How many teams can lose a game and, realistically, still end up making the College Football Playoff later this season?
According to ESPN's College Football Playoff predictor, that number is probably five.
ESPN's College Football Playoff predictor took a look at the College Football Playoff landscape and found that five teams can lose a game and still have a better than 50 percent chance at making it into the field.
Those five teams:
- Ohio State
The Crimson Tide have the best chances of making the College Football Playoff with a loss. The predictor gives Alabama a 78 percent chance of making it with a loss at Auburn.
A loss to Auburn opens up two opportunities to miss the playoff.
1. The Crimson Tide can miss out on an SEC West title.
2. The Crimson Tide can lose in the SEC championship game.
The first is not necessarily a death knell, as we've seen with Alabama before in that exact situation. The second almost certainly is, given that it would be the Tide's second loss and they wouldn't have a conference championship. FPI currently considers Alabama roughly a five-point favorite over Georgia on a neutral field at the moment, for what it's worth, in what could likely be an SEC championship game matchup.
In any event, neither of these scenarios is particularly likely to keep Alabama out. That's why the Tide are in a better position to survive a loss than anyone.
LSU, Auburn, Georgia and Ohio State all have better than 50 percent chances at making the College Football Playoff with a single loss, too.
You can view ESPN's full odds here.