Sports analytics from Laura Albert's team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering

NCAA football playoff forecasts, week 11

Another week of exciting games leads to the results that indicate that the SEC West is producing the best teams in the country.

This is also the week that we are seeing that most teams basically have no shot of making it into the playoff. Our models have a “damping factor” that allows for more upsets than normal, so the simulation results we have below are generous. In reality, we don’t think that teams with two losses will really have a chance, although it may certainly be possible for SEC teams. We don’t think that Mississippi will get into the playoff.

Our model ranks the team from best to worst, but this is probably not the exact objective of the committee, which will select the most deserving teams for the playoff. A team’s record seems to be the most important factor with strength of schedule a secondary criteria. Our model implicitly allows for strength of schedule to be weighed more heavily. We’ll discuss this issue in a follow-up post.

Go here for last week’s forecasts.

Week 11 forecasts.

Ensemble model results

The top teams to make the playoff with the fraction of simulations in the playoff (out of 10,000).

  1. Florida State: 0.616
  2. Mississippi State: 0.612
  3. Alabama: 0.499
  4. Texas Christian: 0.301
  5. Mississippi: 0.291
  6. Oregon: 0.264
  7. Baylor: 0.244
  8. Ohio State: 0.24
  9. Auburn: 0.129
  10. Nebraska: 0.129
  11. Arizona State: 0.127
  12. U.C.L.A.: 0.0997
  13. Georgia: 0.0846
  14. Marshall: 0.0794
  15. Minnesota: 0.0706
  16. Duke: 0.0673
  17. Wisconsin: 0.0389
  18. Kansas State: 0.0357
  19. Notre Dame: 0.0314
  20. Georgia Tech: 0.0231

The top teams to just miss the playoff with the fraction of simulations ranked fifth.

  1. Ohio State: 0.0784
  2. Mississippi State: 0.0764
  3. Alabama: 0.0744
  4. U.C.L.A.: 0.0705
  5. Georgia: 0.0677
  6. Oregon: 0.0573
  7. Duke: 0.0561
  8. Baylor: 0.0558
  9. Marshall: 0.0487
  10. Texas Christian: 0.0449

The fraction of playoffs with at least one team from each major conference:

  • ACC: 0.6677
  • Big12: 0.4856
  • B1G: 0.4478
  • PAC12: 0.4460
  • SEC: 0.9735

The fraction of playoffs with two teams from each major conference. The SEC is the notable outlier here.

  • ACC: 0.063
  • Big12: 0.0191
  • B1G: 0.0284
  • PAC12: 0.0934
  • SEC: 0.5037

Results for the wins only model.

The top teams to make the playoff with the fraction of simulations in playoff.

  1. Mississippi State: 0.634
  2. Florida State: 0.619
  3. Alabama: 0.515
  4. Mississippi: 0.311
  5. Oregon: 0.291
  6. Ohio State: 0.262
  7. Texas Christian: 0.182
  8. Baylor: 0.158
  9. Nebraska: 0.147
  10. Auburn: 0.138

The top teams to just miss the playoff with the fraction of simulations ranked fifth.

  1. Ohio State: 0.091
  2. U.C.L.A.: 0.0771
  3. Mississippi State: 0.0761
  4. Georgia: 0.0723
  5. Alabama: 0.0647

Results for the wins and losses only model.

The top teams to make the playoff with the fraction of simulations in playoff.

  1. Florida State: 0.636
  2. Mississippi State: 0.63
  3. Alabama: 0.497
  4. Oregon: 0.32
  5. Ohio State: 0.266
  6. Mississippi: 0.263
  7. U.C.L.A.: 0.19
  8. Arizona State: 0.172
  9. Baylor: 0.164
  10. Texas Christian: 0.154

The top teams to just miss the playoff with the fraction of simulations ranked fifth.

  1. Ohio State: 0.0969
  2. U.C.L.A.: 0.0879
  3. Alabama: 0.0778
  4. Mississippi State: 0.0773
  5. Duke: 0.0684

Results for the full model.

The top teams to make the playoff with the fraction of simulations in playoff.

  1. Florida State: 0.592
  2. Mississippi State: 0.573
  3. Texas Christian: 0.569
  4. Alabama: 0.486
  5. Baylor: 0.411
  6. Mississippi: 0.299
  7. Ohio State: 0.192
  8. Oregon: 0.181
  9. Nebraska: 0.121
  10. Auburn: 0.112

The top teams to just miss the playoff with the fraction of simulations ranked fifth.

  1. Oregon: 0.0969
  2. Baylor: 0.094
  3. Alabama: 0.0806
  4. Mississippi State: 0.0757
  5. Georgia: 0.0692