Skip to main content

College Football's Post-Week 8 Playoff Projection

Connor Cook

Connor Cook

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

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 8 Playoff Projection

Rank

Team

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

Total

1

Mississippi State 

12

9

0

0

0

0

0

0

159

2

Florida State 

6

5

9

1

0

0

0

0

142

3

Ole Miss 

3

7

11

0

0

0

0

0

139

4

Alabama 

0

0

1

13

4

2

1

0

95

5

Auburn 

0

0

0

4

9

5

3

0

77

6

Oregon 

0

0

0

3

7

5

5

0

68

7

Michigan State 

0

0

0

0

1

3

5

6

29

8

Notre Dame 

0

0

0

0

0

3

3

8

23

9

TCU 

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

3

8

10

Georgia 

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

2

7

11T

Kansas State 

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

4

11T

Ohio State 

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

4

13

Baylor 

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Takeaways From Expert Poll Results

* Mississippi State, Florida State and Ole Miss are the clear frontrunners in this week’s playoff poll. Only 20 points separate the Bulldogs and Rebels from the No. 1 spot, and Florida State edged Ole Miss by just three points.

* Alabama jumps from No. 8 to No. 4 this week. The Crimson Tide rank as the highest one-loss team in the playoff projection.

* Four of the top five teams in this week’s committee vote are from the SEC.

* After losing to Florida State 31-27 on Saturday, Notre Dame only dropped three spots to No. 8. The Fighting Irish are still alive for a playoff bid, especially since coach Brian Kelly’s team has opportunities to earn quality wins against Arizona State and USC.


* In addition to the committee agreeing on a clear trio at the top, there’s a significant drop after the top six teams. Oregon ranks No. 6 with 68 points, with Michigan State checking in at No. 7 with 29 points.

* Mississippi State did not rank below second in this week’s committee vote.

* Florida State picked up three first-place votes (6) after recording only three last week.

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:
5-1

The Pirates were on bye last Saturday and return to action on Thursday night against Connecticut. East Carolina’s toughest remaining games follow this week’s matchup against the Huskies, as a date at Temple is ahead on Nov. 1, followed by a Nov. 13 road trip to Cincinnati.

2. Marshall
Record:
7-0

Another week, another blowout victory for Marshall. The Thundering Herd crushed FIU 45-13 to improve to 7-0. Marshall’s remaining schedule is favorable, but there’s not an opportunity to earn a victory against a ranked opponent. Doc Holliday’s team needs help to pass East Carolina in the Group of 5 rankings.

3. Boise State
Record:
5-2

Broncos used another monster effort from running back Jay Ajayi (158 yards, 2 TDs) to knock off Fresno State. Boise State takes on a BYU team riding a three-game losing streak this Friday.

4. Colorado State
Record:
6-1

Image placeholder title


Rams picked up a solid win over Utah State (16-13) on Saturday and host rival Wyoming in Week 9. Colorado State plays only one opponent (Air Force) with a winning record over the final five weeks of 2014.

Image placeholder title

Key Games With Playoff Implications in Week 9


Miami at Virginia Tech
8 p.m. ET, ESPN


Is this an elimination game in the Coastal Division?

BYU at Boise State
9 p.m. ET, ESPN


Broncos need to win this one to stay alive for Group of 5 New Year’s Bowl spot.

California vs. Oregon (Santa Clara)
10 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1


Showdown with Stanford looming next week for the Ducks. California’s defense should be a good opportunity for quarterback Marcus Mariota to improve his Heisman stock.

Texas at Kansas State
Noon ET, ESPN


Wildcats positioned to be a Big 12 title contender thanks to win over Oklahoma last Saturday.

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


Bulldogs should be healthy after bye week, while the Wildcats look to bounce back after disappointing performance at LSU. After giving up 41 points to the Tigers, can Kentucky find a way to slow down Dak Prescott?

Michigan at Michigan State
3:30 p.m. ET, ABC


Spartans have won five out of the last six meetings in this series. Michigan desperately needs a win to reduce the pressure on coach Brady Hoke.

West Virginia at Oklahoma State
3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN


The Mountaineers are one of the nation’s most-improved teams this year, and a win over Oklahoma State would setup an interesting showdown with TCU on Nov 1. Does Oklahoma State have an answer for West Virginia receiver Kevin White?  

Arizona at Washington State
5 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network


If you like offense, this is the game to watch on Saturday evening.

Ole Miss at LSU
7:15 p.m. ET, ESPN


The Rebels are just a small favorite (3.5) on Saturday night. Was LSU’s performance in the last two games a sign of things to come? Or was that just feasting on teams from the East Division?

Alabama at Tennessee
7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2


Crimson Tide shouldn’t have much trouble with a Tennessee offense that has scored just 12 points in its last two games against FBS opponents.

South Carolina at Auburn
7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network


Surprisingly, these two teams have met only seven times since 1996. And interestingly enough, Auburn has won all seven matchups.

Ohio State at Penn State
8 p.m. ET, ABC


Penn State’s offensive line will have its hands full against Ohio State’s aggressive defensive line. Buckeyes have two more opportunities to improve before the showdown in East Lansing against Michigan State on Nov. 8.

USC at Utah
10 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1


Don’t count out Utah in the Pac-12 South title picture. Utes are quietly 5-1 and have a chance to take a step forward in division race with USC this Saturday, followed by games against Arizona State, Oregon, Stanford and Arizona.

Arizona State at Washington
10:45 p.m. ET, ESPN


Taylor Kelly is expected to start at quarterback for Arizona State on Saturday night, but he will have his hands full against a tough Washington defense.