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College Football's Post-Week 9 Playoff Projection

Marcus Mariota

Marcus Mariota

College football’s playoff committee will release its first set of rankings on Tuesday, Oct. 28. After months of intrigue and waiting, this release should give the college football world some insight into what the committee values in its first season.

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 9 Playoff Projection

Rank

Team

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

Total

1

Mississippi State 

17

3

1

0

0

0

0

0

163

2

Florida State 

4

15

2

0

0

0

0

0

149

3

Alabama 

0

3

7

4

3

4

0

0

107

4

Oregon 

0

0

5

8

4

3

0

0

95

5

Auburn 

0

0

2

5

4

5

2

1

73

6

Ole Miss 

0

0

3

2

5

1

3

1

58

7

Notre Dame 

0

0

0

2

4

0

3

6

38

8

Michigan State 

0

0

0

0

0

3

9

4

31

9

TCU 

0

0

1

0

1

4

2

4

30

10

Georgia 

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

3

7

11

Arizona 

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

3

12

Kansas State 

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

2

Takeaways From Expert Poll Results


* Mississippi State and Florida State are the clear frontrunners in this week’s playoff vote. The Seminoles are 42 points ahead of No. 3 Alabama.

* Mississippi State received 17 first-place votes to just four to Florida State.

* Alabama received three second-place votes and received 107 total points. That’s a significant advantage in comparison to Ole Miss – the team the Crimson Tide lost to earlier this year.

* Oregon rejoins the top four after dropping out following a loss to Arizona.

* Five SEC teams received votes, with four of those programs ranking inside of the top six.


* Mississippi State and Florida State did not rank lower than third in this week’s poll.

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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: 6-1

Despite a sluggish showing against UConn, the Pirates remain in the driver’s seat for the Group of 5 spot. East Carolina defeated the Huskies 31-21 last Thursday and play three of its next five games on the road. The Pirates play at Temple on Saturday, followed by a date at Cincinnati on Nov. 13.

2. Marshall

Record: 8-0

The Thundering Herd used 21 unanswered points in the second half to defeat FAU 35-16 on Saturday. Marshall is on bye this Saturday and ends the year with matchups against Southern Miss, Rice, UAB and Western Kentucky. Expect the Thundering Herd to be a double-digit favorite in all four of their remaining games. 

3. Boise State
Record:
6-2

Colorado State might be the hottest team in the Mountain West, but let’s give Boise State an edge for the No. 3 spot in the Group 5 of rankings due to its head-to-head victory on Sept. 6. The Broncos won their third consecutive game by defeating BYU 55-30 on Friday night and have a bye this Saturday before taking on New Mexico on Nov. 8.

4. Colorado State
Record:
7-1

The Rams have not lost since their Sept. 6 trip to Boise State, and coach Jim McElwain’s team is on the cusp of being ranked in the Associated Press poll (No. 26 – 29 votes). Colorado State plays at San Jose State this Saturday, followed by games against Hawaii, New Mexico and Air Force to close out 2014. The Rams need a little help to reach the Mountain West title game, as a Week 2 loss to Boise State is the tiebreaker for the top spot in the Mountain Division.

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Key Games With Playoff Implications in Week 9


Florida State at Louisville
7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN


Remember Florida State’s last trip to Louisville? The Cardinals won 26-20 in 2002. The chess match between the Seminoles’ offense and Louisville’s defense should be an intriguing affair. The Cardinals also seem to be finding their stride on offense, especially with a healthy Michael Dyer at running back and DeVante Parker at receiver.

East Carolina at Temple
Noon ET, ESPNEWS


Can the Owls slow down East Carolina’s high-powered offense? Temple has allowed only seven passing touchdowns this year, but its offense has lost 17 turnovers.

Duke at Pittsburgh
Noon ET, ESPNU


Are the Blue Devils the frontrunner in the Coastal Division? Pittsburgh needs to win this one to stay alive in the division after struggling with turnovers against Georgia Tech last week.

North Carolina at Miami
12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3


Believe it or not, North Carolina controls its destiny in the Coastal Division.

Florida vs. Georgia (Jacksonville)
3:30 p.m. ET


The Bulldogs hope to add to the Gators’ misery with a win in the annual neutral site matchup in Jacksonville. Georgia also hopes to add running back Todd Gurley back into the mix after he missed the last two games due to a suspension.

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


The Big 12’s newest members meet in a critical matchup for positioning within the conference. The Mountaineers and Horned Frogs are a combined 12-3 after finishing 8-16 last year.

Auburn at Ole Miss
7 p.m. ET, ESPN


Ole Miss’ rush defense was pounded by LSU for 264 yards in last week’s loss. This defense will be pressured again on the ground by Auburn’s offense (281 yards per game) and won’t have standout linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche (fractured ankle). Is it possible this game is an elimination match for playoff hopes?

Arkansas at Mississippi State
7:15 p.m. ET, ESPN2


With a matchup against Arkansas, followed by a home date against Tennessee-Martin on Nov. 8, Mississippi State should be 9-0 headed into a Nov. 15 road trip to Alabama.

Notre Dame at Navy
8 p.m. ET, CBS


The Fighting Irish won by just four points last season, but Brian Kelly’s team should benefit from having two weeks to prepare for the Midshipmen.

Oklahoma State at Kansas State
8 p.m. ET, ABC


Wildcats emerging as favorite in wide-open Big 12 race? Oklahoma State has lost its last two games by a combined score of 76-19.

Arizona at UCLA
10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN


An elimination game in the Pac-12 South? Expect plenty of points between two offenses averaging over 35 points a game.

Utah at Arizona State
11 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1


The Utes nearly knocked off Arizona State (20-19) last season but it won’t be easy going into Tempe and winning on Saturday night. A rebuilt Sun Devils’ defense has allowed only 20 points over the last two games.