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Handicapping AP Top 25: NCAA Football Top 10 – Week 15 Betting Preview

Week 15 AP Top 25

The Week 15 AP top 25 college football rankings were released on Sunday. A new name atop the rankings for the first time this season as Alabama’s loss to Auburn allowed Florida State to move into the top spot.

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Alabama fell back to No. 4 with the loss, while Auburn moved up to No. 3, but failed to leapfrog undefeated Ohio State. The Seminoles received 58 of 60 first place votes, with the other two going to third-seeded Auburn, while No. 2 Ohio State did not receive a first place vote.

Michigan State climbed into the top 10 with their eighth consecutive win, with Clemson moving out, falling back to No. 13.

Not many games on the schedule for championship weekend, but many of the top teams will be in action, which could mean some movement in next week’s poll.  Let’s take a look at the top 10 teams and their chances of moving up, or down on Sunday when the next set of rankings are released.

1. Florida State Seminoles (12-0, previous: 2)

Florida State overcame a shaky start in Gainesville to down the Gators, 37-7. In the game, quarterback Jameis Winston broke the team’s single-season passing touchdown record with a three-touchdown day to get to 35 on the year, breaking Chris Weinke’s record of 33 set in 2000. Under his leadership, the Seminoles have racked up the second most points on a per game basis in the FBS with 53.7, while the team also ranks first in the nation in scoring defense, surrendering only 11.0 points per game. The Seminoles are a tough matchup for any program, and should cruise through the ACC title game to the national title game. They get Duke on Saturday as 29-point favorites.

2. Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0, previous: 3)

The Buckeyes had more trouble with the Wolverines than they would have liked in their biggest rivalry game, but squeaked past Michigan late, 42-41. The team hasn’t gotten much respect nationally because of a weak non-conference schedule, but it will be hard to keep them out of the title game if they can get past Michigan State in the Big Ten title game on Saturday. The Buckeyes are installed as 5.5-point favorites in that contest.

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3. Auburn Tigers (11-1, previous: 4)

Auburn certainly can’t claim to be short on luck this season. The team has been the benefactor of last minute wins in back-to-back weeks, most recently a win over top-seeded Alabama. They’ll face one more hurdle if they hope to get to the title game, as they have a date with No. 5 Missouri in the SEC championship game. The Tigers will be favored by 1.5 points in Georgia.

4. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1, previous: 1)

Worse than the loss suffered in Saturday’s Iron Bowl is that the Tide don’t have any games left on their schedule. Falling to Auburn 34-28 was bad enough, but the loss also cost the team a shot at a three-peat. Alabama would need a whole lot of losses in front of them if they hope to get to the title game.

5. Missouri Tigers (11-1, previous: 5)

The Tigers took care of business against the Aggies on Saturday and now find themselves in a pretty favorable spot. With a win over Auburn as 1.5-point underdogs in the SEC championship game on Saturday, the team will have a very strong case to make the trip to Pasadena as a 12-1 SEC team with wins over ranked opponents littered throughout their schedule.
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6. Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-1, previous: 7)

Oklahoma State was off but still moved up a spot in the latest poll because of Clemson’s loss. The team is well positioned for a BCS bowl berth but will first face a tough Oklahoma team as 10.5-point favorites.

7. Stanford Cardinal (10-2, previous: 8)

The Cardinal got past a good Fighting Irish team on the weekend and now face an even tougher test when they go to Tempe to face a streaking Arizona State team that will be without their top ball carrier, but just put up 58 points on Arizona without him. Stanford is installed as a 3.5-point underdog for the game.

8. South Carolina Gamecocks (10-2, previous: 10)

A couple losses earlier in the year knocked the Gamecocks out of the national title conversation, but they ended their year on a five-game winning streak, putting the exclamation point on their regular season with a beat down on instate rival Clemson, 31-17.

9. Baylor Bears (10-1, previous: 9)

Baylor had more trouble with TCU than they should have on Saturday, but they were able to hold off the Horned Frogs down the stretch. They’ll need a better effort all around on Saturday when they take on Texas as 13.5-point favorites.

10. Michigan State (11-1, previous: 11)

The Spartan defense held five of their final six opponents to six point or fewer as the team won eight games in a row down the stretch and all finished the regular season at 8-0 in Big Ten play, but they’ll face their toughest conference opponent yet in the Big Ten title game on Saturday, taking on the Buckeyes as 5.5-point underdogs.

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