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STATS’ College Football Watchability Ratings: Championship Week

By: Stats Perform

STATS’ predictive formula produces a unique rating that ranks the best college football games to watch every week

For the first time since 2010, the Big 12 will showcase a conference championship game when No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 10 TCU meet Saturday afternoon at AT&T Stadium. Bringing it back seemed like a great idea to help boost the Big 12’s chances to have a school reach the College Football Playoff – in theory, anyway.

There’s a real possibility the result of Saturday’s Big 12 title game could wind up keeping the conference out of CFP when no championship game likely would guarantee the Sooners a spot in the top four of the final rankings.

The Oklahoma-TCU matchup is just one at least four conference title games that will play a role in determining which teams wind up in the College Football Playoff during what is dubbed Championship Week. No one would blame you if you’re having a tough time deciding which games to watch.

STATS’ data experts have developed a proprietary model that gives a watchability score to every college football game in a given week. That rating is a combination of analytics, including the projected score of each game from a model that factors in team production, explosiveness and “cleanliness” of play – a metric that includes turnovers, among other data points.

Team production includes evaluations of run and pass efficiency, explosive plays (20+ yards) and the defensive ratings also involved with the aforementioned metrics. Watchability Rating takes that data combined with talent level of each team based on other various STATS models and is adjusted based on the projected final score to produce a value of watchability.

Essentially, the model takes some randomness out of choosing which game to view, making for less channel-flipping while relaxing at home or fewer maneuvers through a bar crowd to place yourself nearest the television broadcasting a certain contest.

Have a look at Championship Week’s Watchability Ratings from most- to least-watchable on a 1-10 rating scale:

Presumably, based on the latest College Football Playoff rankings, the top four games all with a Watchability Rating of at least 9.0 feature a win-and-you’re-in scenario.

Oklahoma should keep its spot by beating TCU, but the Horned Frogs – who lost 38-20 to the Sooners on Nov. 11 could complicate things. Top-ranked Clemson just has to avoid an ACC Championship game loss to Miami, which would be campaigning for its own inclusion in the CFP should it win and have only one loss.

Wisconsin would head into the CFP undefeated with a win over Ohio State in the Big Ten title game, although the Buckeyes would have their own case to shoot up the rankings by knocking off the Badgers. It’s much more simple in the SEC – the winner of Auburn-Georgia is in.

There likely will be plenty of channel-flipping between the late games when the ACC and Big 10 championships are going on simultaneously, especially because the Big 12 and SEC results will determine rooting interests for College Football Playoff hopefuls.

Friday’s Pac-12 title game between USC and Stanford should be entertaining despite not having any impact on the CFP. But if you’re looking for some cheap thrills, your best bet it to check out the de-facto Sun Belt championship game: Arkansas State hosting Troy in a battle of teams averaging nearly 1,000 yards in combined offense.