What the numbers say about the College Football Playoff Big 3 and the race for fourth

The College Football Playoff race is trying chalky at the prime.

So a lot in order that the Allstate Playoff Predictor has by no means been this assured in Week 3 on the prime three groups’ particular person probabilities to land a berth to the playoff.

Never in the mannequin’s five-year historical past has it had three groups with at the very least a 70% likelihood every to succeed in the playoff forward of Week 3 the means it at present does with Alabama (84%), Ohio State (80%) and Georgia ( 70%). And the cumulative 233% likelihood can also be greater than the prime three groups at this stage since and together with 2018, when the Allstate Playoff Predictor started. And that is even with a slim escape by the Crimson Tide in opposition to Texas final weekend!

And there’s an extremely excessive 43% likelihood that each one three of these groups attain the CFP. Considering all the issues that may occur between now and the conclusion of convention championships — and that two of the three groups are in the similar convention(!) — that is fairly exceptional.

One means I like to visualise the playoff race is by the prime attainable mixtures of playoff groups. The desk under is the prime 10 almost certainly teams of 4 groups to succeed in the playoff, in any seed order.

Looking at issues this fashion, we will once more see the Crimson Tide, Buckeyes and Bulldogs nonetheless dominate: The prime 4 almost certainly playoff mixtures all characteristic all of them. And there isn’t any single mixture with greater than a 3% likelihood of changing into actuality that doesn’t characteristic all of them.

That’s to not say there is a assure about the present Big 3: 43% is 43%, and meaning extra doubtless than not at the very least one will miss the playoff, per the Allstate Playoff Predictor.

But the place I feel this chart is especially attention-grabbing is, if we for the second lock in the prime three, who that fourth workforce may very well be that will get in.


Clemson Tigers

Playoff likelihood: 46%

Clemson sits firmly in its personal tier: nowhere as shut in playoff likelihood as Alabama, Ohio State or Georgia, however properly above the lengthy and semi-long photographs down under.

The Tigers are the fourth-best workforce in school soccer, per FPI. In the previous there’s been a query as as to whether a one-loss convention champion Clemson would have the résumé to get into the playoff and the Predictor hasn’t at all times been so certain. In this case although, with groups like Notre Dame and Miami on Clemson’s schedule, the mannequin is assured: The Tigers win in 91% of the time once they lose to the Fighting Irish however win the remainder of their slate.

Michigan Wolverines

Playoff likelihood: 26%

The second-most doubtless playoff mixture options two SEC groups and two Big Ten groups (with Michigan becoming a member of the three favorites) — maybe a preview of what school soccer would quickly have seemed like have been playoff enlargement not on the horizon.

Michigan may simply win out and have a straight run to the playoff, after all. But a statistically extra doubtless path to the playoff, per the Predictor, is ending 11-1 with a loss to Ohio State and nonetheless entering into the playoff. If the first half occurs — shedding solely to the Buckeyes and lacking out on the Big Ten championship sport — the mannequin forecasts a 67% likelihood at the playoff for the Wolverines.

USC Trojans

Playoff likelihood: 20%

FPI and the Allstate Playoff Predictor have moved far and quick on USC. Entering the season, the fashions could not stand the Trojans — at the very least relative to consensus — however now all of the sudden USC finds itself with a 1 in 5 shot at the playoff in the third-most doubtless playoff mixture.

An asset to the Trojans? Their straightforward remaining schedule. USC has the 57th most tough schedule remaining amongst FBS groups and can be favored in all however one in every of the remaining scheduled contests — the Trojans have a 41% likelihood to win at Utah, per FPI.

Texas Longhorns

Playoff likelihood: 19%

The Alabama sport was a brutal missed alternative, however the (gentle) brilliant aspect for Longhorns followers is that it at the very least strengthened Texas’ sport forecasts going ahead (even in a loss, a workforce’s FPI ranking can go up, simply because it did for Texas on this case).

Winning out would lead to a certain playoff spot however it could be robust to drag off. It’s a risk although. Also attainable: Texas may lose to, say, Oklahoma however then win the Big 12 (maybe with a revenge victory over Oklahoma once more in the Big 12 championship sport). In that situation — no matter their opponent in that convention championship sport — Texas would have a 59% likelihood to succeed in the playoff as an 11-2 convention champion.

Tennessee Volunteers

Playoff likelihood: 11%

FPI is a fan of the Vols after they escaped their time beyond regulation contest in opposition to Pitt with a victory. The mannequin thinks they’re the seventh-best workforce going ahead, one spot forward of USC.

The downside, after all, is the schedule: highway contests at Georgia and LSU plus a house sport in opposition to Alabama means the Volunteers would want some massive upsets, plural. If they in some way handle to drag off an 11-1 season with a loss to Georgia, lacking out on the SEC championship sport, they might have higher than a 3 in 4 likelihood at the playoff as a consequence of the problem of their schedule (sixth-hardest amongst FBS groups).

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