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Booming Sooners: Updated College Football Playoff Predictions (Week 11)

Don’t wait until Tuesday to see how the College Football Playoff committee will shuffle its rankings; the FiveThirtyEight college football model is here for you. We have fresh projections following Saturday’s games (these numbers will change again on Tuesday night after the new committee rankings are released):

Ranking Probability of …
Team CFP Elo FPI Conf. Title Playoff Nat. Title
Alabama 9-1 2 1 3 61% 66% 23 19%
Clemson 10-0 1 3 5 62% 65% 21 15%
Ohio State 10-0 3 2 4 46% 62% 5a 17%
Oklahoma 9-1 12 5 1 46% 44% 26 18%
Oklahoma St. 10-0 8 4 13 34% 25% 21 5%
Notre Dame 9-1 4 7 8 a 24% 6a 5%
Florida 9-1 11 8 14 35% 24% 7a 4%
Iowa 10-0 5 13 29 28% 23% 21 2%
Baylor 8-1 6 21 2 14% 16% 15 6%
Michigan St. 9-1 13 6 22 11% 12% 21 1%
Stanford 8-2 7 11 11 45% 10% 18 2%
Michigan 8-2 14 18 17 14% 9% 21 2%
North Carolina 9-1 23 9 15 36% 9% 21 1%
TCU 9-1 15 12 6 5% 8% 21 2%
Houston 10-0 24 14 37 39% 2% 21 <1%
USC 7-3 17 7 32% <1% 21 <1%
Utah 8-2 10 25 23 12% <1% 11 <1%
Florida State 8-2 16 19 16 0% <1% 21 <1%
Navy 8-1 20 16 44 23% <1% 21 <1%
Wisconsin 8-2 25 20 24 1% <1% 21 <1%
Oregon 7-3 10 28 3% <1% 21 <1%
UCLA 7-3 19 31 19 7% <1% 21 <1%
LSU 7-2 9 23 10 0% <1% 12 <1%
Mississippi St. 7-3 17 22 20 0% <1% 21 <1%
Northwestern 8-2 18 30 61 0% <1% 21 <1%
Temple 8-2 22 50 51 31% <1% 21 <1%
Memphis 8-2 21 37 43 0% <1% 21 <1%
College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings as of Nov. 10. Playoff probability changes are since Nov. 11; only changes greater than 5 percentage points are shown.

 

OOOOk-lahoma! The Sooners went into their game against Baylor as a one-loss outsider, beloved by the stats yet sitting in the No. 12 slot in the latest College Football Playoff ranking. But after an impressive 44-34 win in Waco, Oklahoma’s chances of making the playoff are up to 44 percent — a 26 percentage point jump. The Sooners are really good. Even before Saturday’s game, they ranked No. 1, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI), which our model uses to project game outcomes. Oklahoma now has by far the best FPI ranking, so the Sooners are favored to win their two remaining games: at home against TCU next Saturday and on the road against undefeated rival Oklahoma State (who isn’t shabby, either; the Cowboys have a 25 percent shot of making the playoff).

Alabama also took care of its business, easily handling Mississippi State 31-6. With that win — and Arkansas’s upset win over LSU — the Tide’s chances of making the playoff shot up to the highest of any team: 66 percent.

Clemson and Ohio State continue to project as likely playoff contenders; each has a greater than 60 percent shot.

And, yes, Notre Dame fans: We know you beat Wake Forest. But the Irish’s chances of making the playoff declined 6 percentage points, to 24 percent, largely because Stanford — whom Notre Dame plays later this month — lost to Oregon. So that matchup no longer looks so dramatic. With that loss, the Cardinal’s playoff chances declined 18 percentage points, to 10 percent. Stanford’s chances would have dropped lower, but the Cardinal have major matchups against Cal and Notre Dame remaining, and so they have a slight chance to redeem themselves.

LSU, in contrast, can no longer win the SEC after its second loss in a row and so are effectively eliminated from the playoff race.

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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