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Accuscore’s Top 20 at the end of the college football season

College football will kick off full speed on Thursday. Preseason rankings are in place, but which teams will be top of the list when the regular season wraps up in November? Accuscore has simulated all Division-1A games 10,000 times each to determine which teams are projected to finish in the Top 20 before the Bowl Season kicks off.

College football is not as straightforward as NFL or other professional leagues when win totals lead directly to playoff qualification and seeding. As there is a notable qualitative component involved in playoff team decisions, simulations don't give the exact answers right away. However, some guidelines can be seen from the season simulations and each team's projected number of wins helps paint the picture.

Below you can see Accuscores Top 20 after 12 regular season games:

2019 College Football Top 25 Projections

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The top 4 teams are the same as current preseason predictions, but Oklahoma is projected to finish number three. This is very subjective prediction as both teams are predicted to have 11 wins, but Georgia’s number might be a bit lower as they face tough opponents like Florida, Missouri and Auburn. Oklahoma’s most probable loss comes from the game against Texas or West Virginia.

After the top teams, there are some surprise teams getting a possible look at the playoffs. Notre Dame wants to return to the playoffs and UCF wants to prove that an unbeaten record should be enough for a playoff berth this time around. But Penn State and especially Fresno State are not the most popular picks for the postseason. They have a high probability to finish in the top 10, but a playoff berth requires some sub-par performances from the teams ahead of them.

Both Iowa and Utah State are teams that AccuScore projects will finish with higher win totals than the Vegas line currently shows. Iowa has a tough schedule, but simulations like their chances against opponents that are currently sitting in high slots. Meanwhile, Utah State lost only two games last year, and predictions show they have chances to improve to an 11-win team. This would require wins against two of these three opponents: LSU, Fresno St and Boise St.

Appalachian State is another wild card in this rankings. They won 10 games a year ago and their schedule looks quite favorable, as they are not facing a single ranked teams based on current rankings. The flip side of the coin is that they're not scoring any points on strength of schedule.

Some currently higher ranked teams will have a hard time staying near the top, according to AccuScore. Based on simulations, LSU, Michigan and Florida won’t reach the high win totals Vegas and pollsters are currently projecting. Texas A&M has an even wobblier road to the playoffs. AccuScore predictions show that they might have a hard time staying in top 25, as facing three out of the top four teams in a country is too much for the Aggies this time.

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