I just finished reading a fascinating article on www.vegasinsider.com regarding this year's College Football Playoff. Thought it was worth sharing with the community. It comes in two parts, and I've picked some key bullets to share, but it's definitely worth reading the whole thing. Some of these may be meaningless, some may have value. But his conclusions are intersting.
..this week's piece aims to help us find which one of those four programs will end up hoisting the trophy,...
For each of the points below, if it's a positive I placed a team in bold, if it's a negative it's in italics, if they were both (based on the two points) they're in bold italics.
Point #1: In the history of the CFB Playoff, every National Champion had at least 5 ATS losses
Point #2: The team with the best regular season ATS record has been the runner-up in each of the last three years, and four of the five seasons overall
2019: LSU: 8-5; Ohio State: 9-4; Clemson: 10-3; Oklahoma: 5-8 ATS
3rd Down Conversion Rate Percentage – Offense
Point #1: In each of the last two CFB Playoffs, and three of the last four, the team with the WORST 3rd down conversion rate percentage has won the title
Point #2: The team with the best 3rd down percentage has only won the national title once – Clemson in 2016
2019: LSU: 49.67; Ohio State: 56.97; Clemson: 47.30; Oklahoma: 49.24
3rd Down Conversion Rate Percentage – Defense
Point #1: Every National Champion in the CFB Playoff era has been either the best, or 2nd best in Opponent 3rd down conversion rate percentage
Point #2: The team with the better number in this category when we reach the title game has won four of five national championships – only outlier was in 2015
2019: LSU: 29.65; Ohio State: 28.65; Clemson: 30.60; Oklahoma: 31.61
Heisman Trophy Winners
Point #1: No Heisman winning QB has gone on to win the National Title, and playoff teams with the Heisman winner are 1-for-4 in terms of winning it all.
2019: Probable negative for LSU (Burrow). Potential Negative for OSU/OU (Fields/Hurts). Potential positive for OSU (Young)
Takeaways Per Game
Point #1: No team with a Takeaways per game number of 2.0 or greater has made the Title game in the last four years
Point #2: No team with a Takeaways per game number below 1.4 has ever made the Title Game
2019: LSU: 1.7; Ohio State: 1.9; Clemson: 2.2; Oklahoma: 0.7
Giveaways Per Game
Point #1: Team with the worst Giveaway per game margin has made the Title game in three of the past four years
Point #2: Three out of the five Playoffs have seen the team with the lowest Giveaway margin make it to the Title game; However, only one team with a sub-1.0 margin has won it all – 2017 Alabama
2019: LSU: 0.9; Ohio State: 1.1; Clemson: 1.2; Oklahoma: 1.5
Penalties Per Game
Point #1: The team with the fewest penalties per game has NEVER won the national title
2019: LSU: 6.2; Ohio State: 5.6; Clemson: 5.5; Oklahoma: 6.8
Penalty Yards Per Game
Point #1: The team with the fewest penalty yards per game has NEVER won the national title
Point #2: EVERY national champion has had between 45.6 and 59.6 penalty yards per game
2019: LSU: 59.5; Ohio State: 53.5; Clemson: 43.6; Oklahoma: 74.1
Positives For: LSU (4); Ohio State (3); Clemson (1); Oklahoma (2)
Negatives For: LSU (1, with 1 more likely); Ohio State (2); Clemson (6); Oklahoma (2)
(Note: some negatives/positives are counted twice, because the team hit both points in a topic.)
He admits that the CFP has a small sample size and that what previous teams did has nothing to do with this year's teams. But he set out with no preconceived notions so as to avoid any confirmation bias.
And given that if you've followed along with my “Upset Alerts” pieces all year long, you'll know how long my stubborn ass thought it was best to go against Ohio State week after week, there is some pain in saying this, but it is the Ohio State Buckeyes who are my pick to win it all.