College Football Playoff projections: Top teams hold steady

Friday, September 29, 2023

Ohio State's last-second win against Notre Damedidn't help or hurt the Buckeyes when it comes to their chances of winning the national championship, but they still have a better-than-average chance of making the College Football Playoff.

Ohio State players can watch the Week 5 action from the comfort of their own homes with the Buckeyes off until the Oct. 7 matchup with unbeatenMaryland. As it stands, theAllstate Playoff Predictorgives Ohio State a 59% chance to make the playoff, by far the best.

Next areOklahoma(47%) and Texas(44%), who face one another in Week 6. Texas still has to get past unbeatenKansas(3:30 p.m. ET, ABC) and Oklahoma welcomesIowa State(7 p.m. ET, Fox Sports1) on Saturday.

Other analytics that will play out in Week 5:

Are Huskies for real? How much are our models buying Washington? The Huskies rank first in total efficiency -- meaning on a play-to-play basis, adjusting for quality of opponent and garbage time, they have played the best football this year. FPI sees them as the ninth-best team going forward (after starting the year at No. 22) and that results in a 22% chance to reach the playoff. Part of the issue for Washington: the other Pac-12 schools in the way.

Tough slate for Trojans: No team in the country has a harder remaining strength of schedule than USC, per FPI. That's why it's down at just a 19% chance to reach the playoff despite a 4-0 start and potential Heisman candidate at QB.

There's still a chance: Ole Missand LSUmeet this week (6 p.m. ET, ESPN), each on the fringe of the playoff race with a loss, but to a strong opponent. If LSU wins this week, its chances to reach the playoff would rise to 10%. If Ole Miss wins, it would be at 7%.

Stakes are high: It's a week away, but it might not be too soon to look at the Texas-Oklahoma game's playoff leverage:

Texas playoff chance with win: 67%

Texas playoff chance with loss: 26%

Oklahoma playoff chance with win: 66%

Oklahoma playoff chance with loss: 25%

Big Ten bolstered: Ohio State's national championship chances stayed steady at 21% after barely beating Notre Dame. On one hand, the Buckeyes got the win against a tough opponent. On the other, it was closer than expected, so it dropped the Buckeyes' rating a little bit (down to +27.2, still No. 1). FPI ratings forMichigan(12th) andPenn State(fourth) each rose by about a point and a half after beating expectations. That makes Ohio State's path to the playoff tougher.

The undefeated: After Ohio State and Florida Statewon games against tougher opponents, the chance there will be at least one undefeated team through conference championships rose from 82% to 87%.

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