No. 14 Notre Dame’s loss to Cincinnati for all intents and purposes ended the Fighting Irish dream of getting back to the College Football Playoff for a third time in four seasons. Logic would tell us that there is simply too much to have to overcome for Brian Kelly and his squad to have that happen.
However, just what kind of chances does Notre Dame have in making the seemingly impossible become possible?
FiveThirtyEight has put together a formula to project each team’s odds at making the College Football Playoff and gives you the chance to see each team’s odds if they’re to win their next game or win out.
Here’s who the formula says are the odds on favorites to make the CFP and win the national title as we get a look at Notre Dame and the rest of college football’s chances entering week seven:
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FiveThirtyEight gives Notre Dame an 8% chance to make the CFP as the Irish hit their bye week. If the Irish get by USC next week those odds just all the way to 11% and if Notre Dame wins out, which the formula gives a 20% shot of happening, the Irish go to having a 38% chance of earning a CFP spot which is significantly higher than I would have guessed.
Near or just above Notre Dame
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Joining Notre Dame at currently having an 8% chance of making the College Football Playoff are both Pittsburgh and Kentucky while Arizona State gets a 9% shot and Michigan State checks in with a 11% chance ahead of their game against Indiana. A likely loss by Kentucky this week at No. 1 Georgia would drop the Wildcats to just a 5% chance of making the CFP.
Oklahoma State and Wake Forest have a 7% chance while Penn State and Texas are both given a 5% chance of earning a berth.
Slightly Better Chances
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Oregon enters the weekend with a 15% chance of making the CFP but just a 12% shot at running the table the rest of the season which they’d need to do in all likelihood.
Meanwhile still unbeaten Michigan has a 22% chance of making it to the CFP but have plenty of word ahead of them as they’re given just an 8% chance of running the table.
Knocking on the door
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The first two teams out in terms of being among the four teams with the best chances to make the CFP are both from Ohio.
Ohio State sits as the sixth most likely team to make the playoff at 28% but if they’re to win out (14% chance) they’re nearly a lock (over 99%) to make the CFP.
Cincinnati is currently on the outside looking in at the top four as the unbeaten Bearcats are given a 28% chance of making the CFP. If they’re able to run the table (38% chance) they’re given a 68% chance to make the playoff. Based on the formula, Cincinnati fans would be most interested in seeing Oklahoma and Ohio State both lose one of their remaining games as winning out by either of those significantly drop Cincinnati’s odds.
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The teams with the four best odds of making the CFP currently are Georgia (71%), Oklahoma (46%), Alabama (37%), and Iowa (36%).
Georgia appears to be able to afford a loss while Oklahoma still gets great odds despite looky shaky for a good chunk of the first half of this season. All four listed teams above control their own destiny as if they win out, they’ll be in the CFP, but that’s clearly much easier said than done.
If Alabama is to win out to earn a spot in the SEC Championship it’ll obviously mean the nation will be made up of a lot more Georgia fans the first weekend of December as so many teams will need the Tide to suffer a second loss in order to earn a spot in tournament.