Athlon projects the CFB playoff.
College football’s playoff committee has released four sets of rankings, and the debate about the top four teams will continue every week until the final matchups are released. While the top 25 rankings are expected to change each week and will look drastically different from the release of the first poll to the last one, the playoff committee's poll provided some insight into the process.
Each week, Athlon Sports hopes to replicate the playoff committee’s work by asking some of college football’s top media members to vote on their top eight teams. This poll will attempt to project how the playoff picture stacks up after each week until the end of the year.
Bobby Bowden (@TheBobbyBowden), Legends Poll
Gene Stallings, (@LegendsPoll), Legends Poll
Don Nehlen (@LegendsPoll), Legends Poll
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven), Athlon Sports
Braden Gall (@BradenGall), Athlon Sports
Zac Ellis (@ZacEllis), Sports Illustrated
David Fox (@DavidFox615), Athlon Sports
Mark Ennis (@MarkEnnis), CardChronicle.com
Teddy Mitrosilis (@TMitrosilis), Fox Sports
Steven Godfrey (@38Godfrey), SBNation.com
Matt Brown (@MattBrownCFB), SportsonEarth.com
Rich Cirminiello (@RichCirminiello), Campus Insiders
Brad Crawford (@BCrawfordSDS), SaturdayDownSouth.com
Allen Kenney (@BlatantHomerism), BlatantHomerism.com
Chris Anderson (@CMAnderson247), Eersports.com
Kyle Kensing (@kensing45), CFBHuddle.com
Adam Powell (@ACCSports), ACCSports.com
Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch) Athlon Sports
Josh Ward (@Josh_Ward), MrSEC.com
Kevin McGuire (@KevinonCFB), CollegeFootballTalk.com
Mark Ross (@AthlonMarkR), Athlon Sports
Post-Week 13 Playoff Projection
Takeaways From Expert Poll Results
* Alabama remains the No. 1 team in the playoff projection after taking the top spot following the Week 12 win over Mississippi State.
* The gap between Florida State and Oregon decreased from 18 points to six this week. The Seminoles received six first-place votes compared to one for the Ducks.
* Mississippi State is ahead of Baylor and TCU for the last spot by a comfortable margin (20 points).
* Barring an upset, the top four teams in this projection – Alabama, Florida State, Oregon and Mississippi State – are in good shape to earn a playoff bid. The Bulldogs could be pushed by Baylor, TCU or Ohio State for that last spot, but assuming coach Dan Mullen’s team beats Ole Miss and finishes 11-1, Mississippi State seems to have the inside track for the No. 4 ranking.
* UCLA jumps two spots to No. 8 in the rankings after beating USC. The Bruins are a longshot to make the playoffs, but coach Jim Mora’s team would have an interesting case for a bid if it wins out – including a matchup against Oregon in the Pac-12 title.
* Missouri makes an appearance in the poll, but the Tigers need a lot of breaks to jump into the discussion for a playoff spot. Coach Gary Pinkel’s team can clinch the SEC East with a win over Arkansas this Friday.
Group of 5 Rankings
Remaining Schedule: Western Kentucky (Nov. 28)
The Thundering Herd survived an upset bid at UAB and holds a slight edge over Boise State for the No. 1 spot in the Group of 5 rankings.
2. Boise State
Remaining Schedule: Utah State (Nov. 29)
With Marshall’s narrow win at UAB, the gap between the Thundering Herd and Boise State is closing. The Broncos crushed Wyoming 63-14 to improve to 9-2 and host a solid Utah State team this Saturday.
3. Colorado State
Remaining Schedule: at Air Force (Nov. 28)
A late-season bye week helped quarterback Garrett Grayson and receiver Rashard Higgins return to full strength, and the Rams easily handled New Mexico 58-20 on Saturday. Colorado State needs a win on the road over Air Force and have Utah State beat Boise State on Saturday to play for the Mountain West title.
Remaining Schedule: UConn (Nov. 29)
The Tigers claimed their fifth victory in a row with a 31-20 win over USF on Saturday. Three teams in the American Athletic Conference have one loss in conference play, and Memphis closes out its league slate with a home date against UConn on Saturday. If the Tigers win and UCF loses at USF or East Carolina, Memphis would own the head-to-head tiebreaker over Cincinnati for the league crown.
Remaining Schedule: at Temple (Nov. 29), Houston (Dec. 6)
The Bearcats soundly defeated UConn 41-0 last week to keep pace with Memphis and UCF in the American Athletic Conference. Cincinnati is a longshot to gain the Group of 5 bowl spot, but coach Tommy Tuberville’s team can finish with a 9-3 record and improve its bowl positioning over the last two weeks.
Games With Playoff/Bowl Implications in Week 14
TCU at Texas
7:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1 (Thursday)
LSU at Texas A&M
7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN (Thursday)
Northern Illinois at Western Michigan
11 a.m. ET, ESPNU (Friday)
Western Kentucky at Marshall
Noon ET, Fox Sports 1 (Friday)
Arkansas at Missouri
2:30 p.m. ET, CBS (Friday)
Stanford at UCLA
3:30 p.m. ET, ABC (Friday)
Arizona State at Arizona
3:30 p.m. ET, FOX (Friday)
Michigan at Ohio State
Noon ET, ABC
Georgia Tech at Georgia
Noon ET, SEC Network
South Carolina at Clemson
Noon ET, ESPN
Florida at Florida State
3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Mississippi State at Ole Miss
3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Minnesota at Wisconsin
3:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
Notre Dame at USC
3:30 p.m. ET, FOX
Auburn at Alabama
7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN
Oregon at Oregon State
8 p.m. ET, ABC
Utah State at Boise State
10:15 p.m., ESPN2