This may be an odd pill for you Red State folks to swallow, but Nate Silver is starting to like Ole Miss’s chances of making the college football championship series.
You heard that right. Apparently, if you use “being in the top four at the end” as a stand in for “making the championship series,” it is week 5 standings that starts to meaningfully predict final standings. Here’s what he said:
Up until Week 5 of the college football season, the schools on the periphery of the AP’s Top 4 typically have a slightly lower probability of finishing the year among the (now-coveted) top quartet of teams than those currently occupying those slots. Starting in Week 6 — and accelerating in Weeks 7-9, the current stage of the 2014 campaign — the teams in the top four slots begin to pull away from the rest of the pack, increasing their probability of ending the regular season among the “Final Four.”
That’s good news for Florida State, Auburn, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss, each of which found themselves sitting in the AP’s Top 4 after the dust cleared on this past weekend’s wild spate of upsets. Teams that survive midseason aren’t completely in the clear — historically, there’s still about a two-in-five chance that one of the teams in the existing Top 4 falls out after Week 9 — but teams in that position are significantly more assured of being “in” now than they were just two weeks ago.
After week 5, it looks according to his graph, a team in the top four is running almost a 40% shot of being in the top four at the end. After two more wins, it becomes an almost 50% shot.
Let’s beat Texas A&M and take this a step at a time.