In a 2022 podcast, I discussed something called our playoff potential rating.

This metric combines a team’s overall TRACR rating with its record. Adding TRACR (Team Rating Adjusted for Conference and Roster) helps evaluate how the rest of the season might pan out for every team.

The idea is this – suppose the best team in the nation played every other team’s schedule. How often would the best team match or exceed the other team’s actual record?

Let’s say Georgia ranks No. 1 in the nation, per TRACR. What if, instead of playing its own schedule, Georgia played Penn State’s slate? If we simulate the Bulldogs playing Purdue on the road, Ohio, Auburn, etc., how often would they end up with what we project Penn State’s record to be?

Our playoff potential rating suggests that only teams that have really impressed should make it to the CFP. Having two losses while other teams have zero or one will not be good enough. As many know, no two-loss team has ever made it to the playoff.

Teams with a rating of 40-60 are most likely teams with two or three losses that would not make it, barring total chaos (i.e. every team ahead of them somehow losing out). Teams with a rating of 61-80 would also not be included unless there is a little chaos. Teams with a rating of 80-90 have playoff potential, but would likely need to win out and have one team ahead of them fall.

Teams at 90 or above (max 100) should be the main teams considered for the playoff. Here’s an example from the 2022 season:

highest playoff potential rating

See the massive difference between TCU (No. 9 in TRACR) and Kansas State (No. 6)? This makes it clear that in this case, TRACR believes that only six teams should be even in consideration.

Embrace chaos and support madness. Most importantly, enjoy the ride.