DALLAS (September 5, 2017) — The Alabama Crimson Tide remained in the top spot on the Fan Plan Championship Index (“FPCI”) this week, rising even higher after an impressive win over the Florida State Seminoles. The Crimson Tide enters Week 2 of the season with a 35.84 percent chance to make the national championship game, improving nearly 11 percentage points over its chances from a week ago.
Compiled weekly during the season by Fan Plan, the FPCI is a proprietary analytical look at the current state of the chase for college football’s national championship. As opposed to traditional polls and rankings which purport to rank the best teams at a particular point in the season, the FPCI aims to rate college football teams by their percent chance to make the national championship game — a dynamic metric that no other poll or ranking system measures.
The other three teams in the FPCI top four and, thus, currently projected to make the playoffs are Ohio State (27.38 percent to make the championship game), Clemson (15.25 percent) and USC (14.65 percent).
The top 10 is rounded out by Michigan (11.09 percent), Oklahoma (8.37 percent), Wisconsin (8.27 percent), LSU (7.18 percent Penn State (6.49 percent), and Washington (6.49 percent).
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The FPCI also includes the cost of a Fan Plan for each team. A Fan Plan is a one-of-a-kind indemnity product fans can purchase for their favorite team. If that team goes to the national championship game, Fan Plan pays for the fan’s game tickets and travel costs, up to the total coverage value of the Fan Plan. Each Fan Plan has a $1,000 coverage value and fans can buy additional coverage in $1,000 increments, up to $10,000 in total coverage. Fan Plan costs are dynamic and change based on each team’s real-time odds of making the championship game. The FPCI and Fan Plan pricing are based on season simulations that take into account a team’s wins and losses, opponents’ results, suspensions, weather, SOS, and other data points and projections.
FAN PLAN CHAMPIONSHIP INDEX NEWS & NOTES
ALABAMA’S BIG JUMP: Alabama remained atop the FPCI for the second straight week, but the Crimson Tide jumped a monumental 10+ points in its percentage to make the championship game. Alabama currently has a 35 percent chance to play in the national championship game, outdistancing itself from second place Ohio State by more than eight percentage points.
But this huge jump had less to do with Alabama’s dominant win over Florida State on Saturday (though that certainly didn’t hurt) than it did with the circumstances around Alabama’s potential foes from the SEC East. Should Alabama march through the regular season schedule and end up again in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta, the potential opponents in that game showed some definite chinks in their armor in Week 1. Florida, the East representative in the past two seasons, seems to be still immersed in what is now a three-year process to find a decent offensive attack. Georgia, picked by many to be the heir-apparent in the East, lost its starting quarterback to a knee injury and will have to play a significant part of the schedule with a true freshman for the second straight year. And the Tennessee Vols did nothing to make people think they could beat Bama for the SEC championship during their lackluster performance in an overtime win over Georgia Tech. Overall, even the things that Alabama cannot control seem to be lining up the Tide’s way early in the season.
SOLD OUT: Alabama and Ohio State, the two prohibitive favorites to advance to the national championship game, sold out all available Fan Plans during the company’s 2017 launch weekend. Fan Plan sold Plans for all teams for $50 during Labor Day Weekend and enjoyed a huge weekend of sales, with, predictably, the largest rush coming from fan bases of the two favorites, both of which understand how expensive it can be to pay for trips to the national championship game.
Starting on Tuesday, Fan Plans reverted to their standard pricing model, which is based on each team’s chances to make it to the national championship game, along with other risk modeling that includes the number of Fan Plans in the market. Additional Alabama and Ohio State Fan Plans have been made available for sale, but the number of Fan Plans for those schools remains limited.
