Even though No. 11 TCU rose one spot in the latest College Football Playoff Rankings, the odds of the Horned Frogs sneaking into the final four still don’t look good.
Although, in a breakdown of the rankings on ESPN, analyst Kirk Herbstreit said he “wouldn’t be shocked” to see TCU receive serious playoff consideration from the selection committee if Gary Patterson’s team can take down No. 3 Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game at AT&T Stadium on Saturday.
According to the most recent fivethirtyeight.com prediction model, of the remaining teams that still have a chance of making the final four, TCU currently has the 10th best chance at a mere 7 percent. But, that number has the potential to increase depending on how the conference championship weekend plays out.
Per that same prediction model, TCU’s highest percentage of earning a playoff bid is 34 percent.
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So, what scenario gives the Horned Frogs the best chance to sneak into the top four when the final CFP rankings are announced on Sunday?
For starters, Patterson’s team will need to produce a convincing win over the third-ranked Sooners. At a minimum, a Big 12 conference title would vault TCU over No. 9 Penn State. That fivethirtyeight.com model currently lists the chances of TCU pulling off the mild upset at 37 percent.
Then, the Frogs are going to need a ton of help.
First, No. 7 Miami needs to defeat No. 1 Clemson in the ACC title game. In addition, No. 2 Auburn (10-2) must top No. 6 Georgia (11-1) in the SEC championship game and No. 8 Ohio State (10-2) will need to take down No. 4 Wisconsin (12-0) in the Big Ten title game.
A victory for No. 12 Stanford (9-3) over No. 10 USC (10-2) in the Pac-12 championship and a loss by No. 14 UCF (11-0) to No. 20 Memphis (10-1) in the American Athletic Conference title game would also slightly aid TCU’s chances.
According to that same fivethirtyeight.com model, if that best-case scenario plays out, the final playoff ranking would place one-loss Clemson, two-loss Auburn and two-loss Ohio State in the top-three playoff spots. The most likely team to claim that fourth and final spot would be No. 5 Alabama (10-1) at 40 percent, while TCU would be the next most likely team to earn the final bid at 34 percent.