Nate Silver and his team at FiveThirtyEight are expert forecasters.
After the College Football Playoff committee’s first rankings of the season were released Tuesday, FiveThirtyEight released its own, building a simulation model that combines the CFP rankings, ELO and ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI).
Silver’s rankings differ a little from the committee’s — but there’s even more variance in the outcomes that FiveThirtyEight predicts.
It breaks from the committee on its controversial inclusion of Texas A&M over Washington, giving the SEC a pair of teams in the initial top four. In FiveThirtyEight’s model, the Aggies drop all the way to their AP and coaches poll rankings, seventh, behind Ohio State and Louisville.
FiveThirtyEight’s rankings include every team in the nation it concludes has any shot at making the playoff, even down to Utah and USC at less than 1 percentage point. Good news for the SEC here: None of its five teams that makes FiveThirtyEight’s rankings — the same group as the committee’s rankings — come in at less than 3 percent.
Alabama’s 74-percent shot at making the playoff falls just one point shy of Clemson’s leading 75 percent odds. But the Crimson Tide’s 31 percent chances at winning the whole thing are tops by a wide margin over the next-best team according to FiveThirtyEight, Michigan, at 20 percent.
Head over to FiveThirtyEight yourself and play around with its interactive chart that lets you pick the outcomes for each team listed.