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Tomorrow's Top 25 Today: Week 15

By Jerry Hinnen | College Football Writer

Braxton Miller couldn't quite get Ohio State to Pasadena. (USATSI)
Braxton Miller couldn't quite get Ohio State to Pasadena. (USATSI)

Each Saturday night, the Eye on College Football takes its best guess at what we'll see on Sunday morning from the AP Top 25. Here's where the poll stood entering this week, and here's our Week 15 projection.

Last week's ranking in parentheses:

1. Florida State (1): The Seminoles pounded Duke exactly the way they pounded every single team this season that wasn't (weirdly) Boston College. Beat Auburn, and they go down as one of the great teams in college football history.

2. Auburn (3): Because scoring 59 points in the SEC Championship Game -- but winning by 17 whole points -- wasn't "team of destiny" enough, Auburn just had to go and somehow mind-force Ohio State to lose to Michigan State. Can't go a week without something face-melting happening.

3. Alabama (4): Since the Tide needed a Duke upset of Florida State, it was already over. But now Alabama's streak of back-to-back national championships is truly, officially over.

4. Stanford (7): Baylor and Michigan State are one-loss teams with league titles and the Cardinal are a two-loss team with a league title. But after blowout of Arizona State, hard to see voters -- who had Bears and Spartans behind South Carolina last week -- leapfrogging those teams past the Cardinal.

5. Baylor (9): "The Bears thumped Texas by 20 points to clinch an undefeated home season, 11-1 overall record, and Big 12 championship" is not a sentence anyone ever expected to make sense. Except Art Briles, maybe, which is why it does.

6. Michigan State (10): It's taken the Spartans a long, long time to earn any real respect in the polls. But after beating Ohio State, they'll finally get it. Or most of it, anyway.

7. Ohio State (2): This would be a much stiffer drop than most top-3, 10-plus-win teams have suffered this season, but the Buckeyes have never been a favorite of voters, and it's only fair they drop behind the Spartans.

8. South Carolina (8): Gamecocks' win over Missouri didn't get the to Atlanta ... but it might help them stay one spot ahead of the Tigers in the final AP poll of the regular season.

9. Missouri (5): It's worth repeating: we know it didn't look like it Saturday, what with the 545 yards rushing allowed (545!?!), but that was a solid Tiger run defense Auburn shredded, ranking second in the SEC in yards per-carry allowed entering the game.

10. Oklahoma (18): A big, big leap for the Sooners, but they have the same record as Oklahoma State and just beat the Cowboys in Stillwater. Is there any way they can be ranked behind them?

11. Oklahoma State (6): Cowboys beat Baylor by 32 points. Bears beat Sooners by 29. So of course Sooners beat Cowboys by 9 at Oklahoma State. Ah, college football.

12. Oregon (12): For the second straight season, Ducks had the Pac-12 Championship Game week off.

13. Clemson (13): It must have pained Clemson fans to root for Florida State, but the Seminoles' win over Duke very likely clinched the Tigers' a trip to the Orange Bowl.

14. LSU (14): Tigers really have to wonder how a team that never trailed them by less than 14 points from the 9:56 mark of the first quarter through the end of the game is now off to the national title game.

15. UCF (16): The Knights beat a team with a losing record by a narrow margin, so no, nothing off the usual script in the season finale.

16. Arizona State : Sun Devils were 7-0 at home in 2013, 11-2 since Todd Graham arrived, and 9-4 in those 13 games against the spread. So no, that 38-14 demolition at Stanford's hands wasn't exactly expected in Tempe.

17. UCLA (17): Bruins didn't play this week, but keeping Jim Mora counts as a win.

18. Louisville (19): in 2012, Kent State was on no one's radar in the preseason, lost convincingly to Kentucky, went 11-1 in the MAC, and came within an overtime MAC championship loss of a BCS berth. In 2013, the Cards start in the top 10 with a Heisman candidate under center, lose their only game to UCF, go 11-1 in the AAC, and become a total BCS afterthought. Go figure.

19. Wisconsin (21): Home loss to Penn State still just as head-scratching a week later.

20. Texas A&M (22): Yes, they lost four games, didn't beat a ranked team, and will likely lose Johnny Manziel. But they can't hear any naysaying over the sound of their recruiting rankings.

21. Georgia (25): Four-spot jump wouldn't be bad for a team not playing, right? Thanks, Bowling Green, Florida State, Baylor and maybe general voter preference for SEC teams over non-AQ teams!

22. Fresno State (24): Utah State didn't make it easy, but the Bulldogs won the first Mountain West Championship game. It won't entirely wash out the taste of losing to San Jose State and coughing up a BCS berth, but just ask the next team on this list about how much worse a loss this week would have been instead.

23. Northern Illinois (16): A devastating loss for NIU, which not only cedes the MAC title but goes from the Fiesta Bowl to, most likely, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. At the Huskies' level, that's about as painful as it gets.

24. Duke (20): On the one hand, voters haven't been high on Duke and could punish them further for this. On the other, surely a loss to Florida State was expected, right?

25. Notre Dame (NR): It's anyone's guess who replaces Texas in the poll -- it could, in fact, be Texas after all -- but the Irish have the only win over Michigan State, beat USC head-to-head, and saw their loss to Oklahoma look more explicable.

Dropped from projected rankings: Texas

Also under consideration: Miami, USC

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