When the College Football Playoff was formed and the selection committee established with it, one of the concerns expressed by some fans was the AP Top 25 and coaches' poll would influence the 13-person panel in charge of picking the semifinal.

So far, there is no clear indication that is happening. In each season, there have been significant differences in the AP Top 25 that comes out the Sunday before the first playoff rankings:

2014 — Alabama was No. 3 in the AP poll, but Ole Miss (seventh in AP) was fourth in the playoff rankings. The Rebels had beaten the Tide earlier in the season.

2015 — Ohio State was No. 1 in the AP poll and Baylor was No. 2. The selection committee had Ohio State third behind Clemson and LSU and Baylor was sixth.

2016 — Michigan was No. 2, Clemson was three and Washington No. 4 in the AP poll. The committee had Clemson and Michigan flip-flopped and Texas A&M (seventh in AP) at No. 4.

Before this season's first CFP rankings are unveiled Tuesday, the latest AP Top 25 was released Sunday. Heat check tries to spot where those differences might be and why.

No. 1 Alabama (8-0)

The Tide lost two first-place votes during its off week to Georgia mostly because the Bulldogs' victory at Notre Dame looks better every week while Alabama beating Florida State looks less impressive. It wouldn't be shocking if the committee goes with the Bulldogs at No. 1 for that same reason, but the Tide has done all it could to be on top.

Next: vs. No. 19 LSU.

Heat check: Just right.

No. 2 Georgia (8-0)

The Bulldogs have outscored their opposition by 26 points per game. Alabama's differential is about 33 per game, and their schedules are comparable — at least according to the Sagarin Ratings: Alabama, 55th in Division I; Georgia 51st. The Dawgs will be no worse than No. 2 on Tuesday.

Next: vs. South Carolina.

Heat check: Just right.

No. 3 Ohio State (7-1)

The Buckeyes won back a lot of voters back after beating Penn State. Heat check thinks they were a little too aggressive and that the committee won't be so high on the Buckeyes.

Next: at Iowa.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 4 Wisconsin (8-0)

In 2015, Iowa went about the business of going 12-0 with a meh schedule in the Big Ten West and came up a few plays short of making the College Football Playoff. But it took a few weeks for those Hawkeyes to work their way into the committee's top four. The Badgers, with a similar profile to that Iowa team, will probably have to make a similar climb.

Next: at Indiana.

Heat check: Way too hot.

No. 5 Notre Dame (7-1)

Still, the voters are underselling the Irish though they are getting closer. Heat check thinks the committee will have them in the top four.

Next: vs. Wake Forest.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 6 Clemson (7-1)

Worst loss (though the Tigers were playing with a hurt quarterback and then a backup quarterback), but the best set of victories among the top teams. The committee doesn't seem to get too hung up on quality of loss. Heat check agrees. Expect Clemson in the CFP top four.

Next: at No. 20 North Carolina State.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 7 Penn State (7-1)

Judging the Nittany Lions can quickly lead down that "but who have they beaten" rabbit hole. Michigan? Iowa? And just how good is the Ohio State team Penn State lost to by one point? Don't overthink it. Penn State is good.

Next: at No. 24 Michigan State.

Heat check: Maybe a touch too hot.

No. 8 Oklahoma (7-1)

The Sooners are having defensive issues and they have had a few narrow escapes to go along with that loss to Iowa State — which we now know was no 30-point underdog. Seems some voters have forgotten about Baker Mayfield's flag-plant at Ohio State.

Next: at No. 11 Oklahoma State.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 9 Miami (7-0)

The voters are treating Miami the way they should be treating Wisconsin. The committee will probably have the Badgers and Hurricanes within two spots.

Next: vs. No. 13 Virginia Tech.

Heat check: Just right.

No. 10 TCU (7-1)

Six-spot drop after a road loss to Iowa State. Maybe a little harsh.

Next: vs. Texas.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 11 Oklahoma State (7-1)

Cowboys fans think their team is underappreciated and their quarterback, Mason Rudolph, is not getting enough Heisman Trophy hype. Win Bedlam and that all changes.

Next: vs. No. 8 Oklahoma.

Heat check: Just right.

No. 12 Washington (7-1)

The Huskies need the committee to like them more than the AP voters, because their schedule doesn't provide many opportunities to make big jumps down the stretch. They also need to make that Arizona State loss look like a fluke.

Next: vs. Oregon.

Heat check: Just right.

No. 13 Virginia Tech (7-1)

Feels like we have not heard from the Hokies in about a month, but they have won their last three games 106-20.

Next: at No. 9 Miami.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 14 Iowa State (6-2)

The Cyclones are the only team in the country with two wins against teams ranked in the top-five when they played them and seem to be getting better every week.

Next: at West Virginia.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 15 UCF (7-0)

The lone remaining unbeaten Group of Five team. The poll voters usually treat teams like UCF better than the committee.

Next: at SMU.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 16 Auburn (6-1)

What one-loss team ranked outside the top 10 is best positioned to vault into the playoff race? That would be Auburn. It's a long shot, but beat Georgia, Alabama and Georgia again in the SEC title game and, voila, the Tigers are in the playoff. OK, it's a really long shot.

Next: at Texas A&M.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 17 Southern California (7-2)

Among teams in the Top 25, only Clemson (fourth) has a better Sagarin strength of schedule rating than the Trojans, who are eighth.

Next: vs. No. 23 Arizona.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 18 Stanford (6-2)

Bryce Love is apparently the greatest player in the history of college football because the Cardinal looked like Kansas without him.

Next: at No. 25 Washington State.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 19 LSU (6-2)

How good is Saturday's slate of games? LSU-Alabama is about the fifth most interesting.

Next: at No. 1 Alabama.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 20 North Carolina State (6-2)

The Wolfpack are still unbeaten in the ACC with a chance to grab sole possession of first in the Atlantic on Saturday.

Next: vs. No. 6 Clemson.

Heat check: Just right.

No. 21 Mississippi State (6-2)

Both losses were lopsided, but the Bulldogs are having a nice under-the-radar season.

Next: vs. UMass.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 22 Memphis (7-1)

The Tigers are a fun team, but UCLA being mediocre is not helping their resume.

Next: at Tulsa, Friday.

Heat check: Tad too hot.

No. 23 Arizona (6-2)

Let's talk about Khalil Tate. The quarterback averages 13.4 yards per carry. That figure would rank 13th in the Pac-12 in yards per CATCH.

Next: at No. 17 Southern California.

Heat check: Tate is on fire.

No. 24 Michigan State (6-2)

The Spartans still get Penn State and Ohio State, but they don't look like a real threat to win the Big Ten East.

Next: vs. No. 7 Penn State.

Heat check: Just right.

No. 25 Washington State (7-2)

Cougars backup quarterback Tyler Hilinski entered Saturday night's game against Arizona late in the first half and finished 45 of 61 for 509 yards.

Next: vs. No. 18 Stanford.

Heat check: Just right.


Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP


More AP college football: http://collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25


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