The College Football Playoff Committee made the decision to make it more difficult for teams just outside of the top four. The committee has decided that two fewer conference champions will qualify, which means that there are now six conferences with five automatic qualifiers and one at-large team.
The “Notre Dame football” is a team that has been in the top four of the College Football Playoff rankings for some time now. They are just outside the top four, but they have an opportunity to make it into the playoff this year.
Right now, all but four teams are on the outside looking in when it comes to the College Football Playoff. The clock hasn’t run out yet, which is fortunate for them.
Many teams have a chance to break through, however it’s considerably less probable for some than for others. Still, at this time of year, clubs and supporters are searching for a way. And a lot of people still have it.
Let’s take a look at the route to the playoffs for some of the teams presently outside the top four, using the Allstate Playoff Predictor as our guide.
Despite the doom and gloom in the Group of 5, the Allstate Playoff Predictor remains optimistic about the Bearcats’ prospects, giving them a 53 percent probability right now.
The apparent first step is for Cincinnati to win out.
Following that, the Bearcats just need enough upheaval elsewhere to escape four of the teams and records listed below on Selection Day:
• Georgia (0- or 1-loss) • Alabama (1-loss) • Ohio State (1-loss) • Michigan (1-loss) • Oklahoma (1-loss)
All of the following scenarios have the potential to be dangerous if they occur:
• 1 defeat for Oregon, 1 loss for Michigan State, 2 losses for Alabama, 1 loss for Oklahoma State, and 1 loss for Notre Dame
That seems to be quite a list of things to avoid! However, keep in mind that some of these are mutually incompatible, such as a one-loss Ohio State and a one-loss Michigan. The model estimates the committee would be reluctant to put a 1-loss Oregon and a 1-loss Michigan State on the first list since they are so far from being among the four “best” teams in college football (FPI ranks: 21 and 22, respectively).
Michigan is number six on the list.
In addition to winning out, Michigan will want the assistance of its fiercest opponent to reach the College Football Playoff. The Wolverines need Ohio State to lose at Michigan State in order for Michigan to win the division and compete for the Big Ten championship (technically, it just needs Michigan State to lose one of its remaining scheduled games).
If all goes according to plan and Ohio State defeats Michigan State, the Wolverines will be a shoo-in for the playoffs, with victories against Ohio State and in the Big Ten title game. In theory, a problem might arise if Michigan, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Oregon all advanced, but this is very improbable, and the Predictor would almost certainly think the Ducks would be eliminated.
7. Michigan State University
The Spartans have a clearer road to winning the Big Ten than Michigan — they only have to win out — but their postseason chances are less obvious after they do.
I believe we are significantly underestimating Michigan State’s prospects as a 12-1 Big Ten champion, but the Allstate Postseason Predictor finds no precedence from the committee to put the 22nd-best team in college football (by the FPI) in the playoff, as indicated above. However, teams who are ranked that low in the FPI seldom have the type of resume that the Spartans would have if they were 12-1.
A 12-1 Michigan State would trail Georgia, a 1- or 2-loss Alabama, undefeated or 1-loss Oklahoma, an unbeaten Cincinnati, a 1-loss Notre Dame, and a 1-loss Oklahoma State, according to the model. That means the Spartans will need assistance, but it’s not impossible: imagine Alabama winning the SEC, Oklahoma winning the Big 12, and Cincinnati and Notre Dame both losing a game before the season ends.
Oklahoma (number 8)
The Sooners are ranked second in terms of strength of schedule and fourth in terms of FPI. They should be in the playoffs if they finish as the Big 12 champion with one defeat or better. The Allstate Playoff Predictor gives them a 97 percent chance of making the playoffs with a defeat against Oklahoma State and a victory in the conference title game.
Notre Dame (No. 9)
Win and then hope for one of the following outcomes:
• Disarray and/or committee prejudice against the Group of 5 and/or committee awareness of Oregon’s and Michigan State’s flaws if they are also 12-1.
It’s possible. In fact, the model offers Notre Dame a 48 percent chance of winning if they win out. They could need some defeats elsewhere, and a conference title would be nice. But it is possible.
Oklahoma State is ranked 10th.
Oklahoma State isn’t off the table. At the end of the day, this is the 12th-ranked FPI squad in the country, with a chance to win the conference. If the Cowboys win out, they’ll be in a good position to compete for the last berth against a 13-0 Cincinnati or a 12-1 Oregon team. The difficult thing for the Cowboys will be winning out.
It’s still theoretically feasible for A&M to win the SEC, which would likely make the Aggies playoff hopefuls. Do you want to know how improbable it is? Only a 0.7 percent possibility exists for A&M to win all, including the SEC championship game — a scenario that would necessitate Alabama losing an SEC game as well. It’s quite improbable that the Predictor will fail to create a forecast due to a lack of simulations. However, it is theoretically doable.
The “michigan state football” is a team that just missed the College Football Playoff. The Michigan State Spartans were one of four teams to be ranked in the top 4, but they ended up missing out on the playoff. This article discusses how these other teams fared and what their chances are for next year.
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