Ed Feng's Week 9 College Football Playoff Standings Predictions

Ed Feng@@thepowerrankAnalytics ExpertOctober 23, 2016

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 22:  Calvin Ridley #3 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Texas A&M Aggies with Damien Harris #34 at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 22, 2016 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/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 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 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
RankTeamPlayoff ProbabilityAP RankingWinsLossesSOS
4Ohio State37.2866150
7Florida State15.6612527
9Boise State12.85137070
11Texas A&M12.489611
12West Virginia5.91106073
16Western Michigan3.51208090
17North Carolina3.1216227
23Penn State0.37245219
24Virginia Tech0.24255257
25Washington State0.23NR5234
The Power Rank


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Alabama's Overall Percentage Takes a Tiny Drop 

As predicted two weeks ago, Alabama's ground game had its way with Texas A&M. The Crimson Tide rushed for 294 yards on 5.4 yards per carry (numbers do not include sacks like typical college football numbers) as they posted a 33-14 win over the Aggies.

Alabama continues to have the nation's largest playoff probability at 73 percent, which is down 3 percent from last week because of the rise of LSU and Auburn. Both Tigers look vastly improved from a month ago and appear to have the ability to challenge the Crimson Tide now, albeit only a little bit.


The Big Ten's Playoff Hopefuls

Ohio State suffered a stunning loss to Penn State, as the Nittany Lions returned a blocked field-goal attempt for a touchdown in a 24-21 win.

In the BCS era, Ohio State would have been eliminated from national title contention. But it's 2016, and the Buckeyes would make the College Football Playoff by winning their remaining games. Their 63 percent chance to beat Michigan at home is the big reason they still have a higher playoff probability (37 percent) than Michigan (30 percent).

The Wolverines continued to dominate less than stellar competition, as they won 41-8 over an Illinois team that was down to its third quarterback. And it might seem like Michigan will win with similar ease next weekend at Michigan State, a team that has struggled to a 2-5 record, but my numbers suggest an 11-point win for Jim Harbaugh and company, which corresponds to a 78 percent win probability. 

Nebraska remained undefeated against Purdue, as the Cornhuskers overcame a halftime deficit to win by a 27-14 margin. Their road to the playoff gets much tougher with consecutive road trips to Wisconsin and Ohio State. My numbers give Nebraska a 4 percent chance to win both games and maintain its Top 10 ranking.


Louisville Remains in the Hunt 

Lamar Jackson had more yards (431) than the North Carolina State offense (250) as Louisville dominated in a 54-13 win. However, it's not just Jackson who makes the Cardinals a prime playoff contender. The defense has allowed 4.5 yards per play this season, ninth-best in the nation. 

Clemson will most likely win the ACC Coastal (92 percent in the simulations) over Louisville because of the Tigers' head-to-head win, but Louisville still has a 63 percent chance to make the playoff, most likely at 11-1.


Pac 12's Hopes Rest on Huskies 

Coming into the season, most thought Washington would have a stellar defense. This unit hasn't disappointed, as it has allowed 4.6 yards per play, tied for 11th-best in the nation. However, the offense has vastly exceeded expectations, as QB Jake Browning and teammates have gained 7.5 yards per play, fourth-best in the nation.

Washington continues to be the only playoff contender west of the Mississippi River, and it has a 36.5 percent probability.


The Big 12's Dwindling Chances

It might seem strange that two-loss Oklahoma has a higher playoff probability than unbeaten Baylor and West Virginia. The reason is the Sooners have a 70 percent win probability over Baylor and a 58 percent win probability at West Virginia. However, it's unlikely that any of these teams makes the playoff, as the Big 12 misses the playoff in 76 percent of the simulations.


Underdogs' Small Chance 

Can undefeated Boise State and Western Michigan from the "Group of Five" conferences make it to the playoff? There's a small chance, but it's unlikely either makes it.

The committee heavily considers strength of schedule, the reason Houston only made it as high as 19th last season while winning its first 10 games. Since Boise State and Western Michigan have a SOS of 70th and 90th, respectively, it's doubtful the committee will treat these teams any better than Houston last season.


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.