and we’ve got to go out there and execute,” Malzahn said Saturday. “We’ve got to improve. The thing about this offense is that we will improve.”

Will it?

History suggests that it won’t and that Malzahn is what’s standing in its way.

The loser of this matchup will see his seat go from hot to scorching, and it could get decision-makers moving on paths to finding a replacement.

Offense has been the issue for each, and with offensive-minded Tom Herman rolling merrily along at Houston without a Big 12 invitation for the program in his inbox quite yet, there’s no time like the present to get the back-channel conversations going.

One administration may do just that once the clock hits triple zeros Saturday at Jordan-Hare.

          

Quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Statistics courtesy of CFBStats unless otherwise noted. All recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports. Odds provided by Odds Shark.

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and national college football video analyst for Bleacher Report as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on SiriusXM 83. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

Read more SEC Football news on BleacherReport.com


Source: Bleacher Report -SEC Football

Ohio State linebacker savagely zings trash-talking Oklahoma backup QB after big win

Remember Austin Kendall? Ohio State’s defense certainly does.

Kendall is the Oklahoma backup QB who, earlier in the week, predicted the Sooners would have no trouble against the Buckeyes’ “really basic defense,” and that Baker Mayfield would “light ’em up.”

Then Saturday happened and Mayfield was held to a QBR of just 23.4, the worst of his Oklahoma career, in a 45-24 Ohio State romp. To cap off the ‘L’ Kendall has undoubtedly taken, Buckeyes linebacker Raekwon McMillan posted this on Instagram:

Instagram Photo

Bench players talking like starters I hate it … #BasicDefense 3-0

I’m sure Bob Stoops feels the same way about his backup quarterback giving a top-five team bulletin board material.


Source: USA Today Fan Sports Poll