EARLY QUARTERBACK INJURIES SHAKE UP PLAYOFF RACE: As mentioned, Georgia, an intriguing pick by many to win the SEC East to set up a winner-takes-all game against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, seemed set to take the mantle from Florida as the king of the eastern side of the conference. The Bulldogs returned a potential future star at quarterback in Jacob Eason and entered the season with just three ranked opponents on their regular season schedule. However, things got complicated quickly on Saturday as Eason didn’t even make it out of the first quarter of the Bulldogs’ season opener before leaving with a knee injury. He will now miss a number of games, including this weekend’s clash against Notre Dame, forcing Georgia to, for the second straight season, have to navigate the schedule for at least the time being with a true freshman under center. Georgia was poised to take a major jump in the FPCI standings due to Florida’s loss and Tennessee’s struggles, but with Eason’s injury, the Bulldogs only rose from a 2.13 percent chance of making the championship game entering the season to their current percentage of 2.33 percent, thanks mostly to the Eason injury and the uncertainty of having to turn to a freshman quarterback who was not expected to play and did not get significant first-team snaps during the summer or fall camps.
One team Georgia will not receive any sympathy from is the Florida State Seminoles who may have seen their significant national championship hopes dashed during a freak fourth quarter injury to Deondre Francois, who will miss the rest of the season with a torn patellar tendon in his left knee. That injury forces the Seminoles to turn to freshman James Blackman. Their other two options — another freshman and a “veteran” QB who threw only nine passes last season but who was bypassed on the depth chart by two freshmen this fall. The Seminoles fell the most in the FPCI this week, dropping from No. 3 overall with a 9.33 percent chance to play in the national championship game to No. 23 with a 1.78 percent chance to play in the national championship game.
Finally there was Texas A&M. While not necessarily a national championship contender, the Aggies did look formidable early on in what started out as a blowout on the road at UCLA. They certainly looked like a team that could give some problems to their SEC foes, but then they lost QB Nick Starkel with a broken ankle. Freshman Kellen Mond came in, and well, we know the rest of that story. Texas A&M dropped significantly in the championship race, falling from a 1.19 percent chance to play in the national championship game to a miniscule 0.3 percent chance. More importantly, however, the Aggies became one fewer obstacle on the schedule for the top tier of the SEC West, namely Alabama, Auburn, and LSU.
NEW QBS MAKE NEW TEAMS CONTENDERS: Speaking of quarterbacks, not all of the Week 1 news was bad. It’s a pretty good assumption that having to play a new quarterback means a bit of a step back, even for the best programs. However, that may not be the case for three title contenders, especially after the performances of their new QBs in Week 1.
Auburn and new QB Jarrett Stidham opened the season with a workmanlike 41-7 win over Georgia Southern. In his first action in almost two years, Stidham showed there was still room for improvement, but overall led the Auburn offense and provided hope to Tigers fans that this could be a year where Auburn could indeed compete for the conference crown. Stidham completed 14-of-25 passes in the game for 185 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Certainly he will have to be much better than that this weekend against No. 3 Clemson, but for the first time since Cam Newton, there is optimism at the QB position on The Plains. With the win Auburn now stands at a 5.54 percent chance to play in the national championship game, which is the 11th-best percentage in the country and the third-best among SEC teams. Auburn also has a 10.31 percent chance to win the SEC entering the second week of the season.
Speaking of Clemson, Week 2 will feature a battle of two first-year quarterbacks when the Tigers of Auburn tangle with the Tigers of Clemson. No one would have been surprised or disappointed if the defending national champions would have taken a small step back after losing a player like Deshaun Watson to the NFL. However, Watson’s former protegee Kelly Bryant looked like a Watson-clone in a dismantling of Kent State. In his debut Bryant broke Tajh Boyd’s Clemson record for a season opener with 313 total yards of offense, which included 77 on the ground and 236 through the air. With Deondre Francois going down, Clemson vaulted to the clear-cut favorites to win the ACC and advance to the playoffs. The Tigers also rose in the FPCI to No. 3 overall with a 15.25 percent chance to advance to the national championship game for what would be the third straight year.
