College Football Playoffs (11/6/13)

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
There are currently five undefeated teams in the BCS-AQ: Alabama, Florida State, Oregon, Ohio State and Baylor. I will continue to update the odds for the members of the four-team playoff to run the table. For odds on every team check out PredictionMachine.com’s Undefeated Odds article.
 
Alabama
The Tide’s odds of going undefeated, 49.7%, have remained relatively unchanged after sitting out last weekend on a bye. If Alabama can take care of business at home against LSU they should see a significant jump in their odds to finish the season unblemished.
 
Note: Chances Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, Baylor and Ohio State are undefeated on December 8: 1.15% (or 1-in-87).
 
Oregon
The Ducks, just like the Tide were idle last weekend, did not see a meaningful change in their odds to remain unbeaten, 40.4%. That will change Thursday night when Oregon faces Stanford. The Cardinals are the only team to defeat Marcus Mariota as a starter.
 
Note: Chances that Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, Baylor, and Ohio State all have at least one loss on December 8: 5.88% (or 1-in-17).
 
Florida State
The Seminoles odds of remaining undefeated jumped from 40.3% to 53.0% after annihilating Miami last Saturday. Florida State is the most likely BCS-AQ team to finish unbeaten.
 
Note: Chances that there are no undefeated teams in FBS on December 8: 1.7% (or 1-in-59).
 
Ohio State
The Buckeye thrashed Purdue but sometimes taking care of business is not enough. Ohio State’s odds of remaining undefeated only increased from 44.7% to 45.9% with Michigan and a potential B1G Championship game in the future.
 
Note: Estimated chances of a one-loss team in the BCS Championship Game: 35.7%.
 
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
In the first semifinal, Alabama continues to vanquish Ohio State winning 61.3% of the time by an average score of 34-25. This is not surprising after a dominating five game stretch, albeit against weaker competition, Alabama boasts the nation's best scoring defense allowing 9.8 points per game while the offense is No. 10 in scoring.
 
The second semifinal would be the most thrilling as the gap between Oregon and Florida State continues to shrink. The Ducks would win this game 53.5% of the time by an average score of 38-36. There is a 16.2% (or 1-in-6) chance that we actually get to see this matchup in a potential (undefeated vs. undefeated) BCS Championship Game.
 
After 50,000 simulations of the Football Four Playoff Projection, the most likely National Champion is the Oregon Ducks winning 31.7% of all simulated tournaments. In the most likely National Championship game Oregon defeats Alabama 52.7% of the time by an average score of 38-35. There is a 20.1% (or 1-in-5) chance that we get an Alabama vs. Oregon (undefeated vs. undefeated) BCS Championship Game.
 
Based on the analysis, here is the projected College Football bracket.
 
Semifinals
1 Alabama vs. 4 Ohio State
Alabama wins 61.3% of the time by an average score of 34-25.
 
2 Oregon vs. 3 Florida State
Oregon wins 53.5% of the time by an average score of 38-36.
 
National Championship
Alabama vs. Oregon
Oregon wins 52.7% of the time by an average score of 38-35.
 
Odds for each team to advance to and win the championship.

Team Semifinal Championship
Alabama 61.3% 28.0%
Ohio State 38.7% 14.8%
Oregon 53.5% 31.7%
Florida State 46.5% 25.5%

PredictionMachine.com’s Playoffs
The Thursday night schedule features two of the biggest games of the weekend. The outcomes of these games will have heavy impact on the national landscape in college football. With the teams in the marquee games on Thursday night ranking in the top 10 of the BCS this very well could be the national semifinals in next year’s College Football Playoff. Which team would win if Thursday’s slate of games comprised the Final Four?
 
The first semifinal matchup features No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 5 Stanford. Stanford is the only team to have defeated Marcus Mariota as a starter. However, historical trends would suggest that Oregon would win this matchup as the Ducks have won 15 straight games away from home including neutral site games in the Pac-12 Championship and bowl games. On a neutral field, Oregon defeats Stanford 68.0% of the time by an average score of 42-28.
 
The second semifinal matchup pits Big 12 rivals No. 6 Baylor vs. No. 10 Oklahoma. Rivals may be a misleading term as the Sooners are a staggering 21-1 all-time versus Baylor. History can be deceiving, this year’s Baylor squad averages 63.9 points and 718.4 yards per game, both are tops in the nation. The Bears have beaten their opponents by an average of 48 points this season. We would not expect Baylor to do the same to Oklahoma, but on a neutral field the Bears do win convincingly 68.8% of the time by an average score of 43-30.
 
Better offense, Oregon or Baylor? Our most likely championship game would answer this question. After 50,000 simulations the Ducks win 56.1% of the time by an average score of 49-44. Oregon wins 42.1% of all simulated tournaments.
 
Odds for each team to advance to and win the championship. 

Team Semifinal Championship
Oregon 68.0% 42.1%
Stanford 32.0% 14.7%
Oklahoma 31.2% 9.1%
Baylor 68.8% 34.1%