Simulating all the ways Utah can make the College Football Playoff
Earlier this 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 has 14 different teams on the board — teams with at least a 4% chance of making the CFP using their own proprietary model. Utah is included among those teams (as is USC). So we tested out a few scenarios to see what Utah’s odds would be of making the CFP.
If… Utah wins out and wins the Pac-12 Championship Game
No team has ever made the CFP field with more than one loss. The Utes are in must-win mode after suffering a season-opening loss to Florida in Gainesville.
If the Utes win out and finish the regular season 11-1, then win the Pac-12 Championship Game, ESPN’s Playoff Predictor gives the Utes a 71% chance of making the CFP’s field of four.
If… Utah wins out and loses the Pac-12 Championship Game
As just stated, no team has made the field with two losses.
If the Utes get to the title game built fall short, the Playoff Predictor has their chances of making the CFP drop to just 3%.
If… Utah loses one Pac-12 game and wins the Pac-12 Championship Game
A two-loss Utah team with a Pac-12 title would make for an interesting case study, given the improved standing of the rest of the Pac-12. Because even though two-loss teams don’t make the field, Utah’s chances don’t disappear in this scenario.
If Utah were to lose to UCLA on Saturday, but then win out the rest of the way — finishing 10-2 in the regular season and then winning the Pac-12 Championship Game — ESPN’s Playoff Predictor gives the Utes a 28% chance of making the CFP.
If the same scenario occurred but the lone Pac-12 loss came on Oct. 15 to USC instead of UCLA, the Utes would have a slightly better chance of making the CFP. The Playoff Predictor gives Utah a 29% chance.
If the lone loss was to Oregon on Nov. 19, the percentage chance of making the CFP would be the same as if the loss came to UCLA.
If… Utah loses two Pac-12 games and wins the Pac-12 Championship Game
Interestingly, if Utah were to lose to USC and UCLA and close the regular-season 9-3 but somehow manage to make it into the Pac-12 championship game and then win that game, ESPN’s Playoff Predictor gives the Utes a 29% chance of making the CFP.
In all other scenarios — one loss and a champ game loss, two losses and a champ game loss, two losses and no champ game appearance, etc. — the chances of Utah making the CFP are at or below 1%.
You can play around with the Allstate Playoff Predictor yourself by going here.