DALLAS, TX (September 11, 2017) – Just two weeks into the 2017 college football season and we’ve already had some major shake-ups in the chase for college football’s national championship. Among the major movement in the rankings following an exciting season-opening weekend was Florida State’s tumble after its loss to Alabama and, more consequential, the loss of its starting quarterback for the season. Then, Week 2 provided another blow to a heavily-favored playoff contender when the Oklahoma Sooners went into Columbus and had their way with Ohio State.
With the win Oklahoma vaulted from No. 6 in the Fan Plan Championship Index (“FPCI”) all the way to No. 2 with a 25.6% chance to make the national championship game. The Sooners stand behind only Alabama, which again sits atop the FPCI at No. 1 with a 34.5% chance to play in the national championship game, down just slightly from the previous week.
With big Week 2 wins against ranked opponents under their belts, USC and Clemson remained in the Top 4, reflective of the favorites to advance to the College Football Playoff. However, USC jumped to the No. 3 spot with a 22.4% chance to make the championship game, up nearly ten percentage points from a week ago, and Clemson dropped to No. 4, though the Tigers’ overall percentage rose slightly to 18.6%.
The top 10 is rounded out by Michigan (11.09%), Penn State (9.96%), Washington (9.71%), Louisville (8.37%), Ohio State (7.28%), and LSU (4.85%).
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Compiled weekly during the season, 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 real-time percent chance to make the national championship game — a dynamic metric that no other poll or ranking system measures.
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
IN AND OUT: Four teams are making their 2017 debuts in the FPCI this week, including some surprise entrants that are unranked in both the AP Top 25 and the Coaches Poll this week. Mississippi State (2.92% chance to play in the national championship game) makes its first appearance in the FPCI at No. 14 overall, taking advantage of losses by Auburn and Arkansas in the SEC, along with the fact that Ole Miss is unable to play for the conference title this season. The Bulldogs, whose Fan Plan this week is $36.50, received votes in both human polls this week but have yet to be ranked. They will face a stiff test this coming week when they host the No. 10 LSU Tigers (4.85% chance to make the championship game, $60.63) in both teams’ first SEC clash of the season.
Two other schools are ranked in the FPCI this week without being ranked by either human polls. Those teams are No. 18 Michigan State (2.03%, $25.38) and No. 25 Iowa (1.29%, $20.00), both out of the Big Ten. The Big Ten has six teams in the FPCI Top 25, including three in the Top 10 in Michigan, Penn State, and Ohio State. That conference appears to be the most unsettled at the top, as the loss by Ohio State opened up the door for a few more potential contenders.
And finally there is UCLA, which earned its spot in the FPCI at No. 24. The Bruins (1.34%, $20.00), ranked No. 25 in the AP Poll and unranked in the Coaches Poll, replaced Stanford as a Pac-12 representative in the FPCI this week. Stanford dropped out of the rankings after a loss to USC, while Notre Dame, Florida State, and Virginia Tech also fell out of the FPCI Top 25 for the week.
RANKING THE CONFERENCES: There were no changes in the FPCI conference strengths this week, as once again the SEC stood atop the conference standings thanks to Alabama’s overall strength. The SEC is followed by the Pac-12, Big Ten, and ACC as the top four conferences. For the second straight week the Big 12 is on the outside looking in despite Oklahoma’s huge out-of-conference victory over Ohio State, the former top team in the Big Ten. After Oklahoma, which comes in at No. 2 in this week’s FPCI, the Big 12 doesn’t have a ranked team until Oklahoma State at No. 11. All other Power 5 conferences have multiple teams in the FPCI Top 10, led by the Big Ten with three.
BREAKING DOWN THE CONFERENCES: In an era when winning your conference is almost a must in order to make it into the playoff field, the Pac-12 seems to have really separated itself as having a group of elite contenders, followed distantly by the rest of the pack. USC currently carries the highest percentage of any team in the Power 5 to win its conference, coming in at a 29.40% chance to win the Pac-12. The Trojans are followed closely by Washington which is at 24.19%. The two teams combine for a better than 50% chance to win the conference. Surprisingly, Oregon is next with a 11.59% chance to win the Pac-12, followed by Washington State and Colorado who are both at 6.07% and UCLA at 3.56%.
The largest spread from the favorite to the second-rated team in the conference comes from the SEC where Alabama is atop the ratings at 22.83%. The next team in the SEC is LSU at 13.78%, followed closely by Georgia at 13.65%.
The Big Ten seems to be the most wide open of any conference. Ohio State, despite having a lower chance than both Michigan and Penn State to advance to the national championship game, has a higher chance to win the Big Ten than do both of those teams ranked ahead of the Buckeyes. Ohio State still has a 23.25% chance to win the Big Ten according to the FPCI, but a 7.28% chance to play in the national championship game. Further, Wisconsin, which is on the opposite side of the conference standings than Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State, also has a better chance to win the Big Ten than Michigan and Penn State despite a much lower overall percent chance to play in the national championship game. Wisconsin has a 19.32% chance to win the Big Ten and a 3.96% chance to play for the national championship. Michigan comes in at a 17.19% chance to win the Big Ten, followed by Penn State at 14.66%.
The Oklahoma teams are dominating the Big 12 to no surprise. The Sooners have a 28.8% chance to win the conference, the second-highest percentage of any Power 5 team to win its conference, followed by Oklahoma State at 20.68%. The next Big 12 teams are Kansas State at 12.14% and TCU at 11.56%.
Clemson is currently the class of the ACC at a 20.71% chance to win the conference, followed by Louisville at 16.42%. Those two teams face each other this weekend in a huge early-season conference showdown. One of those teams will obviously lose, and that’s good news for Florida State, which is unranked in this week’s FPCI but still holds onto a 15.77% chance to win the ACC.
BEEN THERE BEFORE: If history is any indication, the Ohio State Buckeyes may be the best buy on the board this week after suffering a tough loss to Oklahoma. The Buckeyes fell from No. 2 in the FPCI to No. 9 with a 7.28% chance to play in the national championship game and a Fan Plan cost of just $72.80. However, it’s not like we haven’t heard this song before. Remember 2014 when the Buckeyes lost a Week 2 out-of-conference showdown at the ‘Shoe? That year it was against Virginia Tech, and guess who the QB was back then for Ohio State? That’s right, J.T. Barrett, who also struggled in that game as well, finishing just 9-for-29 throwing the football for 219 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. But 2014 was one of the seasons in the playoff era when a team that suffered a September home loss actually came back to claim the national crown. The other season was 2015 when the Alabama Crimson Tide lost at home in Week 3 to Ole Miss, only to rebound and win it all. So don’t count out the Buckeyes just yet. This might well be the cheapest their Fan Plan will be all season.
TOP FAN PLAN SELLERS: If the public sales of Fan Plans are any indication, we are setting up for an exciting playoff season. As of Sunday, the top selling team was Oklahoma. Other teams seeing brisk sales included Washington and USC out of the Pac-12, Alabama and Georgia from the SEC, Florida State from the ACC, and Ohio State and Michigan State from the Big 10. But as Fan Plan sales have proven, owning a Fan Plan is not all about who will be playing in the national championship game. It’s also about a source of pride and passion for their school for those buying them, as proven by Fan Plan purchases for teams such as Florida International, North Texas, Southern Miss, and Tulane. No matter what team you’re rooting for, owning a Fan Plan provides a little more excitement to the college football season.