ESPN's 'Playoff Predictor' projects Clemson as title favorite


by - Staff Writer -
Clemson is given the best chance at a national title for a second-straight year by the ESPN metric.
Clemson is given the best chance at a national title for a second-straight year by the ESPN metric.

ESPN released its first 'Playoff Predictor' of 2019 and Clemson is a strong favorite to repeat as champion for the first time in school history.

Among a pool of top contenders, Dabo Swinney's Tigers are given a 36 percent chance to win it all. The next-best is Alabama, at 27 percent, and then there's a huge drop-off to Georgia (8), Michigan (7), LSU (6) and Oklahoma (5) in the single-digit percentages.

"Though they (Clemson) lost some imposing defensive talent in their front seven, the reigning champs have stability at head coach and a superstar talent returning at quarterback in Trevor Lawrence -- both key factors in earning the confidence of ESPN's Football Power Index," ESPN's Seth Walder writes. "And while FPI had Clemson as the top team this time last year, it thinks this season's squad is almost 4 points per game better than what it thought of Dabo Swinney's team 12 months ago."

The ESPN metrics also point to a Clemson schedule that makes the Playoff path easier, ranking 56th overall in strength in the Tigers' 83-percent chance to make a fifth-straight CFP appearance. Last year they were given a 66 percent shot to return to the playoff.

"We'll hazard a guess that over the next decade, no team will have a higher preseason chance to reach the playoff -- per our model -- than Clemson has right now," Walder said.

ESPN projects a 23 percent shot that we see another Clemson-Alabama title game.

The debut of the Playoff Predictor metric last year did correctly peg three of the top-four in Clemson, Alabama and Notre Dame. Oklahoma was given the seventh-best shot (24 percent).

The quartet with the best chance to make the CFP per the metric this year is Clemson (83), Alabama (71), Michigan (41) and Georgia (40), followed by Oklahoma (35) and LSU (32).

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