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Ed Feng's Week 5 College Football Playoff Standings Predictions

Ed Feng@@thepowerrankAnalytics ExpertSeptember 27, 2015

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh walks on the field after an NCAA college football game against BYU in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015. Michigan won 31-0. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
Tony Ding/Associated Press

How would the College Football Playoff committee rank teams this week? Which four schools would make the playoff?

We can use analytics to make an educated guess on the committee rankings. The Associated Press poll provides a baseline for the Top 25 teams before the committee releases its first poll. My algorithm then adjusts teams based on the most recent opponent and margin of victory.

Teams that win keep their place or make a jump if they beat a higher-ranked opponent. Teams that lose drop but not as much if they lose to a highly ranked team. You get the idea.

Let's look at the three most interesting movers from Week 3.

Top 25 College Football Standings
RankTeamResult
1Ohio StateWin vs. Western Michigan, 38-12
2Michigan StateWin vs. Central Michigan, 30-10
3Ole MissWin vs. Vanderbilt, 27-16
4BaylorWin vs. Rice, 70-17
5TCUWin vs. Texas Tech, 55-52
6Notre DameWin vs. UMass, 62-27
7UCLAWin vs. Arizona, 56-30
8GeorgiaWin vs. Southern, 48-6
9LSUWin vs. Syracuse, 34-24
10Florida StateBYE
11ClemsonBYE
12UtahWin vs. Oregon, 62-20
13AlabamaWin vs. Louisiana Monroe, 34-0
14OklahomaBYE
15Texas A&MWin vs. Arkansas, 28-21
16NorthwesternWin vs. Ball State, 24-19
17USCWin vs. Arizona State, 42-14
18StanfordWin vs. Oregon State, 42-24
19Mississippi StateWin vs. Auburn, 17-9
20WisconsinWin vs. Hawaii, 28-0
21Oklahoma StateWin vs. Texas, 30-27
22West VirginiaWin vs. Maryland, 45-6
23OregonLoss vs. Utah 62-20
24MichiganWin vs. BYU, 31-0
25ToledoWin vs. Arkansas State, 37-7
Ed Feng, ESPN

Michigan Cracks the Top 25 

Tanner Mangum had a magical start to his BYU career. The quarterback took over for the injured Taysom Hill in the opener and completed a Hail Mary to beat Nebraska. Then he did it again the next week against Boise State.

However, the fairy dust disintegrated when Mangum met the Michigan defense, as I predicted it would. Mangum couldn't summon up the big plays against an underrated Wolverines defense and ended the day averaging less than one yard per pass attempt after accounting for sacks.

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BYU has a 2-2 record, which is not bad for a brutal four-game stretch in which it entered each game as the underdog. It is the street cred that BYU earned over the first three weeks of the year that catapults Michigan into the Top 25 after its dominating 31-0 win over the Cougars, earning major style points with the committee. 

Based on this game, it's clear this Michigan team has turned a corner. The offense looked crisp, and the defense looked intimidating. The Michigan faithful can rest well, knowing Harbaugh has the Wolverines playing Top 25-worthy football.  

Embarrassing Home Loss Drops Oregon Out of Top 20

Ryan Kang/Associated Press

We knew Oregon had issues on defense. Eastern Washington, an FCS team, and Georgia State, not much better than a FCS team, gained 549 and 431 yards, respectively, against the Ducks.

The defense has been bad for a while, but no one noticed last year since Marcus Mariota had the offense flying high. Now without Mariota, Oregon looks lost. The 62-20 loss drops Oregon to 23rd in the committee rankings. The large margin of victory for Utah lands the Utes at 12th.

With two losses already on the card, Oregon's playoff hopes are over. 

TCU's Miracle at Texas Tech Costs It a Spot

TCU had almost zero injuries on defense in 2014. That is not the case this year. 

Heading into Saturday's game at Texas Tech, the Horned Frogs were missing three defensive linemen, a linebacker, a safety and a cornerback.

This rash of injuries allowed Texas Tech to light up the scoreboard in Lubbock. The Red Raiders had a 52-48 lead late in the fourth quarter, and TCU needed a miracle touchdown on 4th-and-goal to escape with the win. 

The committee would recognize this as a lucky win, so TCU drops one spot behind Baylor.  

Ed Feng has a Ph.D. from Stanford and runs the sports analytics site The Power Rank. You can find him on Twitter @thepowerrank 

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