College Football Playoff Predictions 2019: Eight Teams With Chance in Championship Week

Clemson has a a 98% chance of reaching the college football playoff in our predictions

Trevor Lawrence and Clemson are heavy favorites to reach the playoff (Photo by Dannie Walls/Icon Sportswire)

The 2019 College Football Playoff contenders continue to shrink each weekend as we approach this year’s bowl selection show. This week, Alabama lost to Auburn in crushing fashion, and Minnesota was eliminated from contention when they lost at home to Wisconsin.

These are our 2019 college football playoff predictions for teams that are still in contention for the CFP. In this breakdown, we’ll use our college football predictive power ratings to assess the odds that each contender wins all its remaining games, and then provide a bit more subjective analysis of what the various outcomes could mean.

The final College Football Playoff selections will take place next Sunday, December 8, 2019. Four teams will be selected to play in the CFB Playoff semifinals on December 28, 2019, in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl.

Here is our current read, as of December 2nd, on how the playoff field is shaping up.  (By the way, you can check out our full 2019 college football projected standings here.). If you would like to see what we said in earlier versions, that content is below as well.

Clemson, Georgia, LSU, and Ohio State are Win and In

Four teams will guarantee a spot in the playoff if they win the conference title game next weekend. Clemson, Georgia, LSU, and Ohio State were all inside the Top 4 in the committee playoff rankings entering last weekend. All won last week, and will remain there with one more victory on championship weekend.

Clemson is a heavy favorite against Virginia in the ACC title game. We project their win odds at 98% to win the ACC and finish 13-0.

Ohio State is a sizable favorite against Wisconsin the Big Ten title game. They do face a tougher challenge in the Badgers, though, and we have their win odds at around 80%.

Finally, only one of Georgia and LSU can win this weekend, going head-to-head in the SEC title game. The winner of that game is in the playoff. LSU is the favorite entering the game, but with win odds at around 60% for LSU, Georgia certainly has a chance.

That means that at least one additional playoff spot will be open depending on the outcome of those three games (and maybe more if Clemson or Ohio State lose). Here’s how we view the race for any remaining spots.

LSU and Ohio State are Strong Candidates even with a Loss

The playoff committee has expressed a preference for conference champions, if all else is similar. So far, the five previous playoffs have consisted of 17 conference champions, one Independent (undefeated Notre Dame last year) and two teams that had one loss but did not win their conference. Neither of those one-loss non-champions (Ohio State in 2016 and Alabama in 2017) were selected over a one-loss champion from another power conference, though. So we don’t have any precedence for how the committee will view a one-loss LSU or Ohio State competing against Utah or the Big 12 champion for a spot.

That said, Ohio State and LSU both look like stronger selections than the other options, even if they lose this weekend. This, of course, depends on how they lose as well. These decisions will be made by humans who have shown in past seasons a willingness to shift things quickly based on the “eye test.”

In looking at our season strength of schedule rankings (including this week’s games), Ohio State is No. 1 and LSU is No. 3. Compare that to Oklahoma (No. 19), Utah (No. 20), and Baylor (No. 21). Wisconsin is at No. 4 in schedule strength, but would still have two losses.

LSU and Ohio State have beaten multiple teams in the Top 12 this season, with LSU’s Alabama victory as the best single win of any team in consideration. Oklahoma could have two wins against the Top 12, both against Baylor, while Utah would have none.

It feels like LSU and Ohio State may have done enough already. But there’s not much precedence for the scenario that could unfold, where they are being compared to a one-loss champion from the Pac-12 or Big 12.

Baylor, Oklahoma, and Utah Would All Be in the Mix

The Big 12 will have a one-loss champion. The Pac-12 could as well, if Utah beats Oregon. Only three teams have failed to make the playoff as a one-loss champion of a major conference since the playoffs began. The first two were in 2014, when the committee took Ohio State over both TCU and Baylor from the Big 12. The Big 12 added the conference championship game after that decision, so that there would be “one true champion.” The other case was last year, when one-loss Oklahoma was chosen over one-loss Ohio State (and the other three spots went to undefeated teams).

