The new college football rankings won’t see too many major upheavals one day with few major upheavals, but don’t be surprised if Top 25 AP voters decide to change the order of the country’s top teams after the Week 3 results. Yes, Alabama will remain No.1 after surviving a tough test against Florida in the Swamp, and No.2 Georgia has done nothing to sway opinion that the Bulldogs are the next best team in the game. the SEC and potentially the whole country.
However, these are the only teams in the preseason’s top five that have played well enough to maintain their current position without having the potential to leap up the standings.
Throughout the preseason, the first tier has apparently been established with Oklahoma, Clemson, and Ohio State joining these SEC powers. After three weeks, the Tigers and Buckeyes suffered a loss, and the Sooners narrowly avoided the same fate with a victory over Tulane and Nebraska. With the talent in place, it is possible that all three teams will end up close to where they started, but the quality of play on the pitch suggests that the top teams in college football are still far from the top flight.
Questioning the strength of our preseason favorites opens the door for Oregon to move up to No.3 and one of the weekend’s biggest winners, Penn State, to get ahead of Clemson in his rise. after beating Auburn in a thriller Saturday night.
We expect the Nittany Lions to land at No.6, noting any reason for major move in the case of Texas A&M and a complicated result for Cincinnati, which trailed early but pulled away late in Indiana. The gap between Penn State and Iowa last week was just a little too big to think that jump is possible after the Hawkeyes dealt with business against Kent State, but that head-to-head will happily be decided on the field (October 9).
Near the bottom of the standings, we say goodbye to Virginia Tech and Miami in a tough week for the ACC as we welcome Michigan State with the Big Ten adding another rep to the college football rankings.
Here’s what we think the new AP Top 25 will look like on Sunday.
1. Alabama (1): While pushing back the late Florida charge keeps the Crimson Tide undefeated, it probably wasn’t enough to win the last voters who didn’t commit to Alabama at No.1.
2. Georgia (2): These three voters who love Georgia against Alabama last week probably feel the same about order at the top after Tide’s narrow win and the Bulldogs’ 40-13 win over South Carolina.
3. Oregon (4): Voters likely won’t be impressed with a 48-7 win over Stony Brook, but last week’s win at Ohio State remains one of the best wins of any top team. The Ducks are expected to overtake Oklahoma with a drop in support for the Sooners, but there won’t be any further movement beyond that.
4. Oklahoma (3): The Sooners beat their two non-conference FBS opponents by 12 points combined after being favored to win both games by 53 points combined. I wouldn’t be surprised if some voters start looking elsewhere for the top spot behind Alabama and Georgia.
5. Iowa (5): The Hawkeyes lived up to expectations despite a slow start against Kent State. It’s a defense that has held 25 straight opponents under 25 points and allowed just three touchdowns in its three wins after a 30-7 win over Kent State.
6. Penn State (10): A close battle with Auburn in the prime-time spotlight will reassure voters about the Nittany Lions’ chances of competing for a Big Ten title, and the standings will reflect that with a jump closer to the middle of the top 10.
7. Texas A&M (7): A 34-0 shutout win over New Mexico gave the Aggies a good look at the depth of the team, unfortunately, in some cases out of necessity. Keep an eye out for the injury report ahead of next week’s SEC opener against Arkansas.
8. Cincinnati (8): The 14-point win at Indiana looks a lot better as a final than it did when the Hoosiers had the Bearcats on the ropes in the first half. But voters tend to judge more on results than control of the game, so this victory ticks the boxes of skeptics who wait for a Power Five opponent before committing to backing Cincinnati.
9. Clemson (6): It’s hard to find rhythm in a game impacted by an extended lightning delay, but it’s been three weeks without really feeling like the Tigers’ offense has shifted into high gear. Clemson held his own for a 14-8 win over Georgia Tech, and the tighter-than-expected final could find the Tigers, like Oklahoma, slipping away from the standings while remaining undefeated.
10. Ohio State (9): A record-breaking day for rookie running back TreVeon Henderson points to a new direction for the Buckeyes’ offense. That along with Ryan Day’s comments on a new defensive play appeal plan highlight the takeaways from a 21-point win over Tulsa following last week’s disappointing loss to Oregon.
11. Notre-Dame (12): Explosive plays from Kyren Williams and a pair of interceptions from the Fighting Irish defense helped Notre Dame keep Purdue at arm’s length after a slow start to a 27-13 victory.
