Week 2 is here and there are plenty of playoff implications on the line early in the season. Currently, the Pac-12 has a few contenders who are raising their odds of making it, and the Texas-Alabama game carries implications for both sides.
Here are the games and teams that will have the most impact on the College Football Playoff this weekend.
Pac-12’s playoff chances
The Pac-12 has turned heads with its 13-0 start. But the conference still has much to prove to be in the mix come CFP selection day. According to the Allstate Playoff Predictor, there is just a 57% chance that the Pac-12 has a team reach College Football Playoff. To put that into context, both Alabama (63%) and Ohio State (62%) have higher chances to make the CFP than the entire Pac-12.
On the bright side for the Pac-12, its chances have trended upward. Going into the season, Allstate Playoff Predictor put the conference’s chances at getting a CFP representative at 43%. But chances have jumped for USC (21% to 24%), Oregon (9% to 15%) and Washington (2% to 5%).
The college football world has its eyes on Tuscaloosa for the eagerly anticipated rematch between Texas and Alabama. Not only does it have the intrigue of Texas looking to avenge last year’s loss, but Saturday night’s game has the biggest impact on the playoff chase. With a win, Alabama’s CFP prospects tick up to 69%, but a loss to the Longhorns would drop the Crimson Tide to only 35%. A win for Texas has much more upside as it would raise the Longhorns’ CFP chances from 17% to 39%.
History also suggests the loser of this game is unlikely to be selected to the CFP. Since the four-team playoff began in 2014, only one team has made the CFP with a regular-season loss in nonconference play. That was Ohio State in 2014.
ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) gives Alabama an 81% chance to win.
Oklahoma was one of the biggest winners in Week 1, seeing its playoff chances jump from 13% to its current 35%. The Sooners benefited not only from their own dominant win, but also subpar performances by other CFP contenders. A home loss to SMU, a team ranked 46th in FPI, would drop Oklahoma’s CFP chances to 11%.
The Sooners have a favorable schedule. FPI gives Oklahoma at least a 75% chance to win each of its remaining games with the exception of one — Oct. 7 vs. rival Texas. The Sooners have a 57% chance to beat the Longhorns.
Notre Dame has dominated this season, outscoring its two opponents by 92 points. The fast start moved the Fighting Irish from 11% to 18% to reach the CFP.
A win at NC State, ranked 41st in FPI, won’t be a big needle-mover for Notre Dame’s playoff chances, but it will keep it in the mix with a big game against Ohio State looming in two weeks.
Oregon is in a similar boat as Notre Dame because a Week 2 loss to Texas Tech would knock the Ducks to the periphery of the CFP discussion. FPI gives Oregon a 67% chance to win in Lubbock and keep its CFP hopes on course.