In most cases, things have fallen in place for the committee by the end of the season. The only way that cleanly happens this year is if Ohio State, Clemson, and LSU all win, and Oregon beats Utah. That would leave the Big 12 champion as the likely choice for the fourth spot.

But if it’s a choice between Utah and the Big 12 champ, or any of those teams versus either LSU or Ohio State, things get less certain.

As noted above, Oklahoma, Baylor, and Utah have roughly similar strength of schedules. Utah has yet to beat a team that was in the last Top 25 released by the committee. That would change if they beat Oregon. Oklahoma’s best win is the rally to beat Baylor. Baylor’s best wins are at Oklahoma State and Kansas State, teams that could show up at the bottom of the Top 25 this week. Utah had the best ranking from the committee entering last week. But the committee hasn’t really had to decide between Utah and one of the Big 12 teams yet. That call could conceivably go any direction.

Utah has a 57% chance of beating Oregon, according to our power ratings (though the betting market has them roughly 10% higher). Oklahoma is a solid favorite over Baylor in the rematch for the Big 12 title, with 77% win odds.

Wisconsin Has an Outside Shot

Wisconsin would have a better top-end resumé than the Big 12 champion or Utah (or Clemson, if they were to lose to Virginia). We give Wisconsin only a 20% chance of pulling the upset to win the Big Ten. If they do, the Badgers would have split with Ohio State (with the loss coming on the road) and beaten Minnesota, Iowa, and Michigan. The other loss was on a last second field goal at Illinois, where Wisconsin led all game.

Compare that, for example, to Utah, who could have one win, over Oregon, against teams that are in the playoff committee’s Top 25 rankings.

No two-loss team has been selected for the playoff yet. The last two-loss team to reach a title game was LSU back in 2007. That makes it difficult to predict that the committee would make that choice this season. A win over Ohio State would be massive, though, and have them at least in the discussion.

Bringing It All Together

We can use our power-rating-based win odds for each title game to estimate the chances that each team makes the playoffs. For example, 21.5% of the time, all five favorites should win.

Here are two different estimates of the playoff odds. In both, we assume that an undefeated Clemson, LSU, or Ohio State are in the playoffs. We also assume Georgia would be in if they win the SEC title.

After that, Option 1 provides the playoff odds based on one-loss Ohio State or LSU having an advantage over the other options. LSU or Ohio State have an 80% chance of being selected over the other contenders in this option. (This is to account for some uncertainty, while still making a judgment call on who the committee is likely to select.) Baylor/Oklahoma/Utah have an equal opportunity of selection. Those three then have an 80% chance of being selected heads up over Wisconsin in Option 1.

Option 2 shows the playoff odds if there is no preference given among potential options. In Option 2, LSU and Ohio State (with a loss) have the same chance of being selected as Baylor/Oklahoma/Utah/Wisconsin.

TeamOption 1 Playoff OddsOption 2 Playoff Odds
Clemson98.5%98.5%
Ohio State97.5%92.2%
LSU92.0%77.3%
Georgia40.1%40.1%
Oklahoma 38.3%45.3%
Utah21.2%27.0%
Baylor9.5%12.6%
Wisconsin2.9%7.0%

LSU has the biggest difference between their playoff odds in the two options. If they lose, Georgia takes one of the other slots, leaving fewer spots for LSU to compete for. Ohio State, on the other hand, likely remains above Wisconsin in the pecking order even with a loss.


College Football Playoff Predictions, Week of November 25th, 2019

Clemson Tigers (11-0)

TeamRankings Projected Odds to Win Out: 91%

If They Win Out: Lock as undefeated ACC Champion

If They Lose: Likely in trouble due to strength of schedule

Breakdown: Clemson’s breakdown is identical to last week, since they did not play and not much has changed from their perspective. They have the easiest closing stretch of the three favorites, and would have to collapse in order to not make the playoffs. We give them a 95% chance to get to 12-0 (win over South Carolina), and a 96% to win the ACC title. Virginia and Virginia Tech meet next week to decide who faces Clemson.

