ESPN Names The ‘Most Important’ Game For Week 1

first_imgA pylon with the SEC logo on it.ATLANTA, GA – DECEMBER 07: An ‘SEC’ logo is seen on an end zone pylon before the Missouri Tigers take on the Auburn Tigers during the SEC Championship Game at Georgia Dome on December 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)The 2018 college football season is a little more than three months away. Week 1 should be awesome.There are a number of high-profile games on tap right off the bat. Among them are Michigan-Notre Dame, Alabama-Louisville, LSU-Miami and Virginia Tech-Florida State.However, according to ESPN, none of those four are as crucial to the College Football Playoff race as Auburn-Washington.Today, the Worldwide Leader put out a Week 1 primer based on its Football Power Index (FPI). The computer says the Auburn-Washington matchup is the most important for the CFP.Here’s why:There’s plenty to play for in college football — bowls, conferences, rivalries — but when we strip it down, this is what matters the most, right? A ticket to the playoff and a shot at a championship. Neither team in this game reached the playoff last season, but based on our FPI projections both are immediate contenders to get there this season — especially with a win in this neutral-site game. By our adjusted leverage metric — which considers each team’s chance of earning a top-four strength of record depending on the result of their game and how likely that result is — no game in Week 1 matters more to the playoff race than this one. In fact, it’s the third-most important game for the playoff race in the entire season and it’s a coin flip — FPI gives each team a 50 percent shot to win.If Washington wins the game, it would have a 51 percent chance to have a top-four SOR (our playoff proxy), while Auburn would have a 35 percent chance with a win.Now, we haven’t crunched the numbers like ESPN has, but Michigan-Notre Dame is also a strong contender for most important Week 1 game. Notre Dame could really use a resume booster right off the bat, particularly since the Irish don’t belong to a conference.Michigan, meanwhile, could lose to Notre Dame and still make the playoff. But it would have to run the table after Week 1 and that’s really tough when you have to play at Michigan State and Ohio State and also host Penn State.Auburn and Washington will face off at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Sept. 1.last_img

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