Simulating all the ways Oregon can make the College Football Playoff
Last week, ESPN published an interactive tool for college football fans to take the Allstate Playoff Predictor for a spin and test how different hypotheticals impact their favorite team’s chances of making the College Football Playoff.
The Worldwide Leader had 14 different teams on the board initially — teams with at least a 4% chance of making the CFP using their own proprietary model — but after Utah lost to UCLA over the weekend and Oregon dominated Arizona for its fifth straight win, the Ducks took their spot. Oregon is currently one of only 13 teams with at least a 2% chance of making it to the CFP, so we tested out a few scenarios to see what the Ducks’ odds would be.
If… Oregon wins out and wins the Pac-12 Championship Game
No team has ever made the CFP field with more than one loss. After suffering a season-opening loss to Georgia in Atlanta, the Ducks have very little margin for error.
Even if they win out to finish the regular season 11-1, and then win the Pac-12 Championship Game — presumably either a rematch with UCLA or a contest with USC — ESPN’s Playoff Predictor gives the Ducks just a 50/50 shot of making the CFP field of four.
If… Oregon wins out and loses the Pac-12 Championship Game
If the Ducks get to the title game but fall short, the Playoff Predictor has their chances of making the CFP drop to just 1%.
If… Oregon loses one Pac-12 game and wins the Pac-12 Championship Game
UCLA is not listed among Oregon’s three toughest remaining games, according to FPI, so the Playoff Predictor doesn’t even give you the option to simulate the season with a UCLA loss. The three toughest remaining opponents are Washington (71% chance for Oregon to win), Utah (51% chance), and Oregon State (68% chance).
If Oregon were to lose to Utah in Eugene on Nov. 19, still make the league’s championship game and then win it, the Playoff Predictor would give an 11-2 Oregon team a 6% chance of making the CFP.
It has the same percentage chance if the one loss is to Washington on Nov. 12 or at Oregon State on Nov. 26.
If… Oregon loses two Pac-12 games and wins the Pac-12 Championship Game
Plenty of other things would need to happen for a 9-3 Oregon team (7-2 in league play) to make it to the title game, but if the Ducks did manage that path, they’d all but assuredly be playing for a spot in the Rose Bowl and nothing greater. Their percentage chance of making the CFP with three losses and a Pac-12 title is less than 1%.
The same can be said for a 10-2 Oregon team that made the Pac-12 title game but lost.
We’ll see if any of these numbers change with a UCLA victory next week, but FPI is not a believer in the Bruins. Oregon sits at No. 14 in ESPN’s Football Power Index. Despite a 6-0 record, UCLA is down at No. 30 even after beating a Utah team that is still in the FPI Top 10 with two losses.
You can play around with the Allstate Playoff Predictor yourself by going here.