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 of making 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. LSU at Florida has already been rescheduled for Nov. 19th in these simulations, even if the SEC hasn't yet in real life.
The strength-of-schedule rank considers only FBS opponents played so far, not a team's entire schedule. It also adjusts for whether a team plays at home or away.
Now let's look at some key results.
|Ed Feng's College Football Playoff Probability|
|Rank||Team||Playoff Probability||AP Ranking||Wins||Losses||SOS|
|The Power Rank|
Huskies Lead the Pac-12 Pack
In the past two weeks, Washington has dominated Stanford and Oregon by a combined 114-27 score. With this complete annihilation of the two teams that have won every Pac-12 title since 2009, the Huskies are the clear playoff favorite from the conference. The numbers give them a 40 percent playoff probability, and their toughest remaining game looks like the Apple Cup against Washington State (3-2, 2-0) in late November.
Tigers Top Standings
Clemson looked shaky earlier in the season, as Troy took the Tigers down to the wire in Death Valley. But this week, the Tigers looked as strong as ever, beating Boston College 56-10. The large margin of victory matters, as research shows rankings that use this variable are better at predicting future outcomes than systems that only use wins and losses. Clemson holds onto its 63 percent probability to make the playoff, the highest score in the nation.
Mighty Michigan D Starting to Dominate
Two numbers highlight the complete domination of Michigan's defense against Rutgers after Saturday's 78-0 drubbing. First, Rutgers had only two first downs, both coming in the fourth quarter. Second, the Scarlet Knights completed just two passes the entire night—only one for positive yards. When including sacks as pass plays, Rutgers had minus-1.1 yards per pass attempt.
It's still just Rutgers, but it's safe to say Michigan's playoff odds will stay high given that defense. It currently has a 29 percent probability.
Houston Teases Us Again but Falls Short
Not again, Houston. Last year's playoff darling was garnering excitement for a potential playoff berth. And why not? Before this week, Houston's defense had shut down the ground game, allowing a nation-leading 1.6 yards per carry.
However, Navy's triple option gashed them for 306 yards at 4.9 yards per carry. The Midshipmen also cashed in an pick-six, as they pulled off the most improbable of upsets against Houston. The loss conceivably ends Houston's hopes for crashing the playoff party.
Aggies Ascend, but for How Long?
Texas A&M moved into the playoff conversation with a big win over Tennessee.The Aggies are 6-0 and have an 18 percent chance to make the playoff. Texas A&M still has issues stopping the run, as Tennessee ran for 6.3 yards per carry. This weakness will hurt the Aggies when they travel to Alabama on Oct. 22 after a bye this week. The Crimson Tide rank 13th in the country in yards per rush attempt at 6.2.
Florida State Stays in The Race
Florida State got back on track with a dramatic win over Miami this week. But the real question is whether the Seminoles can beat Clemson in Tallahassee on Oct. 29. My numbers give the Seminoles a 41 percent chance, and a victory could result in the use of analytics to break a three-way tie with Clemson and Louisville.
Boise State Has Best Group of Five Odds
Boise State has started 5-0 and now looks like the most likely Group of Five team to make the playoff after Houston's loss. However, don't count on it.
Before losing to UConn in late November last year, undefeated Houston only made it as high as 19th in the committee rankings. Boise State has wins over Pac-12 schools Oregon State and Washington State, but the Broncos' strength of schedule (currently at 73rd) won't sway many committee members to rank them higher than it did Houston a year ago.
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.