Poll voters weren’t forgiving to teams with close wins over inferior opponents this week, as Clemson and Georgia were punished for their respective nail-biters. We have quite the revelation as Alabama (at No. 1) is the lone SEC team in the top 14. Of course, there are seven of them ranked between 15 and 25, but hey ... little victories. Meanwhile, Louisville’s continued ascension means that the ACC and Big Ten now make up six of the top 10. As uninteresting as last week’s schedule was, we are repaid in kind this Saturday, as the top three teams in the AP poll all have road games against ranked opponents for the first time in the history of the rankings. *salivates*
The Tide are 2-0 but must travel to Ole Miss this week to face the team responsible for their only two regular-season losses since 2013.
2. Florida State
Similarly, the Seminoles face an increasingly troubling road test as they travel to face Lamar Jackson and upstart Louisville.
3. Ohio State
The Buckeyes are firing on all cylinders and looking like the team most expected them to be last season. This week they travel to Oklahoma where they can stake a definitive claim as a Playoff contender.
The Wolverines are also doing what they are supposed to against weaker opponents, but we may have to wait until Week 5, when Wisconsin comes to town, to know what exactly they are.
If you watched Clemson’s game against Troy, it’s hard to argue against the Tigers dropping three spots behind teams that are clearly playing better at this point in time. We know they are capable of more, but I can’t justify them being ranked any higher than this until the product on the field is more deserving.
Star quarterback Greg Ward Jr. sat out against Lamar with a shoulder issue, and though he is scheduled to play against Cincinnati, you have to wonder if the Cougars may start slow at an underrated road venue against the Bearcats. The Thursday night game could be a sneaky speed bump for Houston in their quest for a Playoff berth.
The Cardinal jump right into Pac 12 play after a week off with a prime-time home bout with rival USC. After watching the Trojans against Alabama, it’s hard to believe they have enough to spur a road upset of Stanford, but these games are often quite unpredictable.
The Huskies get the benefit of a third straight cakewalk before finishing the season with nine conference games in a row. Cue more Jake Browning #NUMBERS.
The Badgers look pretty strong after two weeks in a season they were expected to take a step back. They host Georgia State in a likely walkover this week, but back-to-back road games against Michigan State and Michigan the next two will show whether Sconny is for real, or just a nice early-season flash in the pan.
We know the risk of crowning Heisman winners in September (especially when they haven’t played anybody), but it’s not a stretch to say Lamar Jackson has been the most outstanding player in the nation thus far. You want Heisman front-runner status? Show out this weekend when Florida State comes to town. Call me crazy, but I’m taking the Cards.
Still ranked too high for my taste, but there may not be any better options below them at this point. We’ll find out just how legitimate the Longhorns are in due time.
12. Michigan State
In a battle of no offense vs. no defense, we’ll see if Sparty can muster enough to get a win in South Bend this weekend.
The Hawkeyes blasted rival Iowa State as expected and should actually get a much better test from FCS powerhouse North Dakota State, which makes a habit out of knocking off FBS opponents.
As if the season-opening loss to Houston weren’t enough, the Sooners host red-hot Ohio State in what is basically a must-win, even this early in the season. Could Oklahoma be out of Playoff contention before Big XII play even begins? My guess is yes.
Trailing unranked Virginia Tech 14-0 a week after barely escaping App State, Tennessee was on the verge of totally flaming out before it even entered conference play. But a 45-3 run turned the game in Bristol on its head and perhaps instilled some much-needed confidence in the Vols. They will need to keep things moving in the right direction, as they face four straight (currently) ranked teams following this week’s game against Ohio.
Well, we told you Georgia was overrated as a top-10 team, and the Bulldogs found themselves in a too-close-for-comfort battle with Nicholls, emerging with just a 2-point victory over their 1-AA foe. A win at Missouri this week now seems like anything but a certainty.
17. Texas A&M
The Problems has never been high on Trevor Knight, and I think the Aggies go down at Auburn on Saturday night when the Tigers force him into some mistakes.
18. Notre Dame
Another top-20 matchup pits the Irish against Michigan State this weekend, and while Notre Dame’s defense has me sufficiently worried, I think they have to much on offense for the Spartans.
19. Ole Miss
Can Ole Miss work its Alabama magic for a third straight year? SWAG will probably make some plays, but I don’t think this year’s version of the Rebels is a complete enough team to take down the top-ranked Crimson Tide.
Leonard Fournette sat out the Tigers’ win against Jacksonville State with a nagging injury but is expected to be back for this week’s game against Mississippi State. Meanwhile, quarterback Brandon Harris was shown the bench after an ineffective start against the 1-AA Gamecocks - throwing yet another wrench into this cluster of an offense. With a healthy Fournette, the Tigers should win easily, but any complications could be cause for concern for this one-dimensional team.
The Bears were tied 6-6 at the half with Chad Morris and the boys but exploded for 34 second-half points in a 40-13 win. Must have been due to one of Jim Grobe’s notoriously fiery halftime speeches.
The Ducks could make a push toward the top 15 if they can knock off Nebraska this week in what should be an entertaining midday game.
Goodness, does Florida ever own Kentucky. The Gators outgained the Wildcats 564 to 149 in a 45-7 beatdown in The Swamp.
The Hogs won an absolute thriller at TCU this past week, so I guess we can just ignore that they beat Louisiana Tech by one point the week before.
It’s not that I think Miami will lose at App State on Saturday, it’s just that I would NOT want to be playing that game if I were them.