Win probabilities for the college football playoff, 2016

With the field set for the college football playoff, these are my member numbers for the semi-final games.

  • Alabama will beat Washington by 9.1 points (76.1 percent win probability).
  • Ohio State will beat Clemson by 2.7 points (58.5 percent win probability).

For the championship game, these are odds for possible match ups.

  • Alabama will beat Ohio State by 7.1 points (71.1 percent win probability)
  • Alabama will beat Clemson by 9.8 points (77.7 percent win probability).
  • Ohio State will beat Washington by 2.0 points (56.3 percent win probability).
  • Washington will beat Clemson by 0.7 points (52.2 percent win probability).

A lot more analysis is forth coming.

Numbers for all bowl games are available to members. To learn more, click here.

The probability of chaos on championship week, 2016

Alabama, Clemson and Washington enter the weekend as big favorites over their conference championship foes. By my member numbers, here are their win probabilities:

  • Alabama has a 92.3% chance to beat Florida.
  • Clemson has a 79.9% chance to beat Virginia Tech.
  • Washington has a 72.2% chance to beat Colorado.

Still, it’s not out of the question they all lose. Assuming these games are statistically independent, you can determine this probability by multiplying the chances for the three teams to lose.

By my numbers, there’s a 0.4% chance that Alabama, Clemson and Washington all lose. Improbable but not impossible. This was about the same chance my numbers gave Clemson, Michigan and Washington to all lose in week 11 before it happened.

0.4% is also about the chance of drawing two Aces from a random deck of cards (1 in 221). Getting pocket Aces in poker is unlikely. However, any poker player has most likely had a night with multiple pocket Aces.

Don’t rule out the impossible.

How Louisville gets into the college football playoff

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-11-02-33-amAfter a week of utter chaos, the committee told us they still like Michigan and Clemson over Louisville.

This isn’t what my algorithm expects from the committee. Usually, teams move down when they lose. Michigan lost in stunning fashion to Iowa but stayed at 3rd. Clemson had a similar loss to Pittsburgh but only dropped from 2nd to 4th.

The loser in these decisions is Louisville at 5th. With the strange behavior of this committee, I’m starting to believe that my 55% for Louisville to make the playoff is too high.

But maybe not. Louisville has to hope that Ohio State wins the Big Ten, which does two things.

  • Eliminates Michigan, since Ohio State plays them next week.
  • Eliminates Ohio State as another potential one loss non-conference champions looking to get into the playoff.

Then Louisville needs a two or three loss team to win the Pac-12 (Colorado, Utah, USC still in contention for the South), which would eliminate Washington from contention. This all assumes that Clemson wins the ACC Atlantic, denying Louisville the chance to win the ACC.

Still, their likelihood is probably less than 55%.

To check out all of my playoff odds at Bleacher Report, click here.

Podcast: The top 3 stories in college football and the NFL for Nov 10-13

In this week’s podcast, which I’ve named The Football Analytics Show, I discuss the following.

  • The most difficult type of college football game to predict.
  • The sneaky truth about why Washington could lose to USC.
  • The team no one is talking about for the college football playoff.
  • The NFL QB injury that just might help the team.
  • The real story behind Carolina’s fall this season.

To listen, click on the play button below.

College football playoff probabilities after week 10, 2016

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-9-14-32-amIt’s a crazy year in college football. It’s early November, and the week 11 slate of games leaves much to be desired.

The top team continue to plow their way towards the playoff, as everyone waits for Michigan to travel to Ohio State in a few weeks for clarity in the Big Ten.

I’ve been doing these projections for three years now, and I don’t remember such a lack of excitement the past two years.

By the way, forgot to post last week’s projections. If you’re a Alabama, Clemson or Louisville fan, check out their story here.

This week, I attempt to hammer home the point that the Big Ten will have a playoff team even though no teams have a top 4 probability. For my full explanation, click here.

Thanks for reading.