Playoff Picture

Week 5 Playoff Picture

Go Gators! Coupled with Georgia’s loss to Alabama, Florida‘s upset of Ole Miss positions the Gators at the head of the SEC East and in prime playoff position. On the other side of the country, UCLA bowed out of the undefeated ranks, leaving Utah the conference favorite; the Utes play the other undefeated Pac-12 team, California, this coming week.

Baylor has jumped into the Fan Selection Committee Playoff this week, but the computer is not so kind. Should Baylor lose this week, their chances of making the playoff drop to 1.9%. While the human committee could forgive a weak OOC schedule should Baylor blow through their schedule undefeated, we advocate testing such a team in a Wild Card Game should they drift from a Top 3 spot.

Favorites (>20% Playoff Chances)
Big Ten: Ohio State (5-0, 49%), Michigan State (5-0, 32%)
ACC: Florida State (4-0, 26%)
Pac-12: Utah (4-0, 24%)
Big 12: TCU (5-0, 24%)
SEC: LSU (4-0, 23%), Florida (5-0, 22%)

Need Help (>1% but <95% Chances if win-out)

The Need Help ranks swell this week. Georgia, Notre Dame, and Kansas State underwent the shock of being upset. Even if they win out, they’ll need the help of more chaos at the top to have a chance of stealing a spot back. A 12-1 SEC Champion Bulldogs would really only have a 78% chance of making the playoff? Next to other undefeated and a few other 1-loss champs, Georgia could be on the outside looking in.

Kentucky secured a win over Missouri; Duke over Boston College; to inch back into the >1% realm of making the playoff; but they too would have to string together both an impressive run and some more carnage at the top of the rankings to go the distance.

SEC: Georgia (4-1, 2%, 78%), Missouri (4-1, 1%, 70%), Kentucky (4-1, 1%, 39%)
Pac-12: Oregon (3-2, 1%, 62%)
Big 12: Kansas St (3-1, 1%, 57%)
ACC: Duke (4-1, 2%, 53%)

Others: Toledo (4-0, 14%, 91%), Notre Dame (4-1, 5%, 83%) Houston (4-0, 3%, 93%), Western Kentucky (4-1, 2%, 46%)

On Track (>95% Chances if win-out)

Lots of teams fell out the bottom this week as conference play began. Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Indiana all lost in the Big Ten. Miami, NC State, Mississippi State, and West Virginia also fell. Don’t count out former Favorites: Alabama, Ole Miss, and UCLA; they may have lost, but 12-1 records give them >95% chance of making the playoff.

Navy‘s victory over Air Force has put them over the same 95% mark mostly due to the strength of the American Conference. Of the 6 Group of Five teams above Miracle status for the playoff, 4 are from this conference, 3 from the West Division.

Oklahoma, Clemson, and Texas A&M all had big wins putting them above a 15% chance of making the playoff, but we’ve moved the yardstick yet again to 20% for a team to be counted as a favorite by the computer. Baylor, OK State, Northwestern, Iowa, and California are also lurking undefeated as they shark their way into conference play.

SEC: Texas A&M (5-0, 16%), Alabama (4-1, 9%), Ole Miss (4-1, 4%)
Big 12: Oklahoma (4-0, 18%), Baylor (4-0, 9%), OK State (5-0, 8%)
ACC: Clemson (4-0, 17%),
Big Ten: Northwestern (5-0, 8%), Michigan (4-1, 4%), Iowa (4-0, 4%), Penn State (4-1, 2%), Illinois (4-1, 1%)
Pac-12: UCLA (4-1, 9%), USC (3-1, 4%), Stanford (4-1, 7%), California (5-0, 4%)
Others: Memphis (5-0, 12%), Navy (4-0, 6%), Temple (4-0, 4%)

Miracles (<1% Playoff Chances):

Here are the teams that would need a LOT of help to make the playoff. Winning Out is not enough; some of these teams made it in only the most Armageddon of circumstances. Still, I’m 10,000 simulations each of these teams was able to make the playoff at least once. Good luck.

Big 12: West Virginia (3-1)
Big Ten: Minnesota (3-2), Indiana (4-1), Wisconsin (3-2), Nebraska (2-3), Maryland (2-3)
Pac-12: Arizona St (3-2), Arizona (3-2), Washington (2-2), Colorado (3-2), Oregon State (2-2)
ACC: NC State (4-1), Miami (3-1), UNC (4-1), Syracuse (3-1), Pittsburgh (3-1), Rutgers (2-2)
SEC: Mississippi State (3-2), Auburn (3-2)
Other: Boise State (4-1), Ohio (4-1), Bowling Green (3-2), Marshall (4-1), Western Michigan (2-2), Cincinnati (3-2), Tulsa (2-2)


A dozen or so more teams were eliminated this week, including 10 Power Five teams. Arkansas even won this week, but in 10,000 years was not able to grab a playoff spot. Good luck next year!

Tennessee, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Boston College, Wake Forest, Louisville, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Purdue, Kansas, Texas, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Washington State, UConn, South Florida, Central Florida, East Carolina, SMU, Tulane, BYU, Air Force, Utah State, Colorado State, Wyoming, New Mexico, UNLV, San Diego State, Nevada, Fresno State, Hawaii, San Jose State, Louisiana Tech, Texas-El Paso, Rice, North Texas, Texas-San Antonio, Southern Miss, Old Dominion, Charlotte, Middle Tennessee, Florida International, Florida Atlantic, Army, Buffalo, Kent State, Miami-Ohio, Akron, Massachusetts, Central Michigan, Northern Illinois, Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Idaho, New Mexico State, Troy, Arkansas State, La Lafayette, La Monroe, South Alabama, Texas State, Georgia State, Georgia Southern, Appalachian State

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