The Huskies are projected back to the College Football Playoff in FiveThirtyEight's first predictions of the season.
Nate Silver and his site FiveThirtyEight released their first College Football Playoff projections of the season, and as Silver notes, it’s a wide-open field.
Twelve teams have double-digit odds of making the Playoff, according to the projections, but through five weeks, the Huskies’ 40-percent odds are fourth-best, putting them in the hypothetical Week 5 Playoffs. Alabama (66 percent), Clemson (55 percent) and Oklahoma (45 percent) came in ahead of UW.
FiveThirtyEight gave only one other Pac-12 team above 10 percent odds, USC — at 11 percent — not Washington State, which upset the Trojans in Pullman last week. The Cougars checked in with a 6 percent chance to make the Playoff, 14th-best.
The site’s methodology doesn’t so much predict the game outcomes (relying on ESPN’s Football Power Index) but rather the actions of the selection committee itself. It has correctly predicted 11 of the 12 playoff teams in its three-year existence (using its final projections). But with more than half the season left, it’s not a surprise to see no team with odds above 66 percent.
In its final projection of last season, Dec. 3, FiveThirtyEight gave UW more than 99 percent odds of making the playoff, Ohio State 93 percent, Alabama 92 percent and Clemson 80. Its first last season weren’t released until Oct. 31. With a top four of Clemson (74 percent), Alabama (72 percent), Michigan (61 percent) and Washington (49 percent), it hit on three of the four future College Football Playoff teams.
The first College Football Playoff rankings will be released Oct. 31. The selection show is set for Dec. 3.