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

NCAA football playoff forecasts, week 9

Another week of college football, another week of college football rankings. It looks like our model likes Clemson, LSU, Ohio State, Stanford, and Florida for making the playoff. We see that our two model variants have different forecasts this week. In part, this is because teams like Ohio State have tough competition through the Big Ten East to the playoff. In other cases, as with Memphis and Florida, we see that differences in how teams are ranked NOW carry forward to impact our forecasts for the rest of the season. The math isn’t perfect – it’s hard to model matchups and forecast the future with just a few games for comparison. While both models seem to work well and have performed well in our validation from previous seasons. However, slight differences in modeling can occasionally lead to drastically different outcomes for a couple of the teams. We expect this to mean that neither Florida nor Memphis will make it into the playoffs (sorry!).

This week we still have many (11!) undefeated teams. Most will not be undefeated by the end of the season, and most do not have a strong chance of making it into the playoff. We still expect to have a team (or two or three) with one loss in the playoff.

We would also like to know that Wisconsin creeped into the top 25 for teams ranked NOW, but unfortunately, this did not translate to any chance of making it into the playoff.

For more details, read our ranking methodology here.

———- mLRMC Method: Top Teams to make the 4-team playoff ————

1 Clemson
2 Louisiana State
3 Ohio State
4 Memphis
5 Stanford
6 Michigan State
7 Iowa
8 Baylor
9 Texas Christian
10 Notre Dame
11 Alabama
12 Utah
13 Oklahoma State
14 Oklahoma
15 Florida

———- ln(mLRMC) Method: Top Teams to make the 4-team playoff ————
1 Clemson
2 Stanford
3 Florida
4 Louisiana State
5 Ohio State
6 Michigan State
7 Iowa
8 Alabama
9 Notre Dame
10 Oklahoma State
11 Texas Christian
12 Baylor
13 Oklahoma
14 Florida State
15 Memphis