It’s hard to see how Clemson can make the CFP if they do somehow lose, however, in a comparison against a one-loss champion for any of the other major conferences. Clemson is No. 39 in our strength of schedule rating, lower than any other team still in contention. The ACC is down this year, and no other ACC teams appeared in last week’s AP Top 25. So it’s likely win out and get in, or lose and go home for the defending champs.

Ohio State Buckeyes (11-0)

TeamRankings Projected Odds to Win Out: 71%

If They Win Out: Lock as undefeated Big Ten Champion

If They Lose: Depends on the game. Lock if the loss is to Michigan and finish as 12-1 Big Ten Champ. In consideration if the loss is in the Big Ten title game to Minnesota or Wisconsin.

Breakdown: Ohio State cleared another hurdle by beating Penn State and clinching the Big Ten Eastern division. Up next is Michigan, followed by a game against either Wisconsin or Minnesota in the Big Ten title game.

Because Ohio State is the No. 1 team in the predictive power ratings (and well ahead of the field), they are still heavily favored in our projections. We give them a 81% chance of beating Michigan to finish the regular season 12-0. They will be a heavy favorite in the title game, with the specific odds to be determined by whether it is against Minnesota or Wisconsin.

Altogether, we project Ohio State with approximately a 71% chance of being 13-0 (up from 67% last week, with the victory over Penn State), which would guarantee their spot in the playoffs.

Ohio State, like LSU, can still make the playoff with one loss. They are No. 1 in our overall projected season strength of schedule. Which game they lose, though, could play a role in whether they get in or not. In a weird way, the rivalry game against Michigan is the least important for playoff considerations. Ohio State could lose that one and still win the Big Ten title at 12-1, and they would certainly go as the conference champion at that point.

LSU Tigers (11-0)

TeamRankings Projected Odds to Win Out: 49%

If They Win Out: Lock as undefeated SEC Champion

If They Lose: If the loss came to Texas A&M and they won the SEC Title, they would be a lock at 12-1. For a loss in the SEC title game to Georgia, it would come down to a comparison with Utah or the Big 12 champion.

Breakdown: LSU clinched their spot in the SEC title game against Georgia with the win over Arkansas, and still has to beat Texas A&M at home to likely lock up a bid to the playoffs.

Our projections did not change much, since they were such heavy favorites over Arkansas, and we have them an 88% chance to finish the regular season at 12-0, and project them as a slight favorite to beat Georgia (56%). Overall, we project about a 49% chance that LSU finishes as an undefeated SEC Champ.

They also look like the most likely team to get selected for a playoff spot with a loss, based on strength of schedule and having the best win (at Alabama) of all the contenders. LSU is No. 3 in our strength of schedule to-date and No. 5 in our projected full season strength of schedule.

A one-loss SEC champion will almost certainly make the playoffs, and that happens another 7% of the time for LSU (loss to Texas A&M, win over Georgia). LSU is also in reasonable shape if they lose in the title game. They would compare favorably to one-loss champions from either the Big 12 or Pac-12 based on schedule strength. (The scenario of losing to Georgia to finish 12-1 happens an additional 39% of the time).

The complicating factor is they would almost certainly fall behind Georgia in that case. The committee has previously expressed a goal of rewarding conference champions, if everything else is equal. In our opinion, a 12-1 LSU, even without a conference title, would have a superior case over either Utah from the Pac-12 or the winner of the Big 12 title game, but the committee could disagree.

Georgia Bulldogs (10-1)

TeamRankings Projected Odds to Win Out: 44%

If They Win Out: Lock as 12-1 SEC Champion

If They Lose: Most likely out of consideration barring complete chaos in other conferences.

Breakdown: Georgia again held on to their No. 4 spot in the CFB Playoff rankings with a win over Texas A&M. They are heavy favorites over Georgia Tech, then will be a slight underdog to LSU in the SEC title game. Their odds of getting to 12-1 have improved to 44%, up 7% from last week. Georgia almost certainly must win the SEC title at this point to get into the playoff.

Alabama Crimson Tide (10-1)

TeamRankings Projected Odds to Win Out: 65%

If They Win Out: It’s campaign time for Nick Saban because Alabama would have to be selected over Pac-12 and Big 12 Champs at minimum, as a team that did not have to play in the conference title game.

