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Ascending Tide: Updated College Football Playoff Predictions (Week 10)

Are you still riding the excitement from Saturday’s college football games? (After that crazy Arkansas 4th-and-25 lateral, how could you not be?) If so, then you probably can’t bear to wait until Tuesday to see how the College Football Playoff committee will rejigger its rankings. So FiveThirtyEight has you covered. On Sunday, after each week’s games, we will cook up some fresh predictions from our model. (These numbers will change again on Tuesday night after the new committee rankings are released.) Here’s a breakdown of how this week’s games affected the model:

The Tide rolled over No. 2 LSU on Saturday night, 30 to 16, giving them the best Elo rating and a top-four mark, according to the Football Power Index. Our model now says No. 4 Alabama’s chances of making the playoff rose from 41 percent to 54 percent, while LSU’s odds fell from 30 percent to 19 percent.

TCU suffered the biggest blow to its playoff hopes, falling from 31 percent to 10 percent, after the Horned Frogs were walloped by Oklahoma State, which moved up to 16 percent.

No. 1 Clemson, after grinding out a 23-13 win over Florida State, surpassed Ohio State with the best odds to make the playoff: 61 percent. Clemson and Ohio State are now tied as the best bets to win the national title. The Nebraska Cornhuskers, with four wins and six losses, are nowhere to be found on this table, but their effect sure is: after they upset Michigan State, 39-38, the Spartans’ playoff chances fell from 22 percent to 10 percent.

Ranking Probability of …
Team CFP Elo FPI Conf. Title Playoff Nat. Title
Clemson 1 3 6 68% 61% 16%
Ohio State 3 2 5 46% 59% 16%
Alabama 4 1 4 35% 54% 14%
Notre Dame 5 6 9 35% 8%
Baylor 6 7 2 35% 29% 11%
Stanford 11 5 11 52% 27% 6%
LSU 2 9 8 14% 19% 5%
Oklahoma 15 14 1 19% 18% 7%
Oklahoma St. 14 4 13 37% 16% 3%
Florida 10 10 14 38% 16% 3%
Michigan State 7 8 22 12% 10% 1%
Utah 12 11 21 22% 10% 1%
TCU 8 12 3 9% 10% 3%
Iowa 9 13 29 27% 8% <1%
Michigan 17 20 16 13% 8% 1%
Mississippi St. 20 16 15 3% 6% <1%
USC 19 7 18% 4% 1%
UCLA 23 21 18 7% 3% <1%
Houston 25 22 36 33% 2% <1%
North Carolina 18 20 30% 2% <1%
Navy 15 53 18% <1% <1%
Mississippi 18 26 10 9% <1% <1%
Oregon 23 32 <1% <1% <1%
Temple 22 28 39 43% <1% <1%
Florida State 16 24 17 0% <1% <1%
Wisconsin 17 24 3% <1% <1%
Arkansas 25 26 <1% <1% <1%
Memphis 13 30 44 3% <1% <1%
Northwestern 21 29 60 <1% <1% <1%
Toledo 24 39 52 10% <1% <1%
Texas A&M 19 48 23 <1% <1% <1%

Andrew Flowers writes about economics and sports for FiveThirtyEight.

Jay Boice is a computational journalist for FiveThirtyEight.

Reuben Fischer-Baum is a visual journalist for FiveThirtyEight.

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