North Carolina Tar Heels: Potential to Jump in Playoff Ratings

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Nov 28, 2015; Raleigh, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Larry Fedora smiles as he leaves the field after a victory over the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Carter Finley Stadium. North Carolina won 45-34. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The North Carolina Tar Heels need a win against Clemson to jump into the playoff. How realistic are their chances against the other teams above them in the rankings?

The North Carolina Tar Heels are looking at their first real chance at an ACC Championship since 1980. They have eleven wins in the regular season, with it being the first time since 1997 that the team had accomplished that. All that would be a satisfying season.

Yet now many people want more. The Tar Heels have reached the level that a win against Clemson puts them in the conversation for the college football playoff. Tar Heel fans would like to see them do that. People who root for chaos in college football or a bigger playoff field want them to do that. Steve Spurrier might even be pulling for them to do that.

As an aside, I have always supported the sixteen team playoff model. The problem is figuring the time it would take to achieve and what it might to do the regular season and bowl season schedules. It remains the best way to honor conference championships (through auto bids for each of ten conference winners) and then taking the next six at large teams should include all the real contenders.

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That day is either never coming or far in the future, so let’s look at the present College Football Playoff Rankings:

1. Clemson Tigers
2. Alabama Crimson Tide
3. Oklahoma Sooners
4. Iowa Hawkeyes
5. Michigan State Spartans
6. Ohio State Buckeyes
7. Stanford Cardinal
8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
9. Florida State Seminoles
10. North Carolina Tar Heels

By this estimation the Tar Heels need to climb over six teams to get into the playoff. Naturally this would presuppose an upset of Clemson in the title game.

So let’s look at each of the teams and see the probability of North Carolina jumping them with a victory over Clemson on Saturday.

Next: Florida State Seminoles