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College Football's Post-Week 5 Playoff Projection

Blake Sims

Blake Sims

The new college football playoff format has added even more intrigue to the 2014 season. Instead of figuring out the top two teams in early December, the focus has shifted to finding four teams to play in the first FBS postseason playoff format.

To help select the four playoff teams, a 13-person committee was picked, which includes names like Barry Alvarez, Oliver Luck, Pat Haden and Jeff Long, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former coach Tyrone Willingham.

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. The official playoff committee will release its rankings starting on Oct. 28, but this poll will attempt to project how the playoff picture stacks up after each week until the end of the year.

Expert Panel

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven), Athlon Sports
Bobby Bowden (@TheBobbyBowden), Legends Poll
Braden Gall (@BradenGall), Athlon Sports
Gene Stallings, (@LegendsPoll), Legends Poll
Don Nehlen (@LegendsPoll), Legends Poll
Zac Ellis (@ZacEllis), Sports Illustrated
David Fox (@DavidFox615), Athlon Sports
Mark Ennis (@MarkEnnis), CardChronicle.com
Teddy Mitrosilis (@TMitrosilis), Fox Sports

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
Kevin McGuire (@KevinonCFB), CollegeFootballTalk.com
Mark Ross (@AthlonMarkR), Athlon Sports


Post-Week 5 Playoff Projection Results

Rank

Team

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

Total

1

Alabama 

8

6

1

3

0

1

0

0

130

2

Oklahoma 

7

4

3

4

1

0

0

0

126

3

Oregon 

1

3

9

5

1

0

0

0

112

4

Florida State 

2

5

5

2

4

0

1

0

109

5

Auburn 

0

1

1

4

8

2

2

1

76

6

Texas A&M 

0

0

0

1

3

6

5

1

46

7

Baylor 

0

0

0

0

2

4

6

1

33

8

UCLA 

1

0

0

0

0

2

3

3

23

9

Michigan State 

0

0

0

0

0

3

0

6

15

10T

Notre Dame 

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

4

4

10T

Stanford 

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

4

11T

Nebraska 

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

2

11T

Miss. State 

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

2

11T

Ole Miss     

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

2

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Takeaways from Expert Poll Results


* According to the voting panel, the top four teams are clear. Alabama, Oklahoma, Oregon and Florida State are a step above Auburn at No. 5. And there’s a 30-point gap from the Tigers to Texas A&M at No. 6.

* Alabama received eight of the 19 first-place votes. Oklahoma ranked second with seven first-place votes.

* Oregon has one of the best wins of the 2014 season (Michigan State) and accumulated only one first-place vote. The Ducks recorded three votes for No. 2 and nine for No. 3.

* Five of the 14 teams receiving votes are from the SEC. Three come from the Pac-12.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About the CFB Playoff

Group of 5 Rankings


(One team from the Group of 5 conferences - American Athletic, C-USA, MAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt - will play in one of college football's premier (New Year's Bowls) each season.

1. East Carolina
Record: 3-1
Key Wins: at Virginia Tech, North Carolina

Pirates are the clear frontrunner for the Group of 5 spot in one of college football’s premier bowl games. East Carolina may not be tested over the next three weeks (SMU, at USF and UConn), but October matchups against Cincinnati and Temple will be the toughest remaining games on the schedule – until the finale against UCF.

2. Cincinnati (2-1)
Key Wins: Toledo

Bearcats lost to Ohio State on Saturday and rank behind East Carolina due to its lack of wins against Power 5 teams. Has opportunity to climb with remaining games against Miami and East Carolina.

Related: Post-Week 5 Bowl Projections

3. Marshall (4-0)

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Key Wins: at Akron

Thundering Herd has favorable path to 12-0 regular season mark, but weak strength of schedule will hurt this team.

Key Results from Week 5


UCLA 62, Arizona State 27 (Thursday)
Best performance of the year by the Bruins.

Northwestern 29, Penn State 6
Longshot playoff hopes by Nittany Lions ended by Wildcats.

Georgia 35, Tennessee 32
Bulldogs avoid upset. SEC East title hopes improve with South Carolina loss.

Florida State 56, NC State 41
Seminoles avoid upset in Raleigh to remain unbeaten.

Texas A&M 35, Arkansas 28 (OT)
Aggies keep pace with Alabama and Auburn in SEC West.

Stanford 20, Washington 13
Cardinal avoids second Pac-12 loss with road win in Seattle.

Missouri 21, South Carolina 20
Tigers take a step forward in SEC East title race.

Air Force 28, Boise State 14
Broncos eliminated from contention for Group of 5 bowl spot?

Notre Dame 31, Syracuse 15
Fighting Irish remain unbeaten before showdown against Stanford.

Key Games With Playoff Implications in Week 6


Arizona at Oregon (Thursday)
One more tune-up for Ducks before showdown against UCLA next Saturday.

LSU at Auburn
An 0-2 hole won’t be easy to overcome in the SEC West for LSU.

Nebraska at Michigan State
Ameer Abdullah versus Michigan State’s defense is a must-see matchup.

Alabama at Ole Miss
Can the Rebels score a breakthrough win in the SEC West?

Texas A&M at Mississippi State
Another test for Texas A&M’s defense. Can it stop Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott?

Baylor at Texas
Can the Longhorns find a way to slow down Baylor’s high-scoring offense?

Oklahoma at TCU
Horned Frogs lost by only three points to Oklahoma last season. This year’s matchup is in Fort Worth.

Stanford at Notre Dame
Last two meetings have been decided by a touchdown.

Utah at UCLA
Bruins can’t afford to look past Utes.