If They Lose: An Auburn loss without Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback would eliminate them officially.

Breakdown: Alabama rolled over Western Carolina last week, but was eliminated from SEC West contention with LSU’s win over Arkansas, and their final game will be against Auburn. QB Tua Tagovailoa is out for the rest of the year with a hip injury, and Tagovailoa’s absence will make it more difficult for Alabama to win a beauty contest for the final playoff spot.

Our projections give them a 65% chance of winning against Auburn, but that is based on ratings accumulated with Tagovailoa. Early point spreads show that Alabama will be favored, but by a field goal or less on the road.

The Crimson Tide will be rooting for Georgia, a bit of chaos in other conferences, and an impressive showing at Auburn to close the season. Alabama’s best win of the year would be at Auburn (other candidates are at Texas A&M and at South Carolina).

Utah Utes (10-1)

TeamRankings Projected Odds to Win Out: 53%

If They Win Out: In the mix with a one-loss Big 12 Champ and any runner-ups with one loss from SEC or Big Ten.

If They Lose: Out of playoff consideration.

Breakdown: Utah continues to roll, handling Arizona and moving to 10-1. Meanwhile, Oregon lost at Arizona State, which means that if a playoff candidate is going to come from the Pac-12, it will have to be Utah.

Utah still has to beat Colorado to clinch their spot in the Pac-12 title game, and we give them a 98% chance of doing that, and advancing to play Oregon, where they will now be a slight favorite based on recent results. If they get to 12-1, they are not automatically in the playoffs, and just in the discussion. Utah’s best outcomes would be an Alabama loss to Auburn and a Georgia loss to LSU, in which case they would have a decent case against either Big 12 teams that could get to 12-1.

Oklahoma Sooners (10-1)

TeamRankings Projected Odds to Win Out: 54%

If They Win Out: In the mix with a one-loss Utah and any runner-ups with one loss from SEC or Big Ten.

If They Lose: Out of playoff consideration.

Breakdown:

Oklahoma continues to win, but not impressively, narrowly escaping against TCU on Saturday. Over their last four games they have scored 145 points and given up 144 points, so you have to wonder if in a close call that “style” of winning close will be held against them.

We give them a 73% chance of beating Oklahoma State in the Bedlam game to finish the regular season 11-1. Against Baylor in the Big 12 title game, we project them with 74% win odds. Oklahoma will be rooting for Georgia to lose, and then will try to win the close call against Alabama and Utah (or hope those teams also lose).

Baylor Bears (10-1)

TeamRankings Projected Odds to Win Out: 23%

If They Win Out: In the mix with a one-loss Pac-12 Champ and any runner-ups with one loss from SEC or Big Ten.

If They Lose: Out of playoff consideration.

Breakdown: Baylor was impressive in beating Texas, and their chances of finishing 12-1 nearly doubled, moving from 13% last week to 23% now. The Bears close out the regular season at Kansas and then will need to beat Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game.

Baylor’s best win would be over Oklahoma in that case. The non-conference slate of Stephen F. Austin, Texas-San Antonio, and Rice would not do them many favors in a comparison against other contenders, and winning four conference games by a field goal or in overtime might not impress the committee. Thus, Baylor is probably in trouble heads up against the candidates above them on this list and could use some positive results, like Oregon beating Utah and Auburn beat Alabama, in addition to a Georgia loss.

Minnesota Golden Gophers (10-1)

TeamRankings Projected Odds to Win Out: 1%

If They Win Out: Lock as a 12-1 Big Ten champ.

If They Lose: Out of playoff consideration.

Breakdown: Yes, Minnesota is still alive. They can surge to the Big Ten title by beating Wisconsin and Ohio State in consecutive weeks, and leap some teams. The bigger issue is pulling that off. Minnesota is No. 18 in our predictive power rating. We project them as an underdog to Wisconsin at home (and a big underdog to Ohio State if they were to play in the Big Ten title game). Our projections give Minnesota only a 1.4% chance of winning out to win the Big Ten title.

Wisconsin Badgers (9-2)

TeamRankings Projected Odds to Win Out: 11%

If They Win Out: They would be 11-2 and Big Ten champs, likely heading for the Rose Bowl, but with a very outside chance at a playoff berth if there is complete chaos in other conferences.

