Ed Feng's College Football Playoff Standings Predictions Before Selection Sunday

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
Ed Feng's College Football Playoff Standings Predictions Before Selection Sunday
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Will your team make the College Football Playoff? The selection committee makes its final announcement at noon ET Sunday.

Instead of chaos, championship weekend provided order as Clemson and Alabama both won. Idle Oklahoma and Big Ten champion Michigan State will most likely join them in college football's second playoff.

Let's look at the few talking points heading into Sunday's announcement.

Ed Feng's College Football Playoff Standings Predictions
Rank Team Result
1 Clemson (13-0) Won vs. North Carolina, 45-37
2 Alabama (12-1) Won vs. Florida, 29-15
3 Oklahoma (11-1) DNP
4 Michigan State (12-1) Won vs. Iowa, 16-13
5 Stanford (11-2) Won vs. USC, 41-22
6 Ohio State (11-1) DNP
7 Iowa (12-1) Lost vs. Michigan State, 16-13
8 Notre Dame (10-2) DNP
9 Florida State (10-2) DNP
10 TCU (10-2) DNP
11 Ole Miss (9-3) DNP
12 Northwestern (10-2) DNP
13 North Carolina (11-2) Lost vs. Clemson, 45-37
14 Michigan (9-3) DNP
15 Oregon (9-3) DNP
16 Houston (12-1) Won vs. Temple, 24-13
17 Oklahoma State (10-2) DNP
18 LSU (8-3) DNP
19 Navy (9-2) DNP
20 Utah (9-3) DNP
21 Tennessee (8-4) DNP
22 Baylor (9-3) Lost vs. Texas, 23-17
23 Florida (10-3) Lost vs. Alabama, 29-15
24 Western Kentucky (11-2) Won vs. Southern Miss, 45-28
25 Wisconsin (9-3) DNP

Ed Feng

Michigan State's win vaults it into Top Four

LJ Scott first got hit at the 3-yard line, and multiple Iowa defenders stood him up to protect the goal line. But the Michigan State freshman kept fighting, spun and finally stretched the ball over the plane for the game-winning touchdown, and the Spartans knocked off the Hawkeyes 16-13 on Saturday night. 

The score capped a monster 22-play, 82-yard drive. It also surely put Michigan State in the playoff as the Big Ten champion.

The Spartans struggled early in the season. They allowed lowly Purdue and Rutgers to come within three and seven points, respectively. They were outgained by Air Force and Central Michigan.

But Michigan State's season changed on a rainy day in Columbus. The defense shut down a potent Ohio State offense, and the Spartans won a critical conference game without quarterback Connor Cook. They again showed how to win a close game, and the rest is playoff-clinching history. 

Who's the top seed?

Bob Leverone/Associated Press

Which team has the best resume: Clemson, Alabama or Oklahoma?

Clemson has the unblemished record, as the Tigers are 13-0 following their win over North Carolina in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Game on Saturday. However, they escaped Louisville with a three-point win, needed to stop a late two-point conversion attempt to beat Notre Dame by that margin and defeated 3-9 South Carolina by just five points.

Southeastern Conference champion Alabama (12-1) lost to Ole Miss, but the Crimson Tide suffered from a number of bad bounces in that game, including a deflected pass that landed in the hands of a Rebels receiver for a long touchdown. Since that loss, they've looked as dominant as any team in the nation. 

Oklahoma (11-1) had an inexplicable loss to 5-7 Texas. However, the Sooners have outscored their opponents by 25 points per game, which is a better mark than either Alabama (19.7) or Clemson (18.2) possesses.

You can make the case for any of these three teams. The committee will most likely stick with its preferred order of the last few weeks: undefeated Clemson first, Alabama and then Oklahoma.

Predictions for each possible College Football Playoff game

John Bazemore/Associated Press

These predictions for all possible playoff matchups come from my rankings, which drive the Bleacher Report playoff probabilities each week. They do not consider data from championship weekend.

Ed Feng's Playoff Game Predictions
Matchup Point Differential Win Probability
Clemson vs. Michigan State Clemson by 2.5 58 percent
Alabama vs. Oklahoma Alabama by 4.1 62 percent
Oklahoma vs. Michigan State Oklahoma by 3.6 61 percent
Alabama vs. Clemson Alabama by 5.3 65 percent
Oklahoma vs. Clemson Oklahoma by 1.1 53 percent
Alabama vs. Michigan State Alabama by 7.8 72 percent

Ed Feng, The Power Rank

As you can see, Alabama is favored over each of the other three teams in its matchups. If the numbers hold true to form, the Crimson Tide will win the College Football Playoff, and Nick Saban will earn his fifth national championship.

Ed Feng has a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Stanford and runs the sports analytics site The Power Rank. You can find him on Twitter @thepowerrank.

Follow B/R on Facebook

College Football

Subscribe Now

By signing up for our newsletter, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

Thanks for signing up.