Updated Playoff Projection Using Advanced Stats

Using Bill Connelly’s win projections at Football Study Hall (top contenders, Pac-12, ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12), I have projected all of the remaining games for unbeaten and one-loss teams ranked in the College Football Playoff rankings. For ECU, I did my best to project their remaining games using F/+ ratings.

See last week’s projections for more explanation.

Changes in projections are in bold. The picture is quite a bit muddier this week with several teams now having one or more toss-up games.

Here are my updated top four using advanced stats projections and a little bit of intuition. Read on to find out how I came to my conclusions.

TOP FOUR

Ole Miss
TCU
Florida St
Alabama

As far as seeding goes, you’re guess is as good as mine. I would assume the committee would not have the two SEC teams playing each other in the semi-finals, but I definitely could be wrong there. Perhaps they would rather have an all-SEC semi-final rather than the potential of an all-SEC championship game. Who knows?

Below are the projected results of each team’s remaining FBS schedule.


#1 Mississippi St

Current Record: 7-0
Current Conference Record: 4-0

Remaining FBS Schedule

Week Opponent W/L Overall Record Conference Record
10 Arkansas W 8-0 5-0
12 @ Alabama L 9-1 5-1
13 Vanderbilt W 10-1 6-1
14 @ Ole Miss L 10-2 6-2

#2 Florida St

Current Record: 7-0
Current Conference Record: 4-0

Remaining FBS Schedule

Week Opponent W/L Overall Record Conference Record
10 @ Louisville Toss-Up 8-0 or 7-1 5-0 or 4-1
11 Virginia W 9-0 or 8-1 6-0 or 5-1
12 @ Miami Toss-Up 10-0, 9-1, or 8-2 7-0, 6-1, or 5-2
13 Boston College W 11-0, 10-1, or 9-2 8-0, 7-1, or 6-2
14 Florida W 12-0, 11-1, or 10-2 8-0, 7-1, or 6-2
15 ACC Championship or Bye W or N/A 13-0, 12-1, or 10-2 9-0*, 8-1*, or 6-2

*ACC Champs


#3 Auburn

Current Record: 6-1
Current Conference Record: 3-1

Remaining FBS Schedule

Week Opponent W/L Overall Record Conference Record
10 @ Ole Miss L 6-2 3-2
11 Texas A&M W 7-2 4-2
12 @ Georgia W 8-2 5-2
14 @ Alabama L 9-3 5-3

#4 Ole Miss

Current Record: 7-1
Current Conference Record: 4-1

Remaining FBS Schedule

Week Opponent W/L Overall Record Conference Record
10 Auburn W 8-1 5-1
13 @ Arkansas W 10-1 6-1
14 Mississippi St W 11-1 7-1
15 SEC Championship W 12-1 8-1*

*SEC Champs


#5 Oregon

Current Record: 7-1
Current Conference Record: 4-1

Remaining FBS Schedule

Week Opponent W/L Overall Record Conference Record
10 Stanford W 8-1 5-1
11 @ Utah W 9-1 6-1
13 Colorado W 10-1 7-1
14 @ Oregon St W 11-1 8-1
15 Pac-12 Championship W 12-1 9-1*

*Pac-12 Champs


#6 Alabama

Current Record: 7-1
Current Conference Record: 4-1

Remaining FBS Schedule

Week Opponent W/L Overall Record Conference Record
11 @ LSU W 8-1 5-1
12 Mississippi St W 9-1 6-1
14 Auburn W 11-1 7-1

#7 TCU

Current Record: 6-1
Current Conference Record: 3-1

Remaining FBS Schedule

Week Opponent W/L Overall Record Conference Record
10 @ West Virginia W 7-1 4-1
11 K-State W 8-1 5-1
12 @ Kansas W 9-1 6-1
14 @ Texas W 10-1 7-1
15 Iowa St W 11-1 8-1*