If They Lose: Out of playoff consideration.

Breakdown: One of the chaos things that Wisconsin needed to happen did. Oregon lost in the Pac-12, setting up the possibility that they in turn can beat Utah and leave the Pac-12 with a 2-loss champion.

Next up would be both an Alabama loss and a loss in the Big 12 from either Baylor or Oklahoma before the title game.

No two-loss team has been selected for the playoff but Wisconsin would be that choice if chaos reigns and if they win out to win the Big Ten, and add a revenge victory over Ohio State and beat Minnesota in the process.  That chaos would require both the Big 12 and Pac-12 champs to finish with two losses, and for Alabama to get a second loss (and Georgia to also lose).

We give them an 11% chance of winning out and winning the Big Ten. All those other things happening are probably 5% or less right now, so they are still a long shot. We can revisit this in a week.

We hope you have enjoyed our 2019 College Football Playoff Predictions. You can subscribe to see our College Football Bowl Pick’em Picks for 2019-2020. You can also check out our Betting Picks, and NFL Pick’em Picks and NFL Survivor Pool Picks.


College Football Playoff Predictions, Week of November 18th, 2019

Clemson Tigers (11-0)

TeamRankings Projected Odds to Win Out: 91%

If They Win Out: Lock as undefeated ACC Champion

If They Lose: Likely in trouble due to strength of schedule

Breakdown: Clemson has the easiest closing stretch of the three favorites, and would have to collapse in order to not make the playoffs. We give them a 94% chance to get to 12-0, and a 97% to win the ACC title. The most likely opponent when they get there is Virginia, though the Coastal Division is still undecided.

It’s hard to see how Clemson can make the CFP if they do somehow lose, however, in a comparison against a one-loss champion for any of the other major conferences. Clemson is No. 39 in our strength of schedule rating, lower than any other team still in contention. The ACC is down this year, and no other ACC teams appeared in last week’s AP Top 25. So it’s likely win out and get in, or lose and go home for the defending champs.

Ohio State Buckeyes (10-0)

TeamRankings Projected Odds to Win Out: 67%

If They Win Out: Lock as undefeated Big Ten Champion

If They Lose: Depends on the game. Lock if the loss is to Michigan and finish as 12-1 Big Ten Champ. In consideration otherwise.

Breakdown: Ohio State has the toughest closing stretch of the undefeated teams. They play Penn State, go to Michigan, and then would play the Big Ten West champion in the Big Ten title game (assuming they beat Penn State and win the East).

Because Ohio State is the No. 1 team in the predictive power ratings (and well ahead of the field), they are still heavily favored in our projections. We give them a 76% of winning out to finish the regular season 12-0. They will be a heavy favorite in the title game, with the specific odds to be determined by whether it is against Minnesota or Wisconsin.

Altogether, we project Ohio State with approximately a 67% chance of being 13-0, which would guarantee their spot in the playoffs. They haven’t clinched a Big Ten championship game spot, though. This week’s game against Penn State is vital, as Penn State would have the head-to-head tiebreaker if they can pull the upset, just as they did back in 2016.

Ohio State, like LSU, can still make the playoff with one loss. They are No. 1 in our overall projected season strength of schedule. Which game they lose, though, could play a role in whether they get in or not. In a weird way, the rivalry game against Michigan is the least important for playoff considerations. Ohio State could lose that one and still win the Big Ten title at 12-1. We estimate the chances of that scenario to be at around 12%, putting their chances of winning the Big Ten (at either 12-1 or 13-0) at 79%.

LSU Tigers (10-0)

TeamRankings Projected Odds to Win Out: 49%

If They Win Out: Lock as undefeated SEC Champion

If They Lose: If the loss came to Texas A&M and they won the SEC Title, they would be a lock at 12-1. For a loss in the SEC title game to Georgia, it would come down to a comparison with champions from the Pac-12 or Big 12.

Breakdown: LSU will clinch a place in the SEC title game with a win in either of their last two games, at home against Arkansas and Texas A&M. Assuming they do that (and the chances are greater than 99% because Arkansas is still on the schedule) they would play Georgia in the SEC championship game.

