How will the College Football Playoff committee rank teams this Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET?
I use analytics to make an educated guess about the committee's rankings. My algorithm starts with the Associated Press poll and adjusts teams based on their most recent opponent and margin of victory.
Teams that win keep their places unless they need overtime to beat Jacksonville State. Teams that lose drop—but not much if they lose to a Top 10 team. You get the idea.
Sometimes, I make subjective adjustments to the rankings. For example, Michigan made the Top 25 after a huge win over BYU in Week 4 even though the algorithm didn't put the Wolverines there.
This week, I made some more subjective adjustments based on the committee's first rankings from last season. Let me explain.
|Ed Feng's College Football Playoff Standings Predictions|
|1||Ohio State (8-0)||Bye|
|3||Clemson (8-0)||Won at NC State, 56-41|
|5||TCU (8-0)||Won vs. West Virginia, 40-10|
|6||Michigan State (8-0)||Bye|
|7||Iowa (8-0)||Won vs. Maryland, 31-15|
|8||Oklahoma State (8-0)||Won at Texas Tech, 70-53|
|9||Notre Dame (7-1)||Won at Temple, 24-20|
|10||Florida (7-1)||Won vs. Georgia, 27-3|
|12||Stanford (7-1)||Won at Washington State, 30-28|
|13||Utah (7-1)||Won vs. Oregon State, 27-12|
|14||Oklahoma (7-1)||Won at Kansas, 62-7|
|15||Florida State (7-1)||Won vs. Syracuse, 45-21|
|16||Memphis (8-0)||Won vs. Tulane, 41-13|
|17||Houston (8-0)||Won vs. Vanderbilt, 34-0|
|18||Michigan (6-2)||Won at Minnesota, 29-26|
|19||Ole Miss (7-2)||Won at Auburn, 27-19|
|20||Mississippi State (6-2)||Bye|
|21||North Carolina (7-1)||Won at Pittsburgh, 26-19|
|22||UCLA (6-2)||Won vs. Colorado, 35-31|
|24||Temple (7-1)||Lost vs. Notre Dame, 24-20|
|25||Pittsburgh (6-2)||Lost vs. North Carolina, 26-19|
What to make of Iowa, Oklahoma State in Top Eight
Both Iowa and Oklahoma State won in Week 9 to remain undefeated. Since neither of these teams made the AP preseason poll, they will be behind some one-loss teams when the next AP poll comes out.
However, the committee doesn't care about preseason polls, and its first rankings from last season sorted the top teams by losses. This suggests it will rank these two Power Five programs above all one-loss teams. I bumped the Hawkeyes and Cowboys over one-loss Notre Dame, Florida, Alabama and Stanford.
Iowa ends up seventh in the committee rankings and will most likely stay in the Top 10 a few more weeks with a trip to Indiana and then home games against Minnesota and Purdue. My numbers give them better than a 70 percent chance to win each of those games.
Oklahoma State is eighth but will most likely have a short stay in the Top 10. It faces a strong TCU team Saturday and has a schedule that gets difficult toward the end of the season.
Florida destroys rival Georgia, continues to climb
Florida put a beating on rival Georgia in the teams' annual game in Jacksonville on Saturday. The Gators picked off the Bulldogs four times and almost doubled their yardage (413-223) in a convincing 27-3 win.
Coming into the game, it seemed like Florida would have trouble running the ball. The Gators had gained 4.0 yards per carry, 91st in the nation, while Georgia's defense had given up only 3.8 yards per carry, good for 13th-best. (These numbers come from my calculations, which do not count sacks as rushes like most college football stats do.)
However, Florida ran for 261 yards on 5.6 yards per carry Saturday. Kelvin Taylor had 121 of those yards and two touchdowns.
The Gators move up to 10th in the committee rankings and take their place behind Notre Dame in the hierarchy of one-loss teams. Florida will most likely lock up the SEC East with a home win against Vanderbilt on Saturday, and that would give the Gators a berth in the conference championship game.
If it wins the SEC with one loss, Florida almost certainly makes the playoff. If it falls short in the championship game, it would need a lot of help, as it is looking up at eight undefeated teams.
Memphis, Houston stand out among undefeated Group of Five teams
Memphis and Houston won this week, so the American Athletic Conference still has two undefeated teams. How will the committee treat these squads from the Group of Five?
We can't tell much from last season. Unbeaten Marshall finally made the committee rankings in Week 14 last year. But that team from Conference USA had a weak schedule with three games against the MAC and one versus the FCS.
In contrast, the Tigers have a signature win over Ole Miss. This makes Memphis the top Group of Five team in the committee rankings at No. 16, right behind the one-loss teams from the Power Five.
The Cougars don't have a strong signature win like the Tigers do. But Houston has beaten Louisville and Vanderbilt. Moreover, it has the second-highest margin of victory in the nation, which warrants the 17th spot in the committee rankings.
The Cougars host Memphis in two weeks in what should be a terrific matchup, and the winner will have a slim chance to make the playoff.