What the FPI and strength of record say about Oregon’s College Football Playoff chances

Oregon is currently the favorite to win college football’s national championship, but pundits are skeptical. What factors could be holding Oregon back?

The “oregon state fpi” is a metric that measures the strength of record. It is calculated by adding up the winning percentage for all games between two teams. The higher the number, the better chance Oregon State has at making it to the College Football Playoff.

Every Tuesday, when the College Football Playoff rankings are published, one choice stands out as almost unprecedented: where Oregon is ranked.

The Ducks are now ranked No. 3 in the country, an accolade bestowed upon them ostensibly in exchange for a victory against Ohio State, and one that puts them in a solid position to make the playoffs if they win out. However, Oregon’s ranking differs from the committee’s standards.

Though the playoff procedure requires the committee to choose the four “best” teams in college football, in actuality, the committee has chosen teams in the past based on a combination of “best” and “most worthy,” or, for our purposes today, team quality and achievement. The Ducks suit none of these descriptions.

The Ducks have the sixth best record in terms of achievement. Given Oregon’s schedule, a top-25 team would have a 49 percent probability of going at least 9-1, which is the Ducks’ record. In instance, the same average top-25 team would have a 33% probability of going 9-1 against Alabama’s schedule and a 40% chance against Oklahoma State’s. While Oregon’s schedule has been more challenging than Cincinnati’s, going 10-0 against the Bearcats’ slate (a 36 percent possibility) would be more difficult than going 9-1 against the Ducks’ slate. The benefit of SOR is that it enables us to compare teams with varying records on the same scale. Another advantage of the statistic is that it may include the full schedule rather than just the greatest victory or worst defeat. Oregon defeated Ohio State and received a SOR award for it, although all games count toward achievement.

When it comes to team quality, the Ducks’ resume only gets worse. They have the 18th-worst FPI rating of any team to ever receive a top-four place from the committee in any CFP rankings release. Iowa was put in the top four by the committee a couple of occasions in 2015 despite being ranked in the mid-20s by the FPI — but that Iowa club was also unbeaten at the time. If Oregon maintains its FPI ranking and makes the playoffs, it will be the poorest team to ever reach the CFP, according to the FPI. The current record is held by Michigan State, who finished 14th in 2015.

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Why is it that the Ducks are disliked by the FPI? After accounting for opponent quality, they just haven’t been as effective on a play-by-play basis as other teams. The Ducks are 17th in offensive efficiency and 30th in defensive efficiency, with a total efficiency ranking of 14th in all three phases of the game. With one-score victories against Fresno State, Cal, and UCLA under their belts, they are ranked 20th in points margin per game at +12.7.

The FPI isn’t alone in its mistrust of Oregon: the Ducks are presently 3-point underdogs at Caesars Sportsbook this weekend against 23rd-ranked Utah (the FPI makes it Utah by 4).

All of this is why Oregon, or at least its rating, has perplexed the Allstate Playoff Predictor, for want of a better phrase. It only gives the Ducks a 7% probability of making the playoffs, which is amazing considering their No. 3 ranking.

A significant portion of that figure is a pessimistic forecast: it gives Oregon a 14% probability of winning the Pac-12. Even if Oregon does this, the model still assigns the Ducks a 45 percent probability of reaching the CFP, owing to a projected strength of record rank of 3.3.

Even though the model takes current committee rankings into account, the 45 percent likelihood of reaching the CFP if Oregon wins out may be low. However, if it’s low, it’s because the Predictor is based mostly on historical committee behavior, which signals the Ducks aren’t as near to the playoffs as they seem to be.

The “oregon depth chart” is a list of the players and their positions on Oregon’s football team. The strength of record will give an idea about how good or bad the team is, based on past performance.

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