Our projections have them 87.7% to finish the regular season at 12-0, and as a slight favorite to beat Georgia (56%). We project about a 49% chance that LSU finishes as an undefeated SEC Champ.

They also look like the most likely team to get selected for a playoff spot with a loss, based on strength of schedule and having the best win (at Alabama) of all the contenders. LSU is No. 2 in our strength of schedule to-date and No. 5 in our projected full season strength of schedule.

A one-loss SEC champion will almost certainly make the playoffs, and that happens another 7% of the time for LSU (loss to Texas A&M, win over Georgia). LSU is also in reasonable shape if they lose in the title game. They would compare favorably to one-loss champions from either the Big 12 or Pac-12 based on schedule strength. (The scenario of losing to Georgia to finish 12-1 happens an additional 39% of the time).

The complicating factor is they would almost certainly fall behind Georgia in that case. The committee has previously expressed a goal of rewarding conference champions, if everything else is equal. That could at least put LSU at risk with a loss in the title game.

Georgia Bulldogs (9-1)

TeamRankings Projected Odds to Win Out: 37%

If They Win Out: Lock as 12-1 SEC Champion

If They Lose: Most likely out of consideration barring complete chaos in other conferences.

Breakdown: Georgia is currently in the No. 4 spot in the CFB Playoff rankings, and solidified that for another week with the key road win at Auburn. That win formally clinched a spot in the SEC title game. They do still have Texas A&M in the regular season (and the rivalry game against Georgia Tech), and then a likely showdown with LSU.

Georgia almost certainly must win out to get to the CFB Playoff. We project their chances of finishing the regular season 11-1 and then beating LSU at about 37%.

Alabama Crimson Tide (9-1)

TeamRankings Projected Odds to Win Out: 65%

If They Win Out: It’s campaign time for Nick Saban because Alabama would have to be selected over Pac-12 and Big 12 Champs at minimum, as a team that did not have to play in the conference title game.

If They Lose: An Auburn loss without Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback would eliminate them officially.

Breakdown: Alabama’s chances of reaching the SEC title game are extremely slim (it requires two LSU losses). That makes it difficult for them to get to more than 11 wins. QB Tua Tagovailoa is out for the rest of the year with a hip injury, and Tagovailoa’s absence will make it more difficult for Alabama to win a beauty contest for the final playoff spot.

Alabama also still has to play at Auburn. Our projections give them a 65% chance of winning that one, but that is based on ratings accumulated with Tagovailoa. The odds are likely to be closer to 50/50 in that one once the betting market assesses the injury impact.

The Crimson Tide will be rooting for Georgia, a bit of chaos in other conferences, and an impressive showing at Auburn to close the season.

Oklahoma Sooners (9-1)

TeamRankings Projected Odds to Win Out: 49%

If They Win Out: In the mix with a one-loss Pac-12 Champ and any runner-ups with one loss from SEC or Big Ten.

If They Lose: Out of playoff consideration.

Breakdown: Oklahoma’s hopes were on life support at halftime against Baylor, but they rallied from a 31-10 deficit and still have a chance to return to the playoff. We give them a 65% chance to finish the regular season 11-1. They would then likely meet Baylor again in the Big 12 title game. Oklahoma will be rooting for Georgia to lose, and then will try to win the close call against Alabama and the Pac-12 champ if they can get to 12-1.

Utah Utes (9-1)

TeamRankings Projected Odds to Win Out: 46%

If They Win Out: In the mix with a one-loss Big 12 Champ and any runner-ups with one loss from SEC or Big Ten.

If They Lose: Out of playoff consideration.

Breakdown: Utah and Oregon are on a collision course in the Pac-12 title game. The Utes were impressive in blowing out UCLA, but they don’t have a great win, yet. Beating Oregon would provide their best result, and they would then be in the discussion at 12-1. We put their odds of winning out to finish 12-1, including a win in the Pac-12 title game, at 46%. Of course, they do not automatically get into the playoff at 12-1, and would just be in the discussion. Would that record, with wins over Oregon, at Washington, and at BYU be enough?

