Bleacher Report's Week 9 College Football Playoff Predictions

Ed Feng@@thepowerrankAnalytics ExpertOctober 27, 2015

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 10: Joey Bosa #97 of the Ohio State Buckeyes in action against the Maryland Terrapins during a game at Ohio Stadium on October 10, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio. The Buckeyes defeated the Terrapins 49-28. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

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 the AP poll as a substitute for committee rankings to assign your team a probability to make the playoff.

The sortable table below shows the results, while you can find more information on the methods here. Week 8 changed the odds for some teams with the highest probabilities. Let's look at the top talking points.

Clemson makes the jump after crushing Miami

LOUISVILLE, KY - SEPTEMBER 17:  Wayne Gallman #9 of the Clemson Tigers runs with the ball during the game against the Louisville Cardinals at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on September 17, 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The numbers always like a team that wins 58-0. Clemson's embarrassment of Miami not only got Canes coach Al Golden fired, but it bumped the Tigers' playoff probability to 55.4 percent, highest in the nation.

While Clemson looked great this weekend, Florida State did not. As a six-point favorite, the Seminoles lost to Georgia Tech 22-16 when a field-goal attempt was blocked and returned for a game-winning touchdown.

Before Week 8, my numbers gave Clemson a 62 percent chance to beat Florida State in a pivotal ACC game. Now, Clemson has a 73 percent chance to win, which plays a big role in their increased playoff probability.

Not many expected Clemson to make a playoff run this preseason because an elite defense lost most of its starters from last season. However, coordinator Brent Venables has done a fantastic job as Clemson has allowed 4.14 yards per play this season.

Seth Russell injury drops Baylor from the top spot

WACO, TX - OCTOBER 24: Seth Russell #17 of the Baylor Bears is stopped by Iowa State Cyclones defenders in the fourth quarter at McLane Stadium on October 24, 2015 in Waco, Texas. Baylor team officials said Russell, who left the field after the play, suff
Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Before panic time over Seth Russell, Baylor had panic time with Seth Russell. Prior to the quarterback getting hurt Saturday, Baylor didn't score on its first four possessions of the second half against Iowa State.

Last week, I discussed how Baylor had the highest playoff probability despite a weak schedule because they kept winning by large margins. On Saturday, they beat Iowa State by 18, much less than the 35 expected by the markets. Baylor's playoff chances dropped from over 50 percent to 35 percent.

Panic with Russell turned into panic over Russell as it was announced the quarterback will not play the remainder of the season because of a fractured bone in his neck. What seemed like a small sample size of four possessions becomes a potentially bigger problem without the Heisman-contending quarterback.

However, if any coach in America can fix a quarterback problem, it's Art Briles. After a bye week, Baylor will start freshman Jarrett Stidham, a highly touted prospect, against Kansas State. The Bears' 35 percent playoff probability makes no adjustment for the loss of Russell, but let's wait a few games to determine whether any adjustment is necessary.

Ohio State eclipses even odds to make playoff

What is a top playoff contender supposed to do against weak competition? Beat them, badly.

Ohio State pounded Rutgers 49-7 and reminded everyone why the Buckeyes entered the season as the consensus No. 1 team. QB J.T. Barrett started the game and completed 14 of 18 passes for 223 yards. With his sustained success over 12 games last season, this seemed like the right QB choice all along.

With the emphatic win, Ohio State has a 55.23 percent chance to make the playoff, barely trailing Clemson (55.45). They have a tough road game against a resurgent Michigan team to end the regular season, but my numbers give them a 55 percent win probability in that game.

The Temple fairy tale ends this weekend

Gretchen Ertl/Associated Press

Temple has had a magical season so far. It has an unblemished 7-0 record, and their game with Notre Dame this Saturday has drawn the attention of ESPN's College GameDay crew.

However, Temple is not as good as its record suggests. The offense has yet to gain more than 5.4 yards per play in any game this season, and they beat a poor Massachusetts team by only two points.

While Temple's defense has been sound, they face a difficult task in Notre Dame's offense. This season, the Fighting Irish have gained 7.3 yards per play, fifth-best in the nation.  

Notre Dame presents a difficult matchup for Temple on both sides of the ball. My numbers give Temple only a 25 percent chance to win.

The Big 12 likely only gets one playoff team

Jerry Larson/Associated Press

With TCU and Baylor both in the top five of the playoff odds, it might seem like two Big 12 teams will make the final four. However, this is not the case. It's more likely to be one or the other, as even the sum of their chances is only 72 percent.

Baylor plays TCU on Thanksgiving weekend, and the winner most likely wins the Big 12 and makes the playoff. It's unlikely the other team makes it with one loss. For this to happen, a few of the favorites in conference championship games would have to lose.

Also, let's not assume both Baylor and TCU make it to Thanksgiving undefeated, as they both have a game with Oklahoma. The Sooners defense has allowed 4.5 yards per play (15th in the nation), which gives Oklahoma a decent shot to win either game.

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


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