Are you ready for some playoff football?
For the first time ever, college football will feature a four-team playoff; And we have run 10,000 simulations to see who is most likely to lift the golden chalice.
Four or Five
One of the tough parts about having a four team playoff is that there are five major conferences. If the champion of each goes undefeated, who gets left out? This year it’ll be the Big 12… or at least Oklahoma. Despite being the team most likely to go undefeated and hence one of the two most likely to make the playoff, Oklahoma is NOT guaranteed a playoff spot.
The same could be said of the Group of Five teams, led by last year’s Fiesta Bowl Champion Central Florida, as well as: Stanford, Baylor, and Louisville. Of course, much of this depends on who is having an off year. If the SEC tanks in its big OOC games in September might an undefeated Missouri find itself at #5 on the outside looking in?
Another sticky wicket for the Big 12 is that it doesn’t have a Championship Game. That is not a disqualifying mark, but if the Pac-12 Champion, with the same number of losses, beats a team with 2, 1, or 0 losses, it’ll look better than the Big 12 Champ ending the season against a 5-loss team.
I hope to examine the function a Wild Card Game might have on the playoff, as a path for division runner-ups and bubble (#4 / #5) champions, like Oklahoma to end the season with a marquee opponent.
But, for the time being, Oklahoma is in and the Pac-12 is out. This is mostly due to the fact that there is not a single team from the Pac-12 that is heads and shoulders above the rest. Oregon is a darling in the media, but the computer thinks USC and UCLA have the best chance.