College Football Playoff projections: Pac-12 leads the way

Friday, September 22, 2023

The Pac-12 as we know it may be in its last year of existence, but it's alive and well when it comes to the chances of making the College Football Playoff.

College football's major overhaul and conference realignment leaves just Washington State and Oregon State remaining in the Pac-12 next year. But that's next year.

This year, the Pac-12 boasts eight teams with 3-0 starts, all ranked in the AP Top 25. In addition, the league has a better-than-average chance to put one team into the CFP at 71%, according to the Allstate Playoff Predictor.

Saturday's lineup features three games in which unbeaten Pac-12 teams have head-to-matchups, so those odds are likely to change.

More analytics that will play out in Week 4:

Pac-12's continued dominance: 71% chance to put a team in the playoff and an 8% chance to put multiple teams in it.

Where's Colorado?Of those Pac-12 teams,USChas a 32% chance to reach the playoff,Oregona 24% chance andWashingtona 17% probability.Colorado, despite its 3-0 start, still has under a 1% shot. The No. 19 Buffaloes play at No. 10 Oregon on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC).

Low Tide:Alabamahas a 15% chance to reach the playoff. Before this season, Alabama had never had less than a 47% chance to reach the playoff prior to Week 10 in the history of the Allstate Playoff Predictor model (back to 2017).

Sooners are OK:Oklahomahas surprisingly high projections with a 51% probability to reach the playoff and a 16% chance to win the national title. What's fueling those numbers? Oklahoma leads the Big 12 in total efficiency, meaning it has performed the most efficiently on a play-to-play basis even accounting for the quality of opponent. That efficiency has spurred the Sooners to a No. 2 FPI ranking.

Make or break for Irish? How will the outcome of Saturday'sOhio State-Notre Damegame affect each team's prospects to make the playoff? A win leaves the Buckeyes with a 68% chance of making the playoff, while a loss drops them to 37%. Even with a win, Notre Dame's chances are at 31%, according to the predictor. A loss leaves the Irish, who don't play a conference championship game, with just a 5% chance to make it.

A note on college football's parity: There's an 18% chance there are no undefeated teams through conference championships.

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