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. The strength-of-schedule ranking considers only FBS opponents played so far, not a team's entire schedule.
Now let's look at some key results from Week 5.
|Ed Feng's College Football Playoff Probability|
|Rank||Team||Playoff Probability||AP Ranking||Wins||Losses||SOS|
|The Power Rank|
Tigers the New No. 1
Clemson's ground game had been inept this season, but it fixed its problems against Louisville. Wayne Gallman broke off a 24-yard touchdown run, en route to 110 yards rushing, and Deshaun Watson added 91 on the ground as Clemson's offense ran for 6.5 yards per play against a solid defense.
With this critical win over Louisville, the Tigers' playoff chances rise to 63 percent, best in the nation, as the numbers suggest their road trip to Florida State is the lone remaining difficult game.
Louisville Still Slugging
Louisville couldn't quite beat Clemson, but this doesn't kill the Cardinals' playoff chances. They can earn another resume-building victory at Houston in late November. By championship weekend, the Cardinals could be 11-1 and in the committee's top four.
Clemson most likely wins the ACC Atlantic (88 percent by my numbers), and this means Louisville sits at home on championship weekend with no chance of losing. With a few breaks, Louisville could still make the playoff. The simulations give it a 43 percent probability, even with Saturday's loss.
Buckeyes Remain Big Ten's Best
Rutgers coach Chris Ash served as Ohio State's defensive coordinator last season. Could he have some inside knowledge of player weakness that might help the Scarlet Knights against his old team? Turns out, nope. Rutgers gained only 116 yards as an inexperienced Ohio State defense continued to dominate its opponents. Ohio State now has a 54 percent playoff probability and are the favorite to win the Big Ten.
Michigan Holding Steady
Despite no shortage of mistakes, Michigan earned a hard-fought victory over Wisconsin, 14-7. The win solidified the Wolverines as a top-five team in my numbers as they continue to win. However, they're not rising as fast as their Big Ten rivals in Columbus. Michigan has a 20 percent chance to make the playoffs, less than half of Ohio State's 54 percent at this point in the season.
Huskies Making Noise on West Coast
Washington dominated Stanford 44-6 on Friday night as Jake Browning threw for 10 yards per attempt (numbers include sacks). The Huskies' path to the playoff looks easier as Oregon, their opponent this week, has struggled mightily on defense. The Huskies are shaping up to be the only team from the Pac-12 with a legit chance to make the playoff, as the simulations give them a 39 percent chance to make it. There is a 50 percent likelihood that no Pac-12 teams are selected.
Alabama Drops, but Probability Still High
Kentucky took an early 3-0 lead at Alabama, giving it thought of pulling off the upset. Then reality set in as Alabama dominated in a 34-6 win. As such, the Crimson Tide have a 57 percent chance to make the playoff. Their playoff probability trails only Clemson's, because the numbers find Alabama's remaining schedule, which includes road trips to Texas A&M and Tennessee, more difficult than Clemson's.
The 'Problem' with Houston
While Houston keeps destroying opponents, my numbers keep illustrating almost no chance for the Cougars to make the playoff (12 percent), despite their AP rank of sixth. The biggest problem for Houston is the selection committee.
A year ago, it moved a 10-0 Houston only as high as 19th in the playoff rankings, based on strength-of-schedule arguments. This year, Houston has the 69th-best strength of schedule, and only Louisville remains on its schedule that will surely boost that rank. It will be interesting to see how the committee deals with this in its initial rankings on November 1.
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.