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 The Power Rank.
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|
Tide Getting Stronger
Is there any doubt about college football's best team? Alabama posted a 49-10 win over Tennessee, which managed only 163 yards on 2.6 yards per play in its home stadium. The Crimson Tide still have games against Texas A&M and at LSU, but the numbers like them at nearly 76 percent to make the playoff—best in the nation.
Clemson's Minor Drop
North Carolina State missed a 33-yard field-goal attempt at the end of regulation, and Clemson kept its perfect record with a win in overtime. However, the close encounter hurt the Tigers. They dropped one place in the AP Top 25 poll, and my numbers don't like that they won by seven as nearly a 20-point favorite, according to Odds Shark. These factors contribute to Clemson's drop in playoff probability to 58 percent from 63 percent last week.
Louisville Hanging Around
Louisville racked up 7.7 yards per play against 4.0 for Duke. The Cardinals also outgained their opponent 469 to 239. Despite the domination in yardage, the Cardinals only managed a 10-point win over Duke. No matter, my numbers still like Louisville at 50 percent to make the playoff. While Clemson will likely win the ACC Atlantic (91 percent by my numbers), Louisville could be 11-1 and in the committee's final four by the end of the season. With no chance of losing on championship weekend, the Cardinals would have a great chance to make the playoff.
Ohio State's Odd Increase
J.T. Barrett made just enough plays as Ohio State managed a 30-23 overtime win over Wisconsin. After passing this stiff road test, Ohio State's playoff odds increase to 49 percent from 44 percent last week. However, the Buckeyes defense did show a potential weakness. It allowed Wisconsin, who hasn't been able to run the ball all season, to gain 6.6 yards per carry (numbers do not include sacks). We'll see if this was a one-game aberration or a potential concern for Ohio State moving forward.
Nebraska a Long Shot
Nebraska is 6-0 after a win over Indiana this weekend. But are the Cornhuskers a legit playoff threat? While they beat Oregon earlier this year, that win looks less impressive now that Oregon has started 0-3 in the Pac-12. My simulations give Nebraska a 2 percent chance to make the playoff, as the Cornhuskers still have road trips to Wisconsin (35 percent win probability) and Ohio State (13 percent win probability) ahead of them.
So You're Saying There's a Chance
Don't count Florida State out of the playoff just yet. Despite two losses, the Seminoles rank No. 13 in the AP poll, and they would move up with a win over Clemson. It's not likely they'll make the playoff (19 percent), but they would have an outside shot with a 10-2 record and some kind of chaos scenario during championship week, such as a loss by Alabama, Ohio State or both.
It might seem strange that two-loss Oklahoma has a higher playoff probability than unbeaten Baylor and West Virginia. However, according to my numbers, the Sooners have a 74 percent win probability over Baylor and a 63 percent win probability at West Virginia. If they beat both of those teams, they would most likely jump both teams in the committee rankings. Then Oklahoma would need the same type of championship-week chaos scenario as Florida State to make it as a two-loss team. It's a long shot at 15 percent.
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.