The BCS championship picture cleared up a bit when Oregon fell to Stanford last week. Alabama and Florida State have firmly established themselves at the top of the polls and computer ratings, and if both take care of business down the stretch, they'll play for the BCS title in January.
Our opponent-adjusted, drive-based FEI ratings suggest that is a strong likelihood, but not a sure thing. With most of their toughest competition already in the rearview mirror, there is a 58 percent chance that both Alabama and Florida State will win the remainder of their games.
It is even more likely that we will have three or more undefeated teams at the end of the year. Currently Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State, Baylor, Fresno State and Northern Illinois are undefeated. The likelihood that at least three of those six teams will remain undefeated through the end of the regular season is 84 percent. The Crimson Tide, Seminoles, Buckeyes and Bears are all ranked in the top five of the BCS standings, and there is a 59 percent likelihood that at least three in that group will remain undefeated through the regular season.
As the final weeks play out, arguments over schedule strength and the relative merits of these contenders will ramp up to a fever pitch. We wanted to know what would happen if they swapped schedules.
To do so, we calculated win likelihoods of each of the six undefeated teams against their own schedule and the schedules of the other five, adjusting for performance to date. For example, the formula says Florida State should have 8.5 wins against its schedule to date, and because the Seminoles actually have a full nine wins, we gave them the additional 0.5 win performance bump in each of the other scenarios below.
Note: The postponed game against Colorado was included in the Fresno State schedule for the purposes of this projection model.