But if Bryant happens to falter, there is another first-year QB waiting in the wings in the ACC. His name is Josh Jackson, and the redshirt freshman is the latest star pupil of quarterback whisperer Justin Fuentes. With their statement win over West Virginia, who also started a first-year QB in Will Grier, the Hokies may have secured the favorites role in the ACC Coastal Division. Virginia Tech still faces Clemson in the regular season, but a loss to the Tigers doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be a rematch in December with Jackson having a full season under his belt. But for now, Virginia Tech will continue to lurk in the longshot contender category with a 2.28 percent chance to advance to the national championship game but they shouldn’t be fully dismissed from playoff contention just yet.
ACC RACE OPENS UP: With the discussed injury to Florida State’s Deondre Francois, one of the heavy favorites to advance to the national championship game looks to be on the outside looking in. That’s huge news for the rest of the ACC who can now legitimately turn what would have been a very likely loss into a potential win. Among those now playoff hopeful schools who now have one giant to slay instead of two are teams like Louisville, Virginia Tech, and even Miami. Clemson now has the huge inside track to the playoffs, and in this week’s FPCI the Tigers are listed with a 21.07 percent chance to win the ACC. Louisville, despite having some defensive struggles, ranks No. 12 overall with a 12.68 percent chance to win the conference, while Virginia Tech comes in at No. 18 with an 11.14 percent chance. Florida State, despite the injury, is still listed with a 16.68 percent chance to win the ACC, while Miami jumps a little closer into contention with an 8.5 percent chance to win the ACC.
RANKING THE CONFERENCES: For the second consecutive week, the SEC continues its grip on first place among the conferences. The conference ratings are extremely important when it comes to determining which teams ultimately advance to the playoffs and, thus qualify for the national championship game. This week’s FPCI lists the SEC as the No. 1 conference in America with a 0.6971 rating, up from its rating of 0.6886 in Week 1. The Pac-12 is securely in second place with a 0.6625 rating, bettering the Big Ten, which is at 0.5629 this week. The Big Ten is up two spots to No. 3 this week, ahead of the ACC, which is No. 4, and the Big 12, which is fifth this week. The Big 12 fell two spots after previously being ranked No. 3 last week. The American Athletic Conference comes in at No. 6 in this week’s FPCI conference rankings.
FPCI MAKES SUCCESSFUL DEBUT: The Fan Plan Championship Index acquitted itself quite well in its first weekend of college football action. A proprietary innovative look at the current state of the chase for the college football national championship, the FPCI ranks teams based on their percentage to make the national championship game. The FPCI also simulates every game of the season thousands of times each week to determine a team’s projected record and projected scores for each game, among a host of other informative data.
The FPCI projected the correct outcome of 79 of the 87 games in which FBS teams played during Week 1 of the season. In four swing games for which the FPCI projected a different winner than did Las Vegas, the FPCI was 2-2 in those games, correctly picking Coastal Carolina over UMass and Boston College over Northern Illinois. Further, in the other two games where the FPCI disagreed with Vegas, the FPCI was on the right side of the Vegas spread on one of those games (the FPCI projected Texas A&M to beat UCLA, but Vegas had the Bruins at -4). The fourth game came down to the final play before a winner was determined, as Virginia Tech (Vegas -5) held on to beat West Virginia (FPCI pick’em with a projected score of 25.6 – 25.5).
But not only does the FPCI project overall records, conference records, and individual game winners, it also provides a predicted score for every game, and in some cases during Week 1 the FPCI was stunningly accurate. In that Boston College – Northern Illinois game, the FPCI projected a 24-22 BC win. The final score was 23-20. The FPCI projected Syracuse to beat Central Connecticut 50-8. The final score was 50-7. The FPCI projected Oklahoma to beat UTEP 56-11 (actual 56-7), Tulane to beat Grambling 40-16 (actual 43-14), TCU to beat Jackson State 59-0 (actual 63-0), Georgia to beat Appalachian State 32-16 (actual 31-10), Central Carolina to beat UMass 36-29 (actual 38-28), Ole Miss to beat South Alabama 46-16 (actual 47-27), LSU to beat BYU 27-10 (actual 27-0), and Michigan to beat Florida 26-16 (actual 33-17).