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ESPN’s College Football Playoff Predictor is High on OSU After Week 3

OSU’s big win over Boise State boosted the profile of the retooling team.



We’re still several weeks away from the inaugural playoff rankings release for the 2018 season, but ESPN’s College Football Playoff Predictor is good enough for some blog fodder — especially given how strongly it favors Oklahoma State.

After the Pokes torched Boise State on Saturday by 23, the predictor is, surprisingly, very high on OSU as opposed to the polls. Ricky Williams with nothing but time type high.

In terms of CFP chances, OSU is ahead of the likes of LSU, West Virginia and Mississippi State, all of which are higher in this week’s AP poll.

Let’s take a look at the playoff predictor from ESPN and see where OSU stacks up.

Alabama 78% 55% 37%
Georgia 58% 32% 16%
Ohio State 54% 30% 15%
Clemson 50% 22% 9%
Oklahoma 49% 22% 10%
Penn State 37% 17% 7%
Washington 15% 5% 2%
Notre Dame 14% 4% 1%
Oklahoma State 11% 4% 1%
Mississippi State 8% 3% 1%
Michigan 5% 2% <1%
Stanford 4% <1% <1%
Virginia Tech 3% <1% <1%
Miami (FL) 3% <1% <1%
LSU 2% <1% <1%
Auburn 2% <1% <1%
Duke 2% <1% <1%
Michigan State 1% <1% <1%
Iowa <1% <1% <1%
West Virginia <1% <1% <1%
Boston College <1% <1% <1%
Texas A&M <1% <1% <1%
Wisconsin <1% <1% <1%
Boise State <1% <1% <1%
Oregon <1% <1% <1%

Beating Missouri State and South Alabama by a billion wouldn’t impact OSU’s perception nationally, but toppling Boise State handily, even at home, has won over some. Particularly in the wide world of metrics.

ESPN’s formula in crafting this, in fact, is largely metrics-driven based off past knowledge and actions of the CFP committee (which is like trying to pinpoint where Big Foot will make his next appearance).

The Playoff Predictor provides every team’s chance to reach the Playoff in the preseason and each and every day of the college football season. It’s telling us not who would make the Playoff at the end of the day, but rather, who will get in on selection day. This isn’t some arbitrary formula based on the feeling of a few people in Bristol: it was created by studying the selection committee’s rankings during the season and on selection day each of the last four seasons. For a full description of the Playoff Predictor’s methodology go here, but below you’ll find the current Playoff chances of the 25 teams most likely to get in. [ESPN]

ESPN isn’t alone in its formulaic driven world that came out particularly high on OSU after Week 3. Bill Connelly’s famous S&P+, a predictive measure I liken to the KenPom of college football, has Oklahoma State at No. 6 (!) after Week 3. That was an astounding 5-spot jump from last week.

Look, I think Oklahoma State might be pretty good. But there’s a difference between good and College Football Playoff good. The sample size is small for all teams this time of year, OSU included, but you have to admit that, for OSU, the sample looks pretty darn good.

And a whole lot better than anticipated going into the season.

Which means the Cowboys are in the hunt for the conference title, and maybe more. What else can you ask for?

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