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Playoff metrics project Clemson to win it all


by - Staff Writer -
Four undefeated teams will be in the top-10 of this week's polls for the time at this point in the CFP era.
Four undefeated teams will be in the top-10 of this week's polls for the time at this point in the CFP era.

A wild finish or a chalky conclusion?

With two weeks to Playoff Selection Sunday, the top-10 features varying levels of contenders.

For the first time in the CFP era, four undefeated teams will be in the projected top-10 at this point with Alabama (11-0; CFP No. 1 last week), Clemson (11-0; 2), Notre Dame (11-0; 3) and UCF (11-0; 11). Vying for a spot also are five one-loss Power 5 conference teams that have a shot at a conference championship in Michigan (10-1; 4), Georgia (10-1; 5), Oklahoma (10-1; 6), Washington State (10-1; 8) and Ohio State (10-1; 10).

Through 11 games, ESPN’s Playoff Predictor is highly confident in three CFP participants: Clemson (96), Notre Dame (91) and Alabama (80). It’s also more confident that the Tigers can win it all, with the highest odds to make the championship (66) and take the crown (39; 31 for Alabama).

The next tier of CFP contenders are Michigan (42), Georgia (39), Ohio State (26) and Oklahoma (21). Michigan and Ohio State will have a mini-playoff to eliminate one this Saturday in Ohio Stadium, while pundits aren’t so sure Georgia winning out will do the same if both it and Alabama win this week going into the SEC Championship meeting.

ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight provides a way to project out such things and the cold data doesn’t back that up. If all but Alabama win out in the top-6, 538 gives Alabama only a 16 percent chance at making the Playoff, with Michigan and Oklahoma in a dead-heat for the final spot (54 percent each). Those chances even lessen if Michigan loses Saturday with Oklahoma’s going up five percent (59).

The model also favors Clemson to win it all at this point (35; Alabama 29).

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