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College Football's Post-Week 6 Playoff Projection

Gus Malzahn

Gus Malzahn

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

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

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 6 Playoff Projection

Rank

Team

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

Total

1

Auburn 

12

7

1

0

0

0

0

0

151

2

Florida State 

7

7

5

1

0

0

0

0

140

3

Mississippi State 

1

5

7

6

1

0

0

0

119

4

Ole Miss 

0

1

4

9

5

1

0

0

99

5

Baylor 

0

0

3

2

6

3

3

2

69

6

Notre Dame 

0

0

0

0

5

7

5

2

53

7

Alabama 

0

0

0

0

1

4

6

5

33

8

Michigan State 

0

0

0

1

1

2

2

4

23

9

TCU 

0

0

0

1

1

2

2

3

22

10

Arizona 

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

1

6

11

Oklahoma 

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

3

12T

Ohio State 

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

12T

Georgia Tech 

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1


Takeaways from Expert Poll Results


* Auburn received 12 of the first-place votes. Florida State received seven, and Mississippi State claimed one first-place vote.

* According to the voting panel, Auburn, Florida State and Mississippi State clearly rank as the top three teams in the playoff projection. The Tigers did not receive a vote lower than third. The Seminoles did not receive a vote lower than fourth.

* Alabama ranks as the highest one-loss team from the voting panel. The Crimson Tide’s position is critical, as Nick Saban’s team still has to play two teams ranked higher in this week’s results (Mississippi State and Auburn).

* Looking ahead from this week’s results, more clarity in the top 10 should come after Saturday’s games. Auburn plays Mississippi State and Baylor hosts TCU.

* The Pac-12 is arguably college football’s No. 2 power conference behind the SEC. But the Pac-12’s first team in the rankings checks in at No. 10 Arizona. Yes, that’s right: Arizona. The Wildcats make their first appearance in the poll after beating Oregon, and no other Pac-12 team received consideration in this week’s vote. Is the Pac-12 setup to have too many good teams with not enough wins to be in the conversation for a spot in the playoffs?

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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: 4-1

After games against South Carolina, Virginia Tech and North Carolina, it’s easy to see why East Carolina had a sluggish effort against SMU on Saturday. The Pirates won 45-24 but retain the top spot in the Group of 5 rankings. East Carolina travels to USF in Week 7, with back-to-back road trips against Temple and Cincinnati coming in early November.

2. Marshall
Record: 5-0


The Thundering Herd’s quest for an unbeaten season continued with an easy 56-14 victory over Old Dominion in Week 6. Marshall has won every game by at least 15 points this year. With a soft schedule, the Thundering Herd needs to win impressively to pass East Carolina for the Group of 5 spot.

3. Memphis
Record: 3-2

The Tigers replace Cincinnati as East Carolina’s biggest threat from the American Athletic Conference this week. Memphis has two quality losses (Ole Miss and UCLA) and defeated Cincinnati 41-14 in Week 6.

4.  Boise State
Record: 4-2

A week after a surprising loss to Air Force, Boise State rebounded with a key road win at Nevada. The remaining schedule for Bryan Harsin’s team is favorable, as the Broncos play four games at home in the final two months, including key showdowns against Utah State, BYU and Fresno State.

5. Colorado State

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Record: 4-1

Jim McElwain’s team cruised to an easy win over Tulsa in Week 6 (42-17), which comes a week after a solid road victory at Boston College. The Rams play at Nevada this Saturday and host Utah State in Week 8. Colorado State needs a little help to jump Boise State in this ranking after losing to the Broncos in Week 2.

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Key Games With Playoff Implications in Week 7

Texas vs. Oklahoma (Dallas)
Noon ET, ABC

Sooners look to get back on track against rival Texas in a neutral site affair in Dallas.

Georgia at Missouri
Noon ET, CBS


Winner of this game should take control of the SEC East.

Auburn at Mississippi State
3:30 p.m. ET, CBS


Another SEC West showdown with national title and Heisman implications.

TCU at Baylor
3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2


Can the Horned Frogs take control of the Big 12 with an upset win in Waco?

Oregon at UCLA
3:30 p.m. ET, FOX


Both teams need a win after losing last Saturday. And this one could be a preview of the Pac-12 Championship game.

Alabama at Arkansas
6 p.m. ET, ESPN


Expect an angry Crimson Tide team in Fayetteville this Saturday.

Penn State at Michigan
7 p.m. ET, ESPN2


Brady Hoke needs a win to quiet the hot seat talk.

LSU at Florida
7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network


Points could be at a premium with two teams struggling to generate offense.

Ole Miss at Texas A&M
9 p.m. ET, ESPN


Can Ole Miss avoid a letdown after beating Alabama? Aggies need a win to stay in the SEC West race.

USC at Arizona
10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2


After allowing 510 passing yards to Arizona State last week, can the Trojans stop Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon?