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    College Football Playoffs (10/31/13)

    John Ewing, Director of Research and Analytics, @johnewing
    By John Ewing
    A look at what the College Football Playoffs could look like through 50,000 simulations of FootballFour’s most recent four-team Playoff Projection



    Undefeateds
    Two weeks ago there were thirteen teams with undefeated records. Last week, the number had dwindled to ten teams sporting goose eggs in the loss column. The number shrank further last Saturday when Mizzou blew a 17 point lead and Texas Tech lost on the road in Norman.
     
    Now there are eight teams with unblemished records: Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, Ohio State, Stanford, Baylor, Miami (FL), Fresno State, and Northern Illinois. With perfect teams comprising the Football Four playoff, we look at each team’s odds of remaining undefeated. For odds on every team check out PredictionMachine.com’s Undefeated Odds article.
     
    Alabama
    With five games remaining including the SEC Championship game, Alabama has a 49.2% chance of going undefeated. The Tide have the highest odds among the BCS-AQ to reach the national championship game.
     
    Oregon
    The Ducks’ showdown with Stanford looms as the closest remaining game for Oregon this season. Close is a relative term as we project Oregon to win that matchup 70.2% of the time. The Ducks have a 39.9% chance of remaining undefeated.
     
    Florida State
    The Seminoles have a 40.3% chance of winning the rest of their games with the only roadblock being a possible rematch against Miami on a neutral field in the ACC Championship. Only Alabama and Oregon would be favored over Florida State on a neutral field.
     
    Ohio State
    The Buckeyes, 44.7% likely to remain undefeated and are the second most likely team to win out amongst the BCS-AQ schools. Yet, we project Ohio State to be at least a six point dog against Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, Texas A&M, and Baylor on a neutral field.
     
    How this works
    The Predictalator uses current rosters and strength-of-schedule and efficiency-adjusted team and player stats (weighted slightly more toward recent games), to play every game 50,000 times before it's actually played. For this analysis, we are tracking how likely a team is to make it to any level of the College Football Playoffs, if it were to go into effect this season.
     
    Football Four Playoff Projection Simulation
     
    After 50,000 simulations of the Football Four Playoff Projection, the most likely National Champion is the Oregon Ducks winning 32.4% of all simulated tournaments. In the most likely National Championship game Oregon defeats Alabama 53.2% of the time by an average score of 37-35.
     
    Oregon is the No. 1 team in our Power Rankings. This is the first time in 54 weeks that Alabama has not been at the top of our rankings. These teams are incredibly close with only 0.01% separating them in our analysis.
     
    The movement in our rankings has shifted the odds for each team to win the BCS title. Alabama is 29.1% likely to win the championship, down from 37.2% last week. The three other playoff participants have seen their odds increase with the slip of Alabama. 
     
    Based on the analysis, here is the projected College Football bracket.
     
    Semifinals
    1 Alabama vs. 4 Ohio State
    Alabama wins 61.0% of the time by an average score of 34-25.
     
    2 Oregon vs. 3 Florida State
    Oregon wins 53.9% of the time by an average score of 39-36.
     
    National Championship
    Alabama vs. Oregon
    Oregon wins 53.2% of the time by an average score of 37-35.
     
    Odds for each team to advance to and win the championship.

    Team Semifinal Championship
    Alabama 61.0% 29.1%
    Ohio State 39.0% 14.0%
    Oregon 53.9% 32.4%
    Florida State 46.1% 24.5%



    PredictionMachine.com’s Playoffs

    With eight undefeated teams remaining it seems like an opportune time to simulate what would happen if the unblemished teams were all part of a college football playoff.
     
    We seeded each team based on our Power Rankings. In our eight-team tournament the Elite Eight matchups would include:
     
    No. 1 Oregon vs. No. 8 Northern Illinois
    No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 7 Fresno State
    No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 6 Miami (FL)
    No. 4 Baylor vs. No. 5 Ohio State
     
    All undefeated teams are not created equally. Fresno State and Northern Illinois are 34th and 51st in our rankings respectively. Miami, 7th in the BCS Rankings, does not crack our top 15. Consequently, it is exceedingly likely that Oregon (86.8%), Alabama (76.7%), and Florida State (67.9%) advance to the Final Four. Baylor’s matchup with Ohio State is the closet in this round but Baylor’s high-powered offense is enough to carry them to the semifinals.
     
    In the Final Four, Oregon defeats Baylor 55.7% of the time by an average score of 49-44. If this hypothetical game occurred it would likely garner the highest point total ever listed by Vegas. The highest total ever was 88 points posted in 2012 for the Baylor/Oklahoma State game. In the other Semifinal game, Alabama defeats Florida State 50.7% of the time by an average score of 29-28.
     
    Our most likely championship game once again features Alabama vs. Oregon. The Ducks defeat the Crimson Tide 53.2% of the time by an average score of 37-35. This is the strongest projection we have seen for Oregon this season when facing Alabama on a neutral field. Oregon wins all simulated tournaments 32.3% of the time followed by Alabama (22.9%), Florida State (19.0%), and Baylor (13.0%).   
     
    Odds for each team to advance to and win the championship based on conference champions and PredictionMachine.com’s Power Rankings.

    Team Final Four Title Game Championship
    Oregon 86.8% 54.4% 32.3%
    Northern Illinois 13.2% 3.0% 0.6%
    Baylor 56.9% 27.0% 13.0%
    Ohio State 43.1% 15.6% 6.4%
    Alabama 76.7% 44.0% 22.9%
    Fresno State 23.3% 6.2% 1.5%
    Florida State 67.9% 37.4% 19.0%
    Miami FL 32.1% 12.4% 4.3%

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