We’re less than an hour from the CFB Playoff selection, so I figured I’d release a final version of my system. For an explanation of the system and caveats with it, see this post.
We can set the baseline team wherever we want, so I’ll show 2 different sets of rankings–vs the #10 team and vs the #25 team.
Achievement Rankings – #10 team baseline
Achievement Rankings – #25 team baseline
Obviously Mississippi State is going to be the big surprise here, but Sagarin’s ratings which I’m using, are astronomically high on the SEC West (see here). This could be too high or it could be right (I think we’d all agree the SEC West was an extremely strong division), but in the end it makes their schedule over a loss tougher than the other top contenders. Adjusting the SEC downward a bit, would give you either Baylor and TCU (no Oregon) in the #10-team version or Oregon and TCU in the #25-team version. The issue with Oregon is that the high baseline we set combined with Sagarin’s view of the Pac-12–lots of good but few great teams–makes Oregon’s schedule look relatively easy for a top 10 or even top 25 team.
I think there are good reasons for moving Mississippi State down, but this is a good reminder that teams shouldn’t be automatically excluded simply because they have more losses than another team. An extremely tough schedule can be enough to account for the extra loss.
Also, remember that conference championships, head-to-head, margin of victory, and the “eye test” are not included here, but those are things the committee could consider. Most of those things would not work in Mississippi State’s favor.
It will be interesting to see what the committee does today, both in selection and seeding. And then we all get to enjoy college football’s first playoff on the field, which promises to be exciting no matter who is selected.