A couple of people have asked me how THOR+ sees the College Football Playoff playing out. I'm a few weeks late -- starting this after the third release of rankings -- but better late than never, right?
What follows then, is a look at the top 10 teams from the College Football Playoff Rankings and their remaining schedules with the THOR+ projected odds of winning.
1. Clemson #11, 133 THOR+
|Clemson||Venue||Opponent||THOR+ Rank||Projected Win%|
Clemson has it pretty easy this week against Wake Forest. Next week should also be pretty easy too, barring some crazy rivalry shenanigans. Instead, North Carolina (assuming they win the Coastal Division) is likely the only thing standing in the Tigers' way of winning out.
2. Alabama #8, 136 THOR+
|Alabama||Venue||Opponent||THOR+ Rank||Projected Win%|
Out of the current top 4, Alabama is the closest thing to a lock to reach the playoff right now. As most of you probably remember, THOR+ doesn't rank FCS teams. That means they are considered automatic 100% wins, whether that be right or wrong. However, in the case of Alabama vs. Charleston Southern, I think we can safely assume that is a win for Nick Saban and his evil empire. After that FCS cupcake, Bama gets a down Auburn team, and a Florida team that is defense-heavy. I guess Auburn is a rival and anything could happen, but I think Florida's defense is the best chance at seeing Alabama catch a second loss.
3. Ohio State #5, 139 THOR+
|Ohio State||Venue||Opponent||THOR+ Rank||Projected Win%|
If Alabama has the easiest remaining schedule of the top 4, Ohio State has the most difficult. The Buckeyes will close the season playing 3 of the other top 4 teams in the Big Ten, outside of themselves. THOR+ likes their odds against Michigan State, but is currently calling for a nail-biter for the Big Ten East in Ann Arbor. If Ohio State can beat Michigan in The Big House, then the Iowa Hawkeyes are likely the only thing standing in their way of another playoff birth.
4. Notre Dame #6, 137 THOR+
|Notre Dame||Venue||Opponent||THOR+ Rank||Projected Win%|
Notre Dame pretty much has to get through Stanford. Though, I don't know how the playoff committee will feel about their lack of a conference championship game.
The First 2 Out
5. Iowa #21, 126 THOR+
|Iowa||Venue||Opponent||THOR+ Rank||Projected Win%|
The Hawkeyes are pretty much guaranteed to win the Big Ten West at this point. The main things to consider going into the Big Ten Championship are: a) Will Iowa be undefeated? and b) Who will they play? A perfect 13-0 is pretty much the only way the Hawkeyes are getting into the actual playoff. And, depending on who they end up playing (Ohio State, Michigan, or Michigan State), their odds of winning differ based on the match up. For instance, if Michigan was substituted for Ohio State, the odds of Iowa winning would be 39% and the odds of going 13-0 would increase to about 17%. Michigan State, meanwhile, would give Iowa a 59% chance of winning the Big Ten Championship game and approximately a 25% of running the board.
Those odds can and will definitely change before the season is over. Iowa has ranged from just outside the top 10 to just inside the top 25 for some time now, going by THOR+. If they beat Purdue by a good chunk and go on the road and take care of business against Nebraska, it wouldn't be surprising to see them finish at least inside the top 15, which would increase their odds by a pretty decent margin.
6. Oklahoma State #14, 131 THOR+
|Oklahoma State||Venue||Opponent||THOR+ Rank||Projected Win%|
The Cowboys are also undefeated, but the difficult part of their schedule is just starting. If there is any saving grace to having to face Baylor and Oklahoma with a perfect season on the line, it's the fact that they at least get to face them at home. If they win, they are most definitely in.
The Next 4
7. Oklahoma #1, 148 THOR+
|Oklahoma||Venue||Opponent||THOR+ Rank||Projected Win%|
Yes, even with losing to Texas, THOR+ really likes Oklahoma this season. Their offense is in elite territory, their defense is well-above average, and their special teams are also above average. They finish off the season at home against a TCU team that may not have Trevone Boykin or Josh Doctson at full strength, let alone, at all. And then they hit the road to take on another orange-clad rival in Oklahoma State. If the Sooners' odds of winning out are as good as THOR+ thinks they are, I wouldn't be surprised to see them move up quite a bit over the next few weeks. I don't know if they will make the playoff due to the whole losing to a bad Texas team, but I would imagine they at least make the first two out.
8. Florida #19, 127 THOR+
|Florida||Venue||Opponent||THOR+ Rank||Projected Win%|
With upcoming games against Florida State and likely Alabama in the SEC Championship game, Florida has an uphill battle to win the rest of the games on their schedule and launch themselves into the playoff. I could see them beating Florida State, but I just have a hard time picturing them beating the Crimson Tide.
9. Michigan State #37, 115 THOR+
|Michigan State||Venue||Opponent||THOR+ Rank||Projected Win%|
If any of you were discouraged by THOR+ giving Iowa the lowest odds to win out up to this point, despair no longer. Michigan State, according to THOR+, has almost no chance of beating Ohio State and Penn State just to get into the Big Ten Championship game. And if they do get there, THOR+ would currently have Iowa as a 59% favorite. The first step to proving this wrong, however, is to beat the Buckeyes this weekend. But if the Spartans lose to Ohio State on Saturday, they will almost surely drop outside the top 10.
10. Baylor #3, 142 THOR+
|Baylor||Venue||Opponent||THOR+ Rank||Projected Win%|
Baylor and their best offense in the nation finish off the season on the road against Oklahoma State and TCU, and then close with a home game against Texas. The Oklahoma State/Baylor game should have pretty huge implications for the playoff committee's rankings going forward. If the Bears can get past the Cowboys this weekend, that would increase their odds of winning out tremendously in the eyes of THOR+ (especially, if TCU's Boykin and Doctson aren't fully healthy come Black Friday).
Bonus: The Fun Underdogs
16. Navy #18, 129 THOR+
|Navy||Venue||Opponent||THOR+ Rank||Projected Win%|
Navy has been an extremely fun team this season, but with 4 games left and showdowns looming against Houston and, if the season were to end today, Temple (although, South Florida could still win the AAC East), the Midshipmen winning out is not a given. Let's be real, though: even if they go 4-0 in their next 4 games, Navy won't make the playoffs. But they deserve a pretty nice bowl game if their only loss this season comes to Notre Dame.
19. Houston #39, 115 THOR+
|Houston||Venue||Opponent||THOR+ Rank||Projected Win%|
Fresh off a victory over a tough Memphis team, the Houston Cougars are still undefeated. Of course, they also have some very tough match ups left on their schedule. Connecticut has a terrible offense, but they do boast a top 30 defense, according to THOR+. Even when Houston likely gets past UConn, the Cougars still have Navy and most likely Temple standing in their way of an undefeated season. Houston isn't getting into the playoff, but winning their next 3 games would get them a pretty nice bowl game.