12. Florida (11): The Fighting Irish were within 10 voting points of the Gators last week, so Florida is expected to give up at least one spot, but there won’t be too much of a drop after dropping by two points against Alabama. Last week’s poll dropped sharply after Notre Dame, making the Gators likely the third-best team to a loss, according to PA voters.
13. State of Iowa (14): UNLV proved to be an excellent opponent for the Cyclones following the loss to Iowa. Iowa State limited UNLV to under 100 yards passing (82) and running (39) and showed an efficient and balanced offensive offense in a 48-3 victory.
14. Coastal Carolina (16): We’ve learned that Buffalo hasn’t lost its mojo since Lance Leipold’s loss to Kansas, and that Coastal Carolina can deliver the winning games in a tough spot on the road. Saturday’s 28-25 victory in New York should see Coastal slowly climb the rankings ahead of the toughest tests on the conference schedule next month.
15. Miss (17): The flashy numbers from the Ole Miss offensive are the expectation and it was delivered in a big way against Tulane. Quarterback Matt Corral totaled seven touchdowns in the 61-21 win and, as a team, racked up 707 attacking yards and 41 first downs. The box’s mind-blowing score won’t do much for the Rebels’ standings, but it does create a hype for an Oct. 2 showdown with Alabama.
16. BYU (23): Now 3-0 against opponents from Pac-12, BYU are one of the hottest teams in the country. None of the three wins came easy, all with 10 points or less, with Saturday’s 27-17 victory over Arizona State being the biggest margin of victory. If voters get aggressive, BYU’s cap could be ahead of Iowa State, but for now, I think the Cougars are jumping to Wisconsin as undefeated teams start outliving teams at one point. top ranked defeat.
17. Wisconsin (18): The Badgers were out in week three. They will be back in action next week against Notre Dame at Solider Field in Chicago.
18. Arkansas (20): No signs of disappointment or anticipation issues as Arkansas faced Georgia Southern in a 45-10 win just a week after beating Texas and a week before the SEC’s opening game against Texas A&M .
19. North Carolina (21): Two weeks after the North Carolina offense struggled to secure the first tries at Virginia Tech, let alone the touchdowns needed to avoid opening weekend loss, the Tar Heels nearly broke the scoreboard in a 59-39 win over Virginia.
20. Michigan (25): There are only a lot of adjustments you can make for the opponent when the final margin is 53 points like it was against Northern Illinois. Michigan are beating their foes right now, winning on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and looking like a worthy challenger in a stacked division that could have four of the top 25 teams heading into Week 4.
21. State of Michigan (NR): Kenneth Walker must stand out as one of the most impactful transfers of the 2021 season. The former Wake Forest running back totaled 172 yards on 27 carries in the Spartans’ 38-17 victory in Miami after running for 264 yards and four touchdowns in Game 1 of the season against Northwestern. Michigan State is 3-0 with two road wins over opponents from Power Five.
22. State of Kansas (NR): The Wildcats relied on the rushing game to the tune of 269 rushing yards in a 38-17 victory over Nevada. It was an important PA Top 25 game between two teams in the top 35 poll of last week. Kansas State, proving he can still compete at a high level without starting quarterback Skylar Thompson, gets the big bump in the top 25.
23. Auburn (22): The performance at Happy Valley was admirable for Auburn, and while voters may see it as a loss of quality to keep the Tigers in the top 25, it may be even more valuable for a team that has yet to be tested and which now enters the SEC game. knowing that it can go blow for blow with the best teams in the country.
24. State of Fresno (NR): Jake Haener’s epic performance guiding the winning touchdown against UCLA drops into the Pac-12 After Dark Hall of Fame, but voters don’t have to be prisoners of the moment to see the reasons to rank Fresno State . The profile includes two resounding wins over bad teams, a narrow loss to a playoff contender in Oregon and now a road win over a Pac-12 ranked foe. The Bulldogs are a good team worth ranking, and I think UCLA’s victory puts them ahead of some other fringe teams.
25. UCLA (13): If Fresno State drops the top 25 as I predict, I think there will be some residual respect for the resume in a loss to the Bruins. LSU is always a team that presents the voters’ ballots, so the victory carries weight.
Planned retirement: Virginia Tech (15), Arizona State (19), Miami (24)