College Football Week 5 Wrap-Up

Ohio State and Penn State played another thriller on Saturday, with the Buckeyes pulling off a big 4th quarter comeback to win. Much like last year, I think that Penn State is a solid top 10 team but they'll now need Ohio State to slip up twice to make the Big Ten championship game. Of course, they could follow the 2016 Ohio State route and win out and make the playoff at 11-1 without winning the division. Elsewhere, Notre Dame has rocketed up my rankings since they made the move to Ian Book and are a legitimate contender for the playoff.

Top 25

The number after each team is their probability to win out in their regular season games.

1. Alabama (65.5%)
2. Georgia (29.8%)
3. Ohio State (40.0%)
4. Oklahoma (27.8%)
5. Penn State (22.9%)

As I mentioned in the open, Penn State is still one of the top 5 teams in the country in my mind, but they have a big uphill battle to reach the playoff. If they do win out, I'd guess their shot at the playoff is roughly 40%. Alabama continues to dominate everyone in their path and is now a -200 favorite to win the national title- I'm gonna dig into this a bit in a future post.

6. Clemson (22.8%)
7. Washington (28.9%)
8. Wisconsin (9.4%)
9. UCF (40.4%)
10. Notre Dame (10.9%)

The fantastic ending to the Clemson/Syracuse game has been getting glossed over due to the two top 10 showdowns in the evening. I think that it really was a mix of the Trevor Lawrence injury and Syracuse just being better than people realize- I was on Syracuse at +25.5 and people are coming around on them now and they're appearing in a lot of top 25s.

11. Auburn (0.8%)
12. LSU (0.8%)
13. Texas (2.6%)
14. Miami (FL) (4.5%)
15. Virginia Tech (9.2%)

Auburn and LSU are both very good teams that have the talent to make the playoff. Unfortunately for both Tigers, they've got the top 2 teams in the country in their conference. Auburn probably needs to win out to make the playoff- a 10-2 Auburn team that loses to Alabama will be an NY6 team for sure but even with a win over Georgia, 10-2 and no division title won't get it done. My hunch is that if LSU goes 11-1 and loses the West to Alabama they'd have a good shot, though.

16. Michigan (0.9%)
17. Stanford (4.0%)
18. NC State (2.4%)
19. Boston College (<0.1%)
20. Missouri (0.3%)

Michigan has risen significantly in the last few weeks with big offensive performances, and I didn't dock them at all for the Northwestern game given how high I am on the Wildcats. Stanford's road to the playoff looks very tough now and requires winning out, including in Seattle against Washington.

21. Oklahoma State (<0.1%)
22. Fresno State (17.4%)
23. Texas A&M (<0.1%)
24. West Virginia (0.7%)
25. Syracuse (2.1%)

West Virginia finally cracks my top 25- I still think it's crazy that people are talking about them as a playoff contender who is on par with Oklahoma to win the Big 12. There's a reason why Oklahoma is -150 to win the Big 12 and West Virginia is +275. However, expect the Mountaineers to hang around the playoff conversation as their schedule is extremely backloaded- their last 4 games are against the 4 best Big 12 teams.

Next Ten: Mississippi State, Appalachian State, Purdue, Kentucky, Iowa, Oregon, Duke, Boise State, Michigan State, Florida

Picks Recap

2018 Season: 22-14, +6.88 units (all picks are 1 unit)
I had my third winning week in a row as I went 6-2. I hit on Syracuse, Iowa State and Northwestern, all were big underdogs and all almost won outright. I also hit on Purdue, who had no trouble with Nebraska, Georgia Southern who won in the last minute against Arkansas State and Old Dominion who covered in a shootout with East Carolina. I lost on Texas Tech, who nearly came back against West Virginia, and Wyoming who disappointed me for the third time this season.

Win Out Probabilities

I decided to add something new to my wrap-up this week: a screenshot of my model output with probabilities for teams to win out. A brief summary of what you're seeing below: the first column is my rating for a team, the next is their probability of winnings out, the third is the number of wins I'm projecting them for, the fourth is what their over/under win total was in August, and the fifth is the difference between the third and the fourth.

Some numbers of note from these charts: Alabama has by far the best chance to go 12-0 in the regular season, followed by UCF and Ohio State. There's a lot of teams with good odds to finish with only 1 loss, this group consists of a lot of Group of Five teams who have a lot of easy conference games coming up. At the very bottom are some teams that are currently undefeated but will be underdogs in many upcoming games, such as USF and Colorado.


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