Six weeks ago, Big Ten won’t have a fall college football season. Now it’s the best conference to place multiple teams in college football playoffs.
According to the Allstate Playoff Predictor, ahead of its own kickoff weekend, the Big Ten will have a 34% chance to win multiple bids for the playoffs. This actually surpasses SEC (20%), definitely ACC (3%) and Pac-12 (less than 1%).
The most likely combination of two teams in Big Ten? It’s simple: Ohio and Wisconsin account for 63% of Victen’s placing multiple teams in the playoffs.
Ohio is clear. quarterback Justin Fields In coaching, Buckeyes is the second best team in college football (after Clemson), and the team most likely to win the Big Ten, FPI says.
The FPI is also quite high on Badgers, bringing back all starters along the offensive and defensive lines for a year after being in the top ten in both offensive and defensive efficiency. That’s a big reason why the model thinks Badgers is the fourth best team in the United States, but I think the touchdown per game is almost worse than Ohio State University.
Combine the two teams and add the fact that they are in different divisions and there are no scheduled matches against each other. There are three different ways that both can reasonably fit in. Both teams are undefeated, 1 lost Wisconsin beats undefeated Ohio State, or only one defeated Ohio State beats previously undefeated Wisconsin.
Both teams are at least 74% popular in each game, and both teams have a 17% chance of undefeated in the Victen Championship game. Again, that’s not the only way you can get both to choose.
The next most likely combination is Ohio-Penn. Both teams can advance to the playoffs in the old fashioned way. Two teams from the same division, including the team that won the conference championship. For example, there is an 11% chance that Ohio will be undefeated and Penn State will only be defeated in Ohio, but in fact, in this scenario, Nittany Lions could only be chosen 32%. The opposite-Ohio loses only to Penn State-also works. And either way, the team that goes on to win the conference will probably afford to give up the game in advance. The third and final combination for a team with a 1% chance to merge is Penn State and Wisconsin, which is played in exactly the same way as Ohio-Wisconsin.
There are several other routes that all three teams can fit in, or that Ohio State can pair up with Indiana or Iowa, but all are less than 1% likely to occur.
So, why is the Big Ten more likely to take second place compared to the SEC?
Simply because the SEC only has one team left without loss. While Alabama or Georgia had to be defeated by other teams at this point in the season, other teams that they considered competitors in the preseason, Florida and LSU, were already upset.
These losses do not preclude the SEC from winning two teams. For example, it’s easy to imagine Florida losing 1 in both teams after beating undefeated Alabama in a conference championship game. But the fact that Florida has already suffered losses makes the situation a lot more difficult now. Gators are no longer in error. The same is true of Georgia. Or Texas A&M. So the SEC could place multiple teams, but it’s far less likely that chances will come to the conference championship game.
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