College Football Playoff race remains wide open in Week 3

Friday, September 15, 2023

Two convincing wins for Deion Sanders' rebuiltColoradoteam, Texastaking it to Alabamain Tuscaloosa, Duke(Duke!) stunning Clemson... you get the point.

The college football season has had its share of upsets, and new teams have reached top-25 level.

The result, according to the Allstate Playoff Predictor, is an open door for the College Football Playoff. The analytics bear it out.

No team currently has a greater than 50% chance to reach the CFP. This is the first time that has happened in the history of the Allstate Playoff Predictor, which dates back to 2017.

The parity is pretty incredible: There now are 12 teams with at least a 10% chance to reach the CFP and eight teams with at least a 25% chance.

Parity also extends to the conferences: All Power 5 conferences have between a 58% chance (ACC) and 76% chance (Big Ten) of putting at least one team in the CFP. Each has between a 2% to 10% chance of putting multiple teams in.

The SEC has a 72% chance to put at least one team in the CFP -- this is the lowest chance the SEC has had to reach the playoff as far back as we can go (only to 2020 in this case).

Alabama is still the No. 1 team in the Football Power Index (FPI), but the loss to Texas crushed its playoff chances, which dropped 37 percentage points. Alabama has a 38% chance to win the SEC and a 30% chance to reach the CFP.

Ohio State(FPI rank: 2) has the best chance to reach the playoff but it's hardly a sure thing with the 16th-hardest strength of schedule (SOS) remaining. Ohio State has tough games at Notre Dame(57% chance to win, per FPI), vs. Penn State(67%) and at Michigan(64%) on its slate.

On the flip side,Florida Stateis considered about a field goal worse per game than Ohio State but has a much easier schedule (59th hardest remaining) and is the heaviest favorite to win its conference in the entire FBS (55% chance).

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