Projected chances of winning out for top 15 teams in the college football rankings

We're in the home stretch of the 2017 college football season, and every team in the top 15 of the College Football Playoff Rankings has at least a puncher's chance to make the fourth edition of the four-team field.

But who controls their own destiny?

SportsLine data analyst Stephen Oh, who simulates every college football game for CBS Sports, projected the win-out percentage for each top-15 team as well as the top two Group of Five squads.

Power Five

Rank/TeamGame 1Game 2Game 3Win Out

1. Georgia (9-0)

@AUB (47.3%)

UK (90.4%)

@GATECH  (76.7%)

32.8%

2. Alabama (9-0)

@MISSST (90.6%)

MERCER (99.9%)

@AUB (75.8%)

68.7%

3. Notre Dame (8-1)

@MIAMI (58.8%)

NAVY (91.2%)

@STAN (64.7%)

34.7%

4. Clemson (8-1)

FSU (90.2%)

CIT (99.9%)

@SC (66.2%)

59.7%

5. Oklahoma (8-1)

TCU (58.6%)

@KAN (93.3%)

WVU (69.9%)

38.2%

6. TCU (8-1)

@OKLA (41.5%)

@TXTECH (70.6%)

BAYLOR (85.5%)

25.0%

7. Miami (8-0)

ND (41.2%)

UVA (87.0%)

@PITT (67.8%)

24.3%

8. Wisconsin (9-0)

IOWA (57.6%)

MICH (58.5%)

@MINN (51.0%)

17.2%

9. Washington (8-1)

@STAN (63.3%)

UTAH (88.8%)

WASHST (82.2%)

46.2%

10. Auburn (7-2)

UGA (52.7%)

LAMON (98.1%)

BAMA (24.2%)

12.5%

11. USC (8-2)

@COLO (68.2%)

UCLA (84.2%)

57.5%

12. Michigan State (7-2)

@OHIOST (9.9%)

UMD (80.0%)

@RUT (78.1%)

6.2%

13. Ohio State (7-2)

MICHST (90.1%)

ILL (98.9%)

@MICH (72.0%)

64.2%

14. Penn State (7-2)

RUT (98.5%)

NEB (94.1%)

@MD (93.9%)

87.1%

15. Oklahoma State (7-2)@IOWAST (60.9%)KSTATE (76.3%)KANSAS (96.9%)45.0%

The immediate takeaway coming out of the table is that, despite being predicted to win each of its final three games, the numbers indicate just a 34.7 percent chance that Notre Dame actually does win out. With games against No. 7 Miami (Fla.) on the road, a tricky Navy squad and unranked-yet-dangerous Stanford left to complete an 11-1 season, the model is counting on the Fighting Irish to be upset at least once between now and the end of November.

The model also heavily favors Alabama not only winning the SEC West but potentially its fourth straight SEC title. The Crimson Tide are heavy favorites over Mississippi State this weekend and Mercer next weekend. They also have a 75.8 percent chance to top Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium on rivalry weekend.

Compare that to Georgia, which is predicted to lose to the same Auburn team this weekend on The Plains. The Bulldogs are expected to suffer a late-season swoon. UGA is predicted to only have a 32.8 percent chance to win out as a result of that Auburn game and a nonconference game against Georgia Tech, which it has lost in two of the past three seasons.

Clemson stands as the one-loss team most likely to win out, while Penn State holds that honor as a two-loss team. Unfortunately for the Nittany Lions, the two Big Ten teams immediately ahead of them hold head-to-head tiebreakers in the league race.

Group of Five

Rank/TeamGame 1Game 2Game 3Win Out

18. Central Florida (8-0)

UCONN (98.0%)

@TEMPLE (76.0%)

USF (62.0%)

46.2%

22. Memphis (8-1)

SMU (74.5%)

ECU (97.4%)

72.6%

At the Group of Five level, Memphis is far more likely to win out than UCF despite being ranked four spots behind the Knights. The culprits for Scott Frost's crew are a South Florida team that's extremely dangerous during rivalry weekend and a Temple squad that found a passing game last week vs. Navy. The Knights and Tigers could meet in the AAC Championship Game for a chance to earn a New Year's Six berth. The question is whether both teams are 10-1 in that game or UCF enters undefeated.

College Football Writer

Barrett Sallee has been a member of the sports media in various aspects since 2001. He is currently a college football writer for CBS Sports, while also hosting on ESPNU on SiriusXM Radio channel 84, the... Full Bio

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