Oregon Ducks (9-1)

TeamRankings Projected Odds to Win Out: 42%

If They Win Out: In the mix with a one-loss Big 12 Champ and any runner-ups with one loss from SEC or Big Ten.

If They Lose: Out of playoff consideration.

Breakdown: Oregon has clinched the Pac-12 North, with a likely game against Utah looming. They do have to play at Arizona State before playing rival Oregon State. We put their odds of going 12-1 at around 42% as they play a slightly tougher schedule than Utah to finish. A game between Utah and Oregon on a neutral field is now a virtual toss-up. Those two teams are separated by only 0.2 points in our predictive power ratings.

One complicating factor for Oregon is a direct comparison with SEC playoff contenders because of the loss to Auburn. The Ducks should be rooting for Auburn to beat Alabama, and for Georgia to also get their second loss, to give them their best chance of being selected.

Penn State Nittany Lions (9-1)

TeamRankings Projected Odds to Win Out: 5%

If They Win Out: Lock as a 12-1 Big Ten champ.

If They Lose: Out of playoff consideration.

Breakdown: Penn State still “controls their own destiny” when it comes to the playoff, but it won’t be easy. We give them a 5.4% chance to win out and win the Big Ten, and the biggest factor there is they have to win at Ohio State to keep their hopes alive.

If they can pull off the upset, they then close with Rutgers at home to win the Big Ten East. A showdown with either Wisconsin or Minnesota await in the Big Ten title game. Win all those games to finish 12-1, and they will be ahead of Ohio State in the playoff pecking order and in great shape.

Baylor Bears (9-1)

TeamRankings Projected Odds to Win Out: 13%

If They Win Out: In the mix with a one-loss Pac-12 Champ and any runner-ups with one loss from SEC or Big Ten.

If They Lose: Out of playoff consideration.

Breakdown: Yes, Baylor suffered their first loss in heartbreaking fashion after having a 31-10 lead over Oklahoma. But their chances at a playoff spot are still alive, if they can win out and get revenge in the Big 12 title game. We give them a 52% of getting to 11-1, where they would then be an underdog against the Sooners. If they can get the win in the rematch, they would have a chance in a head-to-head comparison with the Pac-12 champ.

Baylor’s best win would be over Oklahoma in that case. The non-conference slate of Stephen F. Austin, Texas-San Antonio, and Rice would not do them many favors in a comparison against other contenders, and winning four conference games by a field goal or in overtime might not impress the committee.

Minnesota Golden Gophers (9-1)

TeamRankings Projected Odds to Win Out: 1%

If They Win Out: Lock as a 12-1 Big Ten champ.

If They Lose: Out of playoff consideration.

Breakdown: Yes, Minnesota is still alive for a playoff spot despite the road loss at Iowa. If they win out, they would have victories over Penn State, Wisconsin, and then either Ohio State or Penn State again on the resumé, to go with a 12-1 record. The bigger issue is pulling that off. Minnesota is No. 19 in our predictive power rating. We project them as an underdog to Wisconsin at home (and a big underdog to Ohio State if they were to play in the Big Ten title game). Our projections give Minnesota only a 1.4% chance of winning out to win the Big Ten title.

Wisconsin Badgers (8-2)

TeamRankings Projected Odds to Win Out: 11%

If They Win Out: They would be 11-2 and Big Ten champs, likely heading for the Rose Bowl, but with a very outside chance at a playoff berth if there is complete chaos in other conferences.

If They Lose: Out of playoff consideration.

Breakdown: What happens if there is chaos? Right now, Wisconsin looks like the best candidate to emerge from the ashes. That’s because they can still add big wins and win a Big Ten title. We give them an 11% chance of winning out and winning the Big Ten. Then, they would need a lot of other things to happen, such as Georgia losing, the Pac-12 teams both losing, and maybe even a Clemson loss.

We hope you have enjoyed our 2019 College Football Playoff Predictions. You can subscribe to see our College Football Bowl Pick’em Picks for 2019-2020. You can also check out our Betting Picks, and NFL Pick’em Picks and NFL Survivor Pool Picks.