*Big 12 Champs


#8 Michigan St

Current Record: 7-1
Current Conference Record: 4-0

Remaining FBS Schedule

Week Opponent W/L Overall Record Conference Record
11 Ohio St W 8-1 5-0
12 @ Maryland W 9-1 6-0
13 Rutgers W 10-1 7-0
14 @ Penn St W 11-1 8-0
15 Big Ten Championship Toss-Up 12-1 or 11-2 9-0* or 8-1

*Big Ten champions


#9 Kansas St

Current Record: 6-1
Current Conference Record: 4-0

Remaining FBS Schedule

Week Opponent W/L Overall Record Conference Record
10 Oklahoma St W 7-1 5-0
11 @ TCU L 7-2 5-1
13 @ West Virginia Toss-Up 8-2 or 7-3 6-1 or 5-2
14 Kansas W 9-2 or 8-3 7-1 or 6-2
15 @ Baylor L 9-3 or 8-4 7-2 or 6-3

#10 Notre Dame

Current Record: 6-1

Remaining FBS Schedule

Week Opponent W/L Overall Record
10 @ Navy W 7-1
11 @ Arizona St L 7-2
12 Northwestern W 8-2
13 Louisville Toss-Up 9-2 or 8-3
14 @ USC L 9-3 or 8-4

#11 Georgia

Current Record: 6-1
Current Conference Record: 4-1

Remaining FBS Schedule

Week Opponent W/L Overall Record Conference Record
10 Florida W 7-1 5-1
11 @ Kentucky W 8-1 6-1
12 Auburn L 8-2 6-2
14 Georgia Tech W 9-2 6-2
15 SEC Championship L 10-3 6-3

#12 Arizona

Current Record: 6-1
Current Conference Record: 3-1

Remaining FBS Schedule

Week Opponent W/L Overall Record Conference Record
10 @ UCLA L 6-2 3-2
11 Colorado W 7-2 4-2
12 Washington W 8-2 5-2
13 @ Utah Toss-Up 9-2 or 8-3 6-2 or 5-3
14 Arizona St Toss-Up 10-2, 9-3, or 8-4 7-2, 6-3, or 5-4
15 Bye or Pac-12 Championship* L 10-3, 9-3, or 8-4 7-3, 6-3, or 5-4

*If Arizona wins both of their toss-up games and UCLA loses one of their toss-ups.


#13 Baylor

Current Record: 6-1
Current Conference Record: 3-1

Remaining FBS Schedule

Week Opponent W/L Overall Record Conference Record
10 Kansas W 7-1 4-1
11 @ Oklahoma L 7-2 4-2
13 Oklahoma St W 8-2 5-2
14 Texas Tech W 9-2 6-2
15 K-State W 10-2 7-2

#14 Arizona St

Current Record: 6-1
Current Conference Record: 4-1

Remaining FBS Schedule

Opponent W/L Overall Record Conference Record
Utah W 7-1 5-1
Notre Dame W 8-1 5-1
@ Oregon St W 9-1 6-1
Washington St W 10-1 7-1
@ Arizona Toss-Up 11-1 or 10-2 8-1 or 7-2
Pac-12 Championship or Bye L or N/A 11-2 or 10-2 8-2 or 7-2

#15 Nebraska

Current Record: 7-1
Current Conference Record: 3-1

Remaining FBS Schedule

Week Opponent W/L Overall Record Conference Record
10 Purdue W 8-1 4-1
12 @ Wisconsin W 9-1 5-1
13 Minnesota W 10-1 6-1
14 @ Iowa W 11-1 7-1
15 Big Ten Championship Toss-Up 12-1 or 11-2 8-1* or 7-2

*Big Ten Champs


#16 Ohio St

Current Record: 6-1
Current Conference Record: 3-0

Remaining FBS Schedule

Week Opponent W/L Overall Record Conference Record
10 Illinois W 7-1 4-0
11 @ Michigan St L 7-2 4-1
12 @ Minnesota W 8-2 5-1
13 Indiana W 9-2 6-1
14 Michigan W 10-2 7-1

