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ALOST’s 2015 College Football Poll (Playoff Edition/Week 10)

It wouldn't be a surprise if the Clemson Tigers, led by coach Dabo Swinney and Heisman candidate Deshaun Watson, could land in the top spot in the initial College Football Playoff rankings of 2015. (Tyler Smith/Getty Images)
It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Clemson Tigers, led by head coach Dabo Swinney and Heisman candidate Deshaun Watson, land in the top spot of the initial College Football Playoff rankings of 2015. (Tyler Smith/Getty Images)

All of the questions you had coming into tonight about college football rankings will be answered. And then, there will be many more questions to follow. Many more!

The College Football Playoff rankings makes its debut tonight, the much-anticipated yet somewhat meaningless snapshot of the college football season, produced by a group of people who are college football administrators, greats, fans, and the like. (By “the like,” we also mean former Air Force officers and a former U.S. Secretary of State.)

Remember, the top four teams in the initial rankings last year read like this: Mississippi State, Florida State, Auburn, Mississippi. Of those four, the only team that actually made the Playoff was the team that many people felt should have been left out, undefeated Florida State. Also in the initial poll, Ohio State, the eventual national champion, came in at No. 16. It was tough to fathom at the time that their home loss to Virginia Tech, an unmitigated eyesore, could be overcome to make the “Final Four.”

Well, it happened, and, more than likely, it will happen again. Who might that team be? Oklahoma, who is playing its best ball after its Red River Rivalry egg that they laid against Texas? Stanford, who lost to Northwestern in the season opener only to run teams over ever since, save for their nail-biter against Washington State last weekend? Alabama lost its showdown to Ole Miss at home in week four of the season, but, with a win this weekend vs. LSU, the Tide will be right back in the thick of the Playoff picture. 

Even more intriguing is the race of some of the stellar teams from the non Power Five conferences for that New Year’s Six bowl spot. Four teams in the American Athletic Conference – Memphis, Houston, Temple and Navy – are legitimate contenders, while MAC pacesetter Toledo is looking to elbow its way past all of them and into the forefront. (The Rockets have the national college football stage all to themselves later on tonight, after the poll is released, when they take on Northern Illinois.)

We’ll know how the college football playoff landscape looks tonight. It will mean a lot. Then, in a matter of moments, it won’t, at least until next Tuesday. 

Let the Madness begin. No, it’s not March, and it’s not college basketball…though that’s starting up pretty soon, too.

Before the Panel of 12 releases the College Football Playoff rankings at 7 PM Eastern, the A Lot of Sports Talk College Football Poll panel of seven has spoken with its newest poll. As always, here are the seven people who combine to bring you our insightful aggregate poll: T.J. Basalla (super fan, marketing professional based in Ohio), Evie Van Pelt (managing editor at The Rebel Walk Magazine), Basil Mitchell (former TCU and Green Bay Packers RB), Sandy Weintraub (super fan, Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards at the University of Oregon), Nick Mancuso (patent attorney who attended USC as an undergrad and Oregon for law school), Adesina Koiki (Football Writers Association of America member/voter, A Lot Of Sports Talk editor-in-chief) and an anonymous football staff member at a Division II school who once coached at the FBS level.

Here is ALOST‘s 2015 College Football Top 25 for Week 10.  If you have any comments and/or complaints, write them below on the Facebook window or email us at feedback@alotofsportstalk.com. We’d love to hear from you.
 

1. Ohio State Ohio State (168, three first-place votes)

The Ohio State quarterback saga takes another turn this season. For not having to play anyone so far, Ohio State has had to deal with a ton of questions. They will only get tougher with Sparty and the Wolverines to come. (T.J. Basalla)
 

2. 299px-Clemson_University_Tiger_Paw_logo.svg  Clemson (161, two first-place votes)

I keep thinking this Clemson team is different. We’ll find out Saturday if I’m right. (T.J.)
 

3.   170px-TCU_Horned_Frogs_Logo.svg  TCU (158*, one first-place vote)

Although they reside in our top four, I would be surprised if the Horned Frogs placed in the CFB Playoff Rankings’ top four. This coming from the voter responsible for TCU’s first-place vote in this poll. (Adesina Koiki)
 

4. LSUTigers LSU (158)

Sure, Leonard Fournette is key for the Tigers to pull out a win in Tuscaloosa, but the man handing him the ball, quarterback Brandon Harris, could (and maybe will) play an even bigger role. He needs to continue his efficient play..and then step that up a little more. (Adesina)
 

The Playoff committee will rank Baylor on their accomplishments so far, but where they end up will depend on how well Jarrett Stidham replaces Seth Russell. (Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
The Committee will rank Baylor on their accomplishments so far, but where they end up will depend on how well Jarrett Stidham replaces the injured Seth Russell at QB. (Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

5.  173px-Baylor_University_Athletics_(logo).svg Baylor (153 points, one first-place vote)

Time to truly find out how good this Baylor team really is. (T.J.)
 

