Each week, Saturday Down South’s playoff predictor will project which four teams would make the College Football Playoff if the season ended now.

The formula takes into account Vegas national championship odds, offensive and defensive efficiency, analytics, strength of schedule, division standings and the major polls.

The team with the lowest score is the most likely to make the four-team Playoff. (You can find a longer explanation of the formula at the bottom of this post.)

Keep in mind, this is not a projection of where things will be at the end of the season. It’s a projection of where things stand if the season ended today.

Georgia (No. 9 to No. 23), USC (No. 9 to No. 21) and Louisville (No. 18 to No. 32), the three AP Top 25 teams to lose, tumbled in the predictor as well. Week 3 eliminated 10 more teams from Playoff contention, meaning 67 of the 128 FBS programs have no hope this season, while six more teams are alive on paper only, like one-loss power conference teams Indiana and Minnesota in the Big Ten.

If the season ended today, the SEC West teams (other than Auburn-Arkansas) wouldn’t have played each other. That will resolve itself in the next few weeks. Right now, Florida State and Notre Dame have the best opportunity to supplant Alabama or Texas A&M in our playoff projections by continuing to win.


1. Alabama

Score: 34.5

Last Week: No. 1

The Numbers Say: The Tide edge Oregon as the most likely team to make the Playoff thanks to a better combined offensive and defensive efficiency.

Bottom Line: The Tide just need to keep winning.

Next Up: vs. Florida.

2. Oregon

Score: 36

Last Week: No. 3

The Numbers Say The Ducks are in great standing with the polls, analytics and strength of schedule, but a fairly mediocre defensive efficiency prevents Mark Helfrich and his team from grabbing the top spot.

Bottom Line: Win the Pac-12 and the Ducks are in the Playoff.

Next Up: at Washington State.

3. Texas A&M

Score: 47.5

Last Week: No. 4

The Numbers Say: Vegas, the human polls and analytics all have the Aggies just outside the Playoff, but the nation’s No. 2 offensive efficiency and a solid scoring defense boost Texas A&M for now.

Bottom Line: Rice scored just 10 points despite gaining nearly 500 yards on A&M this week. Texas A&M is unlikely to slip Saturday, but the defensive numbers should wane as the season progresses.

Next Up: at SMU.

4. Oklahoma

Score: 48.5

Last: No. 2

The Numbers Say: The Sooners have a slightly worse overall efficiency than Texas A&M, but Oklahoma also misses out because Texas A&M already has won a conference game.

Bottom Line: As soon as Oklahoma gets into conference play, the Sooners should look even stronger in our Playoff predictor.

Next Up: at West Virginia.


These teams are the last ones cut by that (crazy?) College Football Playoff Committee. If the season ended today.

5. Auburn

Score: 58

Last: No. 5

The Numbers Say: The Tigers get a slight boost for having already won a conference game, but the team’s analytics and the nation’s 39th-ranked defensive efficiency keep Gus Malzahn’s team out of the Playoff for now.

Bottom Line: Auburn still has to navigate an SEC West that features four other Top 10 teams right now.

Next Up: at Kansas State (Thursday).

6. Florida State

Score: 64.5

Last: No. 11

The Numbers Say: The Seminoles rank 71st in defensive efficiency, otherwise FSU already would hold one of our Playoff spots..

Bottom Line: FSU needs to prove its defense can take some pressure off Jameis Winston, and this weekend is a great opportunity.

Next Up: vs. Clemson.

7. Baylor

Score: 67.5

Last: No. 7

The Numbers Say: The Bears have the best overall efficiency in the nation, but analytics don’t like this team all that much yet, with FEI ranking Baylor No. 24 in the country.

Bottom Line: Baylor will continue to rise if it wins, setting up a potential play-in type game against Oklahoma.

Next Up: at Buffalo.

8. LSU

Score: 69

Last: No. 6

The Numbers Say: LSU’s defensive efficiency ranks third in the country, but the 43rd-ranked defense holds back the Tigers. The polls and Vegas also rates LSU a bit outside the top four.

Bottom Line: See Auburn.

Next Up: vs. Mississippi State

9. Notre Dame

Score: 79

Last: No. 9

The Numbers Say: The Fighting Irish are consistent, ranking near the Top 10 nationally in nearly every category. Right now, Vegas and analytics give the team a slight downgrade.

Bottom Line: Notre Dame faces road games against two of our Top 10 in the second half of the season. It’s hard to see the Irish escaping unscathed.

Next Up: at Syracuse.

10. Ole Miss

Score: 79.5

Last: No. 12

The Numbers Say: The Rebels are the 15th-most likely team to win the national championship according to Vegas and also rank 15th in the Saragrin Ratings, which weights strength of schedule heavily.

Bottom Line: See Auburn and LSU.

Next Up: vs. Ole Miss.


Strong contenders unlikely to actually win anything.

11. Kansas State: 130
12. Ohio State: 131.5
13. Missouri: 137.5
14. Michigan State: 138
15. Arizona State: 138.5
16. Nebraska: 142
17. Stanford: 143
T18. UCLA: 146.5
T18. Wisconsin: 146.5
20. USC: 148.5
21. BYU: 150
22. Georgia: 153
23. Florida: 155.5
24. Clemson: 159
25. South Carolina: 164.5


Good enough to make a mediocre bowl game. Can you say San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl?

26. Mississippi State: 188
27. TCU: 192
28. Pitt: 196
29. Duke: 200.5
30. Arizona: 209.5
31. Louisville: 216
T32. Northern Illinois: 217
T32. Oklahoma State: 217
34. Washington: 219
35. Marshall: 224
36. Cincinnati: 225.5
37. Utah: 228
T38. Virginia Tech: 233.5
T38. Oregon State: 233.5
40. North Carolina: 235
41. Penn State: 243.5
42. Syracuse: 248.5
43. California: 251.5
44. Virginia: 253.5
45. North Carolina State: 255


The ceiling is limited, but they’re feisty.

46. West Virginia: 265
47. Arkansas: 276.5
48. Georgia Tech: 279
49. Iowa: 
50. Maryland: 282.5
51. Michigan: 284.5
52. Miami: 285.5
53. Tennessee: 301
54. Kentucky: 302.5
55. Boston College: 303.5


Only alive on paper.

Count: 6 of 128

Texas Tech


These teams will not get a College Football Playoff bid.

Count: 67 of 128

Air Force
Appalachian State
Arkansas State
Ball State
Boise State
Bowling Green
Central Florida
Central Michigan
Colorado State
East Carolina
Eastern Michigan
Florida Atlantic
Florida International
Fresno State
Georgia Southern
Georgia State
Iowa State
Kent State
Louisiana Tech
Miami (Ohio)
Middle Tennessee
New Mexico
New Mexico State
North Texas
Old Dominion
San Diego State
San Jose State
South Alabama
South Florida
Southern Methodist
Southern Miss
Texas-San Antonio
Texas State
Utah State
Wake Forest
Washington State
Western Kentucky
Western Michigan