By the numbers: The initial College Football Playoff rankings and the effect of Week ten

Tennessee earning the No. 1 seed in the initial College Football Playoff choice committee’s ranking wasn’t just a good compliment for the Volunteers: It truly enhanced their possibility to attain the playoff by a smaller quantity.

The initial rankings come many weeks and a lot of games just before the final choice but the committee’s initial choices nevertheless give a signal into its ultimate ranks. And that signal is quickly incorporated into the Allstate Playoff Predictor.

By virtue of earning the No. 1 ranking now, Tennessee’s possibility to attain the CFP crept up to 63% from 60% on Tuesday evening. Its possibility to win the national championship enhanced to 11% from ten%.

While the Volunteers had the No. 1 strength of record getting into the initial choice and the committee tends to lean on résumé more than group strength, the model would not have been shocked if the committee had gone a unique path provided that Tennessee only ranks fifth in FPI. Ohio State ranks second in SOR and initial in FPI.

How does the initial rank matter? It’s a vote of self-assurance from the committee now that could translate to breathing space for the Volunteers. It’s simple to picture how Tennessee could shed this weekend at Georgia and then finish at 11-1 with out reaching the conference championship game. That precise situation has additional than a 55% possibility of occurring. And in that scenario, the Volunteers have a 67% shot at the playoff, according to the Predictor. That would be a small reduced if they have been beginning from a lesser rank.

And how about TCU? Fans of the undefeated Horned Frogs had to really feel disrespected with the No. 7 rank the group received, and rightfully so! TCU ranks third in strength of record and — if you are asking me — résumé is all that should really matter. But that is an aside.

The wild point from the model’s viewpoint: The Allstate Playoff Predictor believed it truly could have been worse for TCU, and upgraded the Horned Frogs’ possibilities of reaching the CFP to 12% from 11% immediately after the rankings.

How could that be? Well, TCU ranks only 14th in FPI, so from the Predictor’s standpoint, the Horned Frogs landing seventh is not out of step with how the committee typically behaves. It usually correlates with some mixture of strength of record and FPI.

(Another aside: One critique we usually hear for metrics-primarily based approaches to picking the playoff is that priors should really be removed. In other words: The only action that should really matter is action from this season. And I agree! That would make sense. TCU ranks eighth in efficiency, an approximation of what its FPI rank may well be with out priors. With that type of rank and a No. three spot in SOR, it would be incredibly really hard to justify a seventh-ranking for the Horned Frogs. In other words, it really is affordable to speculate that their reputation from just before this season, relative to teams such as Alabama or Michigan, is hurting them with the committee.)

One point that will have a a lot bigger effect on the playoff race than the committee’s initial ranks? The Week ten games. In reality, 3 of the 4 most impactful scheduled games on the playoff race left this season are taking spot this week. Let’s dive into them.

Tennessee at Georgia

Tennessee possibility to attain CFP with win: 83%
Tennessee possibility to attain CFP with loss: 56%
Georgia possibility to attain CFP with win: 78%
Georgia possibility to attain CFP with loss: 40%

You’ll notice Tennessee has a superior possibility to attain the CFP with a win than Georgia with a win, and a superior possibility to attain the CFP with a loss than Georgia with a loss. And however, presently, Georgia has a superior possibility to attain the playoff. How can that be? Because though Tennessee could be No. 1, Georgia is a fairly heavy preferred (74%) in this game, according to FPI.

We talked about earlier that Tennessee has a two-in-three shot at the playoff if it loses to Georgia and finishes 11-1. What about the inverse situation? Georgia would only have a 51% shot, fundamentally a pure coin flip. The massive distinction? Even if Tennessee loses to Georgia it will have beaten Alabama.

Alabama at LSU

Alabama possibility to attain CFP with win: 59%
Alabama possibility to attain CFP with loss: 19%
LSU possibility to attain CFP with win: five%
LSU possibility to attain CFP with loss:

Alabama absolutely would not manage its playoff destiny with a loss, but the Predictor thinks the Crimson Tide would nevertheless have an outdoors shot even if the Tigers win this a single. That’s for a couple of motives. First, Alabama would nevertheless have a smaller shot at winning the SEC. Second, even if it ended up ten-two, the Crimson Tide may well not entirely be out of it due to the fact of how powerful its FPI rank is (2nd) and how complicated its schedule is (4th-most complicated). It would want chaos elsewhere, but it really is at least doable.

For two-loss LSU, it really is fairly straightforward: win out.

Clemson possibility to attain CFP with win: 65%
Clemson possibility to attain CFP with loss: 30%

There’s only a single way for Clemson to manage its destiny for the playoff: finish 13-. And that is why this game is so critical Clemson only has a 65% possibility to win.

Even even though Clemson can shed to Notre Dame and nevertheless go on to win the ACC, the reality that Clemson is not ranked as hugely by FPI (7th) and has a weak strength of schedule (62nd) indicates that the committee absolutely could leave the Tigers out as 12-1 ACC champs. If the Tigers do shed to the Fighting Irish and then finish 12-1, they will have a 55% shot at the CFP.

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