#17 Utah

Current Record: 6-1
Current Conference Record: 3-1

Remaining FBS Schedule

Week Opponent W/L Overall Record Conference Record
10 @ Arizona St L 6-2 3-2
11 Oregon L 6-3 3-3
12 @ Stanford L 6-4 3-4
13 Arizona Toss-Up 7-4 or 6-5 4-4 or 3-5
14 @ Colorado W 8-4 or 7-5 5-4 or 4-5

#18 Oklahoma

Current Record: 5-2
Current Conference Record: 2-2

Remaining FBS Schedule

Week Opponent W/L Overall Record Conference Record
10 @ Iowa St W 6-2 3-2
11 Baylor W 7-2 4-2
12 @ Texas Tech W 8-2 5-2
13 Kansas W 9-2 6-2
15 Oklahoma St W 10-2 7-2

#21 Clemson

Current Record: 6-2
Current Conference Record: 5-1

Remaining FBS Schedule

Week Opponent W/L Overall Record Conference Record
11 @ Wake Forest W 7-2 6-1
12 @ Georgia Tech W 8-2 7-1
13 Georgia St W 9-2 7-1
14 South Carolina W 10-2 7-1
15 Bye or ACC Championship** N/A or W 10-2 or 11-2 7-1 or 8-1*

*ACC Champs

**If Florida St loses their two toss-up games


#22 UCLA

Current Record: 6-2
Current Conference Record: 3-2

Remaining FBS Schedule

Opponent W/L Overall Record Conference Record
Arizona W 7-2 4-2
Washington W 8-2 5-2
USC W 9-2 6-2
Stanford W 10-2 7-2
Bye or Pac-12 Championship* L 10-3 or 10-2 7-3 or 7-2

*If Arizona St loses their toss-up vs Arizona


#23 East Carolina

Current Record: 6-1
Current Conference Record: 3-0

Remaining FBS Schedule

Week Opponent W/L Overall Record Conference Record
10 @ Temple W 7-1 4-0
12 @ Cincinnati W 8-1 5-0
13 Tulane W 9-1 6-0
14 @ Tulsa W 10-1 7-0
15 UCF W 11-1 8-0*

*American Champs


#24 Duke

Current Record: 6-1
Current Conference Record: 2-1

Remaining FBS Schedule

Week Opponent W/L Overall Record Conference Record
10 @ Pitt W 7-1 3-1
11 @ Syracuse W 8-1 4-1
12 Virginia Tech W 9-1 5-1
13 North Carolina W 10-1 6-1
14 Wake Forest W 11-1 7-1
15 ACC Championship L 11-2 7-2

#25 Louisville

Current Record: 6-2
Current Conference Record: 4-2

Remaining FBS Schedule

Week Opponent W/L Overall Record Conference Record
10 Florida St Toss-Up 7-2 or 6-3 5-2 or 4-3
11 @ Boston College W 8-2 or 7-3 6-2 or 5-3
13 @ Notre Dame Toss-Up 9-2, 8-3, or 7-4 6-2 or 5-3
14 Kentucky W 10-2, 9-3, or 8-4 6-2 or 5-3

Toss-Up Predictions

Florida St: FSU will lose one, but not both, of their toss-up games. That will put the Seminoles at 11-1 going into the ACCCG and they will beat Duke. This will keep Clemson out of the ACCCG.

Michigan St/Nebraska (Big Ten Championship Game): I would put my money on Michigan St here. Michigan St finishes 12-1 as the Big Ten champs and Nebraska finishes 11-2.

Arizona St: ASU over the Cats in Tucson. ASU wins the Pac-12 South.

Louisville: Like FSU, I like Louisville in one of their toss-ups, but not both. (I’m just not sure which one it will be.) 9-3.

Arizona/Utah: I like Utah on the road against Arizona. Couple that with Arizona’s loss to ASU and Tucson and Salt Lake both finish 8-4.

K-State: West Virginia is scary to me at home. I’m picking WVU. Fighting Bill Snyders go 8-4.

Notre Dame: If I have to pick, I say Louisville beats FSU at home but then loses on the road to Notre Dame. Irish go 9-3.


