College Football Playoff odds: Where the eight contenders stand heading into the final week

We’ve almost had a chaotic Week 13, but the top contenders have all survived (sorry, Louisville) and we’re left with the same eight contenders we faced over the past month. Seven of those eight teams play this weekend, including contenders who face each other in the Pac-12 (Washington vs. Oregon) and SEC (Georgia vs. Alabama). There are a lot of different combinations of outcomes that will determine the four teams that make the College Football Playoffs, and my projection model plotted how likely each team was to make it to the four-team field and win the national title.

We have to add some caveats to the forecast this week. My season simulator uses a model I developed that selects playoff teams. The playoff selection model is very simple and very similar, in my opinion, to the committee selection process in that it creates an “Appeal Power Ranking,” which is derived from previous Appeal Power ratings, previous playoff rankings and playoff picks for each season. This means that the model makes some assumptions in scenarios where large-scale discussions might occur.

To be honest, this season is unprecedented in terms of the number of teams qualifying this late in the season, so the algorithm isn’t going to be great. For example, Washington leads 12-1 over Ohio State 11-1 by two plays. Does this mean that the committee will agree to this? Who knows, but that’s partly why Ohio State’s CFP chances are so low in these projections. My skin is crawling just thinking about the possibility of Oregon knocking out Texas and Alabama.

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Here are the rankings of the national title contenders heading into the conference championship games, according to my model.

Projected national title and College Football Playoff odds

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Biggest risers in national title chances

Michigan: +7.5% (16.9% to 24.4%)

Alabama: +5.4% (6.6% to 12%)

Texas: +2.9% (5.1% to 8%)

Biggest losers in national title chances

Ohio: -14.7% (15% to 0.3%)

Washington: -4.2% (7.6% to 3.4%)

Louisville: -0.7% (0.7% to 0%)

Biggest risers in CFP opportunities

Michigan: +32.7% (65.9% to 98.6%)

Texas: +20.4% (27.5% to 47.9%)

Oregon: +19% (45.7% to 64.7%)

It’s clear why Michigan is here. Texas State is back here in part because the Longhorns are playing Oklahoma State instead of Oklahoma in a Big 12 matchup. Oregon State overcame Oregon State and is now in the Pac-12 title game for a rematch against Washington, which continues to fall in my model due to mediocre results . My model strongly favors Oregon State in the Pac-12 title game.

Florida State just missed out on the top three here, but also saw a big jump in its CFP chances. The Seminoles are still viewed as a long shot to win the national title after Jordan Travis’ injury, and are just a small favorite against Louisville, but won the CFP for FSU.

Biggest losers in CFP opportunities

Ohio: -56.2% (57.5% to 1.3%)

Washington: -23.6% (50.7% to 27.1%)

Georgia: -14.5% (84.1% to 69.6%)

Washington’s chances are also down because the Huskies are playing Oregon instead of Arizona, which wasn’t a guarantee before last week, and because the Huskies’ chances of reaching the playoff at 12-1 are down with other top teams avoiding defeats

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The case of Georgia is interesting. With the win at Georgia Tech, the Bulldogs’ national title hopes went up a bit (go from 29.5% to 29.8%). However, Georgia’s CFP hopes took a nosedive last week because, as with Washington, Georgia’s chances of getting to 12-1 dropped with no upsets. Georgia is favored to beat Alabama and still has plenty of paths to reach the CFP at 12-1, but there aren’t as many of those paths as there were a week ago.

(Blake Corum Photo: Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images)

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