It’s been 20 years since Michigan football last won the national championship.
It’ll be at least one more year before the Wolverines do it again, at least according to one, highly acclaimed prognosticator.
Nate Silver of the website FiveThirtyEight on Thursday released his predictions to make the College Football Playoff. And not only is Michigan not in his top four, it’s not even in his top 10. Silver has Michigan 15th, with less than a 1 percent chance of winning the national championship.
Silver, an East Lansing native who made his name predicting presidential elections — in 2012, he correctly called all 50 states, and in 2016, he was one of a few analysts sounding the alarm that Donald Trump had a legitimate chance — ranks Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma and Washington as his top four, with Alabama the best bet to win it all, at 27 percent.
Also listed ahead of Michigan are: Wisconsin, Georgia, Ohio State, Penn State, TCU, Miami, Southern Cal, Auburn, Oklahoma State and Washington State.
Silver’s analytical model includes record, strength of schedule, conference championship won and head-to-head results, as well as formulas from other outlets, such as ESPN’s Football Power Index and the College Football Playoff selection committee’s past selections as a barometer.
Michigan is 4-0 entering Saturday night’s home game against 3-1 Michigan State. Looming on the schedule are Penn State, Wisconsin and Ohio State. Michigan has a signature victory, over Florida in the season opener. Florida is listed seven slots below Michigan on Silver’s chart.
The first College Football Playoff rankings will be released Oct. 31. Michigan is No. 7 in the latest Associated Press and coaches’ polls.
Silver’s FiveThirtyEight began as a blog with The New York Times, but he sold it to ESPN in 2013 as a mix of sports and politics.