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FiveThirtyEight Rates CFP Chances for Ohio State, TCU, Alabama

Just a couple days ago, the College Football Playoff picture appeared to be fairly straightforward.

The top four of GeorgiaMichiganTCU and USC controlled their own destinies, needing only to win their respective conference championship games to virtually lock up a CFP berth.

Easier said than done.

No. 4 USC lost to No. 11 Utah for the second time this season, 47-24, in the Pac-12 championship game on Friday night. Then No. 10 Kansas State edged No. 3 TCU, 31-28 in overtime at the Big 12 championship game on Saturday afternoon.

So much for predictability.

Those losses presumably have opened the door for No. 5 Ohio State, whose only loss is to No. 2 Michigan. Additionally, Alabama coach Nick Saban spent Saturday night stumping for the No. 6 Crimson Tide to receive their seventh CFP bid in eight seasons.

What can college football fans make of all this chaos? The analytics gurus at FiveThirtyEight have some interesting projections. Here are their picks for the likelihood of being selected for the CFP:

  • 1. Georgia (13-0): >99%
  • 2. Michigan (13-0): >99%
  • 3. TCU (12-1): 51%
  • 4. Ohio State (11-1): 39%
  • 5. Kansas State (10-3): 35%
  • 6. Clemson (11-2): 35%
  • 7. Utah (10-3): 18%
  • 8. Alabama (10-2): 16%
  • 9. Tennessee (10-2): 5%
  • 10. USC (11-2):

The College Football Playoff selection show is Sunday at noon ET on ESPN.


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