When Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott recently proposed expanding the 2020 playoff field to eight teams, he also was proposing — in a way — to bring Texas back.
Because there is no team in the SEC, ACC, Big 12 or Big Ten that would have benefited more from an eight-team playoff field than the Longhorns, according to the Allstate Playoff Predictor. And it was not close.
To get these projections, we had to make a couple of assumptions. First, because the format of the eight-team selection is not known, we took a guess that it was the popular 5-2-1 proposal — meaning all five Power 5 conference champions, two at-large bids, and one Group of 5 champion.
Unfortunately, because the Pac-12 (and the MAC) have yet to release their full schedules, and this was put together before the Mountain West released its schedule on Thursday afternoon, we could not project their seasons. As a result, each of our simulations included an unknown “Pac-12 champion” in the playoff; teams from the Mountain West and MAC could not earn the Group of 5 playoff spot; and no Pac-12 teams were awarded any at-large bids. That’s just the cost of doing business without a schedule.
But enough details. Let’s get back to the projections.
Texas (probably) is going to the playoff!
As of Tuesday, the Longhorns have a 28% chance to reach the playoff. If the committee had elected to add four more playoff teams under the 5-2-1 format, Texas’ chances would have shot all the way up to 67%!
But everyone’s chances go up when there are eight teams, right?
Not like this. Texas’ increase of nearly 40 percentage points is more than double every Power 5 team.
So why is Texas so disproportionately affected? Because of the situation it