Projected Records

TEAM PROJ CONF REC PROJ FINAL REC W/ TOSS-UP PREDICTIONS
Florida St 9-0*, 8-1*, or 6-2 13-0*, 12-1*, or 10-2 12-1*
Ole Miss 8-1 12-1* 12-1*
Oregon 9-1 12-1* 12-1*
Michigan State 9-0 or 8-1 12-1* or 11-2 12-1*
Nebraska 8-1 or 7-2 12-1* or 11-2 11-2
TCU 8-1 11-1* 11-1*
Alabama 7-1 11-1 11-1
East Carolina 8-0 11-1* 11-1*
Duke 7-2 11-2 11-2
Arizona State 8-2 or 7-2 11-2 or 10-2 11-2
Clemson 7-1 or 8-1 10-2 or 11-2* 10-2
Oklahoma 7-2 10-2 10-2
Baylor 7-2 10-2 10-2
Mississippi St 6-2 10-2 10-2
Ohio State 7-1 10-2 10-2
Louisville 6-2 or 5-3 10-2, 9-3, or 8-4 9-3
UCLA 7-3, or 7-2 10-3 or 10-2 10-2
Georgia 6-3 10-3 10-3
Arizona 7-3, 6-3, or 5-4 10-3, 9-3, or 8-4 8-4
Auburn 5-3 9-3 9-3
Kansas State 7-2 or 6-3 9-3 or 8-4 8-4
Notre Dame 9-3 or 8-4 9-3
Utah 5-4 or 4-5 8-4 or 7-5 8-4

*Conference Champions

No undefeated teams? It is more than a possibility.


Playoff Candidates

Team Reason
Ole Miss SEC Champ
Florida St ACC Champ
Oregon Pac-12 Champ
Michigan St Big Ten Champ
TCU Big 12 Champ
East Carolina American Champ
Alabama Only Loss to SEC Champ
Arizona St Pac-12 Runners-Up
Georgia SEC Runners-Up
Nebraska Big 10 Runners-Up
Duke ACC Runners-Up
Mississippi St SEC Bias

Who’s in?

A one-loss SEC champ is in: Ole Miss.

One-loss conference champions from the ACC, Pac-12, Big Ten and Big 12 plus Alabama muddy the waters quite a bit.

Oregon lost to un-ranked Arizona and had a close one against Washington St, but handled #7 Michigan St with relative ease, beat #18 UCLA on the road, and is projected to beat #17 Utah on the road. Three quality wins, no “quality losses,” one “bad loss,” and one close-call.

Michigan St has the afore mentioned loss to the Ducks, beat #19 Nebraska and is projected to beat #16 Ohio St and #15 Nebraska again in the Big Ten Championship. Otherwise, their schedule is somewhat lacking. However, beating a top-25 team twice is nothing to shake a stick at. Three projected quality wins and one “quality loss.” Unfortunately, that loss came to another playoff contender which gives the Ducks the advantage here.

Florida St had close calls against Oklahoma St, NC State, #5 Notre Dame, and #22 Clemson (without their starting QB). Their one loss would be to a #25 Louisville or (a currently un-ranked) Miami (I’m betting Louisville). Two quality wins, one “semi-quality loss,” two close-calls. But being the defending national champs, the human-factor of the committee gives them an edge over Oregon.

TCU is an easy team in this group to put in the playoff. Take away one quarter against Baylor and this team has been outstanding. They upset a top-5 Oklahoma, smashed #15 Oklahoma St, and are projected to beat another top-10 team in K-State as well as #20 West Virginia. Four quality wins and one “quality loss.”  They’re in.

Alabama fans’ haven’t been happy that the Crimson Tide didn’t stomp a couple of their foes, but besides only beating Arkansas by one point and a six-point loss to the likely #1 or #2 seed in the playoff, they have looked good. And with projected wins against #19 LSU, #1 Mississippi St, and #3 Auburn, I don’t see how they don’t get invited. Five quality wins, one “quality loss.” They’re in.

As far as the other teams go, I still don’t see how any of the two-loss teams or ECU have enough going for them to be included over the four teams I’m projecting above. There is just not enough evidence in their favor that they belong in the playoff.

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