6.  Msu_head_logo.svg Michigan State (140)

Nebraska, Sparty’s opponent on Saturday, is a surprising 3-6 and needs to win out just to qualify for a bowl. Be careful of a wounded animal backed into a corner, Michigan State! (Adesina)
 

7. AlabamaTidelogo Alabama (136)

Jake Coker has both bombed and flourished at quarterback in big games for the Tide this season. What will we see from him on Saturday night?  (Adesina)
 

8.  StanfordCardinal   Stanford (119)

The game, at many points, was as sloppy as the weather in Pullman last week, but the Cardinal pulled it out at the end when the Cougs missed a field goal that would have won the game on the final play of regulation. (Adesina)
 

9. Notre Dame Notre Dame (114)

What a world we live in where we say “Notre Dame escaped with a close win against Temple” and say that it is a great win. Because it is. (T.J.)
 

10. Iowa_Hawkeyes_logo Iowa (110)

Upset alert! If the Hawkeyes’ impressive season were to hit a bump in the road, it could come in Bloomington, where the 4-4 Hoosiers – who gave Ohio State all it could handle last month – are fighting to become bowl eligible. (Adesina)
 

11.  Florida_Gators_logo.svg Florida (103)

What a turnaround for the Gators so far. (T.J.)
 

12.  Oklahoma State Oklahoma State (98)

That defense, with TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma to come, is going to cost the Pokes. (T.J.)
 

13. 125px-Utah_Utes_logo.svg Utah (92)

Something tells me the Utes’ trip to Seattle is going to be beyond tricky. (Adesina)
 

14. 175px-MemphisTigers.svg Memphis (79)

If the Tigers reach the American title game, they will have earned it. Memphis’s next three games are against the other three best teams in the league: Navy, at Houston, at Temple. (Adesina)
 

15.  MichiganWolverines Michigan (77)

Jim Harbaugh owes Minnesota coach Tracy Claeys a fruit basket. (T.J.)
 

Where will Tom Herman's Houston Cougars rank in the non Power Five pecking order? (Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Where will Tom Herman’s Houston Cougars rank in the non Power Five pecking order? (Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

16. Logo_of_University_of_Houston_Athletics  Houston (62)

Before their monumental home clash with Memphis next week, the Cougars can’t afford to be caught looking ahead when taking on preseason American favorite Cincinnati. (Adesina)
 

17.FSU_Seminoles_logo Florida State (61)

With a road game at Clemson this week plus a tilt in Gainesville to end the season, the Seminoles could end the season with a flourish and a run towards a Playoff spot. Or, they could end the season with three losses. (Adesina)
 

18. OU-Logo Oklahoma (59*)

That Texas loss keeps looking worse and worse. (T.J.)
 

19. ToledoRockets Toledo (59)

The triumvirate of ranked teams in The American Athletic Conference (Memphis, Houston, Temple), along with the attention they’ve already gained nationally for performances in games past, is making life real hard for the Rockets to get noticed on the grand college football stage. That changes tonight, as a national TV game against traditional MAC power Northern Illinois awaits. (Adesina)
 

20. 410px-Ole_Miss_rebels_Logo.svg  Ole Miss (39)

Could it be possible that SEC bigwigs would root against Ole Miss before the regular season is over? Why so? If the Rebels win their final three games, including a home matchup with the Bayou Bengals on Nov. 21, Ole Miss would head to the SEC Championship Game at the expense of both LSU and Alabama. If that occurred, and either an LSU or Alabama team finished 11-1 but had to sit home while Ole Miss, at 10-2, goes to Atlanta to play the SEC East champ (a.k.a. Florida), would the SEC be completely left out of the College Football Playoff party? It’s far from impossible… (Adesina)
 

21. 150px-Temple_T_logo.svg Temple (32)

Outside of die-hard Temple fans and some experts in the know, I’m pretty sure I was one of the select few that honestly thought the Owls’ game with Notre Dame would come down to the final possession. That said, the Owls’ loss doesn’t really hurt their chances at appearing in the New Year’s Six…as long as they win out. (Adesina)
 

22. UCLA_athletics_text_logo.svg UCLA (29)

A Pac-12 pretender would blow an 18-point lead at home to Colorado. A Pac-12 contender would be able to overcome that, bounce back and pull the game out. The Bruins did both against the Buffaloes last week. (Adesina)
 

Ryan Switzer's 126 receiving yards and second-quarter TD helped UNC to its first 4-0 start in the ACC since 1997. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Ryan Switzer’s 126 receiving yards and second-quarter TD at Pittsburgh helped to lead UNC to its first 4-0 start in ACC play since 1997. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

23. 101px-University_of_North_Carolina_Tarheels_Interlocking_NC_logo.svg North Carolina (21)

Lots of trap doors remain on their schedule, but the Tar Heels have the inside track to Charlotte and the ACC Championship Game. (T.J.)
 

24. 100px-Duke_text_logo.svg  Duke (12)

They did not lose last Saturday. (Sandy Weintraub)
 

25.TAMU-Logo Texas A&M (11*)

The Kyler Murray era has officially begun in College Station. (Adesina)
 
Others receiving votes:
Southern California (11 points), Northwestern (7), Mississippi State (4), Wisconsin (1), Navy (1)

* – To break ties, we used a three-step criteria; 1) higher number of first-place votes, 2) higher number of ballots (out of six) the teams appeared in, 3) highest single ranking by an individual pollster (e.g. if Team A and Team B are tied cumulatively and appeared in all six polls, but Team A’s highest ranking by an individual pollster was No. 7 and Team B’s highest ranking by an individual pollster was No. 9, Team A wins tiebreaker)

[Cover photo (College Football Playoff Championship Trophy) courtesy of Getty Images]

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