By the numbers: A two-conference College Football Playoff and the
If you have an interest in watching SEC and Big 10 football– and just SEC and Big Ten football– this may be the College Football Playoff for you.Augmented by Oregon
getting its second loss of the season to Washington last weekend, there is now a 34 %opportunity that the CFP is comprised totally of SEC and Big Ten groups, according to the Allstate Playoff Predictor. That’s just about the very same chance that TCU needs to make a berth.The two conferences are both in the strangely lucky position of
having multiple heavyweights in the exact same division, indicating they are likely to wind up in a circumstance in which a group that does not end up going to the championship game is a strong one-loss competitor(Tennessee and either Michigan or Ohio State). That’s how Alabama reached the CFP in the 2017 season, when it went on to win the national championship.Of the 2 conferences, the SEC is most likely to put multiple groups in the playoff
(with a 66% possibility rather than 53% possibility for the Big Ten )for a few reasons.For starters, the most likely 11-1 competitor is Tennessee, which will have a strong résumé thanks to a win over Alabama this season. That might be enough to put the Volunteers over a one-loss Clemson and/or Michigan. Second, there’s still an outside possibility LSU triumphes, therefore opening the door for an LSU-Georgia mix. Last but not least, the predictor does still think Alabama– without a path to the SEC national championship– has a slim possibility, though it’s fair to wonder if the model is overrating that possibility, especially considered that it has a head-to-head loss versus Tennessee.The Big 10 can put an 11-1 Michigan in the CFP, but it’s safest bet to putting 2 groups in the playoff would be for the Wolverines to beat Ohio State and go on to win the conference. That’s due to the fact that Ohio State would have a better opportunity as a one-loss non-champion due to its group quality (No. 2 in FPI rank). Circumstance I find it helpful to actually play out a situation and see what the design states.2 Related Let’s state Georgia, Ohio State, TCU and USC
all triumph and Tennessee, Clemson and Michigan all finish with one loss. That efficiently leaves four groups– Clemson
, Tennessee, Michigan and USC– for one area. While that is too particular of a circumstance for the predictor to generate specific probabilities, it believes all four would have a chance, with Tennessee and Clemson the most likely to take house the area and USC the least likely.Let’s remove TCU from the formula with a loss at Baylor. Now it’s 4 groups for two areas, and we can show likelihoods for the 4 schools: Tennessee at 52%, Clemson 52%, Michigan 38 %, USC 36%. No matter what, it’s a tight choice for the committee!Ultimately from the model’s viewpoint, Tennessee and Clemson each have something to provide over, say, Michigan.
Tennessee has the much harder schedule (the Volunteers
are predicted to have the eighth-most difficult strength of schedule, while Michigan is expected to be 35th toughest), and Clemson, while it will have a much easier schedule, would have a conference championship. None of that rules Michigan out– it just moves the needle in Tennessee’s and Clemson’s favor.What about USC?The predictor is down on the Trojans because they have a weak schedule( 56th-most challenging)and a bad Football Power Index rank(14th). A conference championship could make up for that, which is why the Trojans definitely have an opportunity. But those
very first 2 factors are a drag.So where does it leave these teams?Aside from the apparent need to win themselves, they need to be cheering for mayhem elsewhere. Tennessee fans want Ohio State to beat Michigan and for Clemson and USC to stumble.USC is wishing for the exact same, minus its own loss and possibly wishing a Volunteers upset loss to
South Carolina.Michigan, if it can’t get rid of Ohio
State, would be much better off with Clemson, Tennessee and USC having imperfect finishes. Even TCU doesn’t have it that simple: win and in, sure. But an 11-1 conference champion TCU shouldn’t be absolutely ruled out either, depending upon what occurs elsewhere.The name of the game: Root for mayhem.