Breaking down the Power 5 races

There is no question Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks will run away with the Pac-12. Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images

The College Football Playoff selection committee will emphasize conference championships as a factor in selecting its four playoff teams. Eight weeks into the season, what teams are in control of their conference races, and which ones are best positioned to take home a conference title?

In a "man vs computer" breakdown, we will use ESPN's Football Power Index and the takes of various conference reporters to handicap the races in the five power conferences.


FPI's Title Forecast: Florida State (75 percent), Duke (8 percent), Clemson (6 percent), Pittsburgh (5 percent)

FPI: This is an easy one for FPI -- Florida State is seventh in FPI, and the only other ACC team ranked in the top 30 is Clemson, a team the Seminoles beat on Sept. 20. FPI projects that Florida State has a 47 percent chance to win its remaining conference games and a 91 percent chance to win the ACC Atlantic Division. Duke is the most likely representative in the conference championship game from the ACC Coastal (41 percent chance), and Florida State is two touchdowns better than the Blue Devils on a neutral field, according to FPI.

Katz: As much as Florida State has looked like a shell of its 2013 self, it is likely the Seminoles will win the ACC. This is more an indictment of the state of the ACC than the strength of Florida State. If there was one potential stumbling block, however, it is a week from Thursday at Louisville. The Cardinals have a formidable defense (third in defensive efficiency) and have a chance to upset the Seminoles at home. At this point, though, it seems unlikely that any other team will win the ACC -- a stance FPI supports with its projection of FSU being the most likely Power 5 team to win its conference.