College Football Playoff: Which teams control how most of their destinies


Clemson using behind Travis Etienne and tackle Sean Pollard applaud after a touchdown Saturday opposite Florida State. (Joshua S. Kelly/USA Today Sports)

Cade Massey, Practice Professor during a Wharton School, and Rufus Peabody, a sports analyst, developed this ranking complement for raised destiny performance. Using their predictive ratings and accounting for energetic uncertainty, they copy a rest of a deteriorate (plus a playoff committee’s preference process) 20,000 times.

Pro tip: If a college football pundit sounds assured in their playoff predictions this week, don’t buy it.

Sometimes a best thing a indication can do is indicate out moments of high uncertainty, and according to a numbers, that’s accurately where we stand. Washington and Notre Dame forsaken vicious games this weekend, winnowing a domain of College Football Playoff hopefuls to 9 teams (all others have reduction than a 1 percent probability of creation a four-team field) and probably ensuring a Pac-12 will be left out (2 percent).  But with usually a few teams in auspicious positions, and all confronting estimable tests, roughly anything can occur with those nine.

They are a firmly bunched group. To find a differences, we take a demeanour during a domain by a lens of “destiny control,” listed with where we plan a cabinet will arrange any this week and a perspective of a chances of creation a playoff:

The leader

Alabama [Current projection: No. 1. Playoff chance: 91 percent]: Alabama is (predictably) as tighten to a certain thing as there is right now. While a Crimson Tide is usually 50-50 to win out – it still contingency kick Auburn and Georgia – we trust it expected will make a playoff even with one loss. That probability has ramifications for a rest of a field, since a second SEC organisation would fist out one of a remaining contenders.

Looking strong

Six teams behind Alabama control their destiny, though dual of them have easier paths than a others, giving them a more-likely-than-not probability of creation a playoff.

Clemson [Current projection: No. 3. Playoff chance: 70 percent]: This weekend’s destruction doesn’t change many for Clemson, a fourth-ranked organisation in a energy ratings. If a Tigers run a list and kick Miami in a ACC championship diversion Dec. 2 — we brace them as a touchdown favorite — they are in. Lose to Miami, and they are on a outward looking in.

Oklahoma [Current projection: No. 5. Playoff chance: 59 percent]: It would take a uncertain multiple of events to keep a 12-1 Big 12 champ Oklahoma out of a playoff: If a Sooners win out, they have a 95 percent probability of creation it. But they still have to get there. We have them as 40-point favorites over Kansas and 19-point favorites over West Virginia, though a genuine exam is a rematch with TCU in a Big 12 championship game.  Oklahoma’s box is a simplest on a board: Win and you’re in; remove and go home.

Middling though resourceful

In a center of a container are 3 teams that control their destiny though face formidable paths. Lucky for them, all 3 have additional routes to a playoff.

Georgia [Current projection: No. 4. Playoff chance: 45 percent]: Georgia’s chagrin in Auburn on Saturday bumped a Bulldogs from an roughly certain thing to on a fence. If they win a SEC, they will be in, though that requires violence possibly Alabama or Auburn in a rematch. A detriment in Atlanta would dump Georgia’s playoff chances to usually 1 in 3, and they would need to demeanour many improved in better than they did final weekend.

Miami [Current projection: No. 2. Playoff chance: 40 percent]: We know one thing for certain: If Miami wins out (25 percent chance), they are in. The Hurricanes’ blowout of Notre Dame gets them closer, and it also gives them some domain for error. If Miami happens to trip adult opposite Virginia or Pittsburgh though beats Clemson for a ACC championship, it still has a 78 percent probability of creation a playoff. Even with a title-game detriment to Clemson, a Canes sojourn in a conversation, with a 21 percent chance, if a right multiple of other formula finish adult personification out.

Wisconsin [Current projection: No. 6. Playoff chance: 33 percent]: Like Miami, Wisconsin is in if it wins out, though it has usually a 20 percent probability of doing so. But even if a Badgers remove to Michigan or Minnesota in a season’s shutting weeks, they still would have a 61 percent probability of creation a playoff if they kick Ohio State in a Big Ten championship game. Alas, we’d make a Buckeyes nine-point favorites in such a scenario.

The prolonged shots

The final organisation has a longest odds, though for opposite reasons: Two need help, while one has an generally tough mountain to climb.

Ohio State [Current projection: No. 9. Playoff chance: 25 percent]: The Buckeyes’ 48-3 drubbing of Michigan State ranks as a second-best single-game opening of a whole season. We see them as a second-best organisation in a country, though they contingency win their final dual regular-season games and hit off Wisconsin in a Big Ten championship game. We give them a 61 percent probability of doing so, though even then, since of a diseased strength of report [55th] and strength of record [currently 19th], they’d have usually a 41 percent probability of convincing a committee.

Auburn [Current projection: No. 7. Playoff chance: 21 percent]: Auburn has by distant a many considerable résumé of a two-loss team. A 40-17 win over Georgia – a second-best opening of final week – vaulted a Tigers to No. 3 in a energy rankings. Despite dual losses, a Tigers many expected [90 percent] control their possess fate. But a highway forward is brutal: They contingency kick Alabama and Georgia (again).

TCU [Current projection: No. 11. Playoff chance: 11 percent]: While Washington and Notre Dame also picked adult second waste final weekend, TCU’s wasn’t as damaging. The Horned Frogs still have a trail to a discussion pretension if they win out [31 percent], despite one that runs by Oklahoma. Where would a two-loss TCU lay during a end-of-season pecking order? That’s open for debate, though we show it sandwiched between two-loss Georgia and one-loss ACC runner-up Miami, with usually a one-in-three probability of removing a call from a committee.

There is plenty doubt left, both on a football domain and in a cabinet room. All 4 playoff contenders adored to win their conferences – Alabama, Oklahoma, Ohio State and Clemson – are merely silver flips [50 to 60 percent] to win out. And it’s not usually if we lose, though how we remove that can lean a whims of a 12 group tasked with environment a bracket.

Of march a favorites could win out and keep things comparatively simple. Intuition competence even advise that is likely. But a numbers contend it’s usually an 11 percent likelihood. So check those feelings — and a pundits. And get something finished this exhausted weekend, since a subsequent dual will be eventful.

— Bob Tedeschi contributed

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