Predicting the First 2015 College Football Playoff Poll


Jan 13, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Genral view of the College Football Playoff trophy during a press conference at Renaissance Dallas Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday will be the first time we get a College Football Playoff Poll from the Committee selected to pick four teams to compete for the National Championship. And since that is the case, I wanted to see how close of a glimpse I could give you into what I think the committee will do with all that we have seen so far in the 2015 season.

The one thing to remember about last year’s poll and how it will likely affect this season is the committee does not necessarily think a 0 loss team deserves more prestige than a 1 loss team. Alabama and Oregon were both ranked higher than Florida State going into the playoff at the end of last season despite both teams having one loss and Florida State not having any. It’s all about the best teams you beat, and if you do have a loss, who did those losses come to.

We’ll learn the most about the thinking of the College Football Playoff Committee from how they rank three teams this season: Alabama, Ole Miss, and Memphis. The Committee knows they will have a serious issue on their hand if all three teams win out. You could argue Alabama is the best team of the lot, but that loss to Ole Miss who would be the conference champion. And then Ole Miss would have two losses, one of which would be to an undefeated Memphis team. But that Memphis team doesn’t play in the Power 5.

Mississippi State fans will want to see how the Committee handles the Bulldogs. They have losses to LSU and Texas A&M, both good teams, and their wins aren’t bad, especially if Kentucky and Auburn can get to bowl eligibility, but they aren’t great. The good thing for Mississippi State is Southern Miss is going to a bowl, and they are much better than most people thought they would be. And Louisiana Tech is good as well. One of those teams could easily win the Conference USA championship this season.

With all of that said, here is how I think the College Football Playoff Committee will rank the top 25 teams in their first poll. And remember, this isn’t where I would rank them. This is where I think the Committee will rank them. The number in parentheses is what each team is ranked in the AP. Next time I do this, that number will represent the previous ranking by the Committee.

More from Maroon and White Nation

  1. LSU, 7-0 (4)
  2. Clemson, 8-0 (3)
  3. Alabama, 7-1 (7)
  4. Iowa, 8-0 (10)
  5. Michigan State, 8-0 (6)
  6. Ohio State, 8-0 (1)
  7. TCU, 8-0 (5)
  8. Baylor, 7-0 (2)
  9. Memphis, 8-0 (15)
  10. Oklahoma State, 8-0 (12)
  11. Florida, 7-1 (11)
  12. Ole Miss, 7-2 (19)
  13. Stanford, 7-1 (9)
  14. Utah, 7-1 (13)
  15. Oklahoma, 7-1 (14)
  16. Notre Dame, 7-1 (8)
  17. Michigan, 6-2 (16)
  18. Texas A&M, 6-2 (25)
  19. Mississippi State, 6-2 (24)
  20. Florida State, 7-1 (17)
  21. North Carolina, 7-1  (21)
  22. UCLA, 6-2 (22)
  23. BYU, 6-2 (NR)
  24. Wisconsin, 7-2 (NR)
  25. Temple, 7-1 (23)

Most Notable Teams Left Out (in alphabetical order): Houston, Northwestern, Penn State, Toledo, USC

Next: Who will step up for Mississippi State in November?

Logic on the Top Four

  • It was a toss up to me for the top spot between LSU and Clemson. I think wins for LSU over a 6-2 Mississippi State and a 7-1 Florida will really win over the Committee for LSU.
  • Clemson gets second and the Tigers need Notre Dame to keep winning, and they need to beat Florida State and have the Seminoles keep winning. The Notre Dame win is their best, and they have a lot of decent wins, but no great wins outside the Notre Dame win.
  • Alabama will benefit from the eye test. The Tide also has some nice wins. They have a win over a 6-2 Texas A&M team, and a win over 7-2 Wisconsin. Their wins over Tennessee and Georgia will be nice as well. They look like the best team in the country, and will likely be the number one team in this poll if they beat LSU. And their one loss is to Ole Miss, a team I think the Committee will think highly of. Which could make things interesting if they don’t even win their division. But they will have to have to win out. They won’t make it to the CFP with two losses. LSU might still make it with one loss.
  • I bet you didn’t expect to see Iowa at number 4. Neither did I. But they have the best two wins in the Big 10 with victories over Wisconsin and Northwestern. And once  I looked at their schedule, the Hawkeyes had some nice wins. And I’m not the only one who noticed. But Iowa has to win out. Those will be the only good wins on their schedule until the Big 10 Championship.

Logic on all the other interesting spots

  • Ohio State might be outside the top four initially, but if they beat Michigan State and Iowa in the big Ten Championship, they won’t stay outside of it. The same goes for the Spartans.
  • Memphis will be valued high because I think the Committee will value Ole Miss high. If you’re a Memphis fan, Ole Miss is your second favorite team right now.
  • Ole Miss will have their two losses against two likely top 10 teams in the eyes of the Committee and they will have a win over 6-2 Texas A&M.
  • The Big 12 will be mad initially, but all of the best teams in the conference have yet to play each other. And that is killing their strength of schedule. If Baylor or TCU wins out, they’ll be in. The only team that makes it in out of the Big 12 with a loss will be Oklahoma. They have the tougher non conference schedule and could survive their one loss, even if it is to a bad Texas team.
  • Mississippi State has taken shots for their out of conference schedule, but Louisiana Tech and Southern Miss will probably finish the season with a combined record of 17-7. And the committee will like that. If State can win out, they’ll easily be in the top 10 and sniffing the Playoff.
  • Houston and Toledo will get the Marshall treatment from a year ago. They’re both undefeated, but neither has any stellar wins. As a matter of fact, if you want a non Power 5 team in the playoff, you want Memphis to beat Houston and Temple. Houston won’t have enough on their resume even if they beat Memphis on the 14th.

Once again, this is just what I think the Committee will do. I could be totally wrong. But this is the second most important poll the Committee will present. It will tell us how they see each team right now. So it will be interesting to see tomorrow night.