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College Football's Post-Week 14 Playoff Projection

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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.

Expert Panel

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 14 Playoff Projection

Rank

Team

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

Total

1

Alabama

16

4

1

0

0

0

0

0

162

2

Oregon

2

11

8

0

0

0

0

0

141

3

Florida State

3

6

11

1

0

0

0

0

137

4

TCU 

0

0

1

11

8

1

0

0

96

5

Baylor

0

0

0

9

7

5

0

0

88

6

Ohio State

0

0

0

0

6

15

0

0

69

7

Arizona

0

0

0

0

0

0

8

8

24

8

Mississippi State

0

0

0

0

0

0

7

6

20

9

Michigan State

0

0

0

0

0

0

4

6

14

10T

Wisconsin

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

2

10T

Missouri

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

2

12

Kansas State

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

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Takeaways From Expert Poll Results

* Alabama holds a sizeable lead for the No. 1 spot in the playoff projection. The Crimson Tide received 16 of the 21 first-place votes and ranked below second on just one ballot.

* Oregon passed Florida State by a small margin (four points) for the No. 2 spot. The Seminoles have more first-place votes (three) than the Ducks (two), but Oregon claimed 11 second-place rankings to edge Florida State.

* TCU dominated Texas on Thanksgiving, and that result swayed some of the voters to flip the Horned Frogs and Baylor. The Bears own a head-to-head win over TCU, but trail in Athlon’s playoff projection by eight points. Style points in Week 15 could be important.

* With a win over Arizona State, combined with UCLA’s loss to Stanford, Arizona jumped to No. 7 in this week’s poll. The Wildcats are still alive for a playoff spot if they beat Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship on Friday night.

* The battle to claim a playoff spot seems to be down to seven teams: Florida State, Oregon, TCU, Baylor, Ohio State and Arizona. Perhaps there’s a crazy scenario where another team could jump into the conversation with losses by all four of the top teams in this week’s poll, but the formula for the first playoff poll seems simple. If Alabama, Florida State and Oregon win this weekend, all three teams will be in. The fourth spot will be up for grabs between Baylor, Ohio State and TCU if the top three win in Week 15.

Group of 5 Rankings

1. Boise State

Record: 10-2

The Broncos are in the driver’s seat for the Group of 5 bowl spot in one of college football’s premier games. Boise State ranked No. 23 in last week’s playoff rankings and should move up after defeating Utah State last week. The Broncos host Fresno State in the Mountain West Championship on Saturday night.

2. Memphis
Record: 9-3

The Tigers clinched a share of the American Athletic Conference title with a victory over UConn last week. Memphis pounded UConn 41-10 in Week 14 and finished the regular season at 9-3 overall. Coach Justin Fuente’s team could claim the outright league title if UCF loses to East Carolina, leaving Memphis and Cincinnati (if it beats Houston) tied at 7-1 overall in conference games. The Tigers beat the Bearcats earlier this year.

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Next in Line: Cincinnati, UCF, Northern Illinois, Marshall

Games With Playoff/Bowl Implications in Week 15

UCF at East Carolina
7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN (Thursday)

Northern Illinois vs. Bowling Green (Detroit)
7 p.m. ET, ESPN2 (Friday)

Arizona vs. Oregon (Santa Clara)
9 p.m. ET, FOX (Friday)

Iowa State at TCU
Noon ET, ABC

Louisiana Tech at Marshall
Noon ET, ESPN2

Houston at Cincinnati
Noon ET, ESPN

Alabama vs. Missouri (Atlanta)
4 p.m. ET, CBS

Kansas State at Baylor
7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN

Florida State vs. Georgia Tech (Charlotte)
8 p.m. ET, ABC

Wisconsin vs. Ohio State (Indianapolis)
8:17 p.m. ET, FOX

Fresno State at Boise State
10 p.m. ET, CBS