This slate of games didn’t look all that intriguing before the weekend and so we should’ve seen this coming from a mile away.
Some crazy endings and upsets — whoops, Georgia Tech — made for an exciting weekend in college football. I for one enjoyed the third straight Saturday of watching games without one to cover, though next weekend’s debut on Saturday for Wake Forest will also be a welcomed return to a normal schedule.
Here’s the ballot I filed this week:
1. Clemson (3-0)
Last week: won at Syracuse 41-6
Next: vs. Charlotte
2. Alabama (3-0)
Last week: won at South Carolina 47-23
Next: vs. Southern Miss.
3. Georgia (3-0)
Last week: beat Arkansas State 55-0
Next: vs. Notre Dame
4. Ohio State (3-0)
Last week: won at Indiana 51-10
Next: vs. Miami (Ohio)
5. LSU (3-0)
Last week: beat Northwestern State 65-14
Next: at Vanderbilt
My take: Chalk, chalk, chalk. And obviously, none of these teams were really going to be threatened entering the weekend.
The first couple of weeks showed us what Syracuse and South Carolina really are.
Georgia gets the big test next weekend out of this group — my, how embarrassing it would be for an SEC juggernaut to struggle against Notre Dame in light of what Clemson did to the Irish in the CFP semifinal last year.
6. Oklahoma (3-0)
Last week: won at UCLA 48-14
Next: off (vs. Texas Tech on Sept. 28)
7. Notre Dame (2-0)
Last week: beat New Mexico 66-14
Next: at Georgia
8. Florida (3-0)
Last week: won at Kentucky 29-21
Next: vs. Tennessee
9. Utah (3-0)
Last week: beat Idaho State 31-0
Next: at USC
10. Penn State (3-0)
Last week: beat Pittsburgh 17-10
Next: off (at Maryland on Sept. 27)
My take: Geez, Jalen Hurts. I get that Chip Kelly’s UCLA tenure is becoming a comedy, but completing 15 of 20 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns, and rushing 14 times for 150 yards and another score, is crazy.
If you’re the top dual-threat quarterback in the country, why are you not going to play for Lincoln Riley?
Things get real in a hurry for Notre Dame with its trip to Athens, Ga. — I don’t think that’ll go well for the Irish.
Feleipe Franks is expected to miss the rest of the season, which sucks — no matter what impression he gave in the Week 0 game.
Penn State survives, and there’s a lot less juice in that Friday night matchup against Maryland in about two weeks because the Terps blew it at Temple.
And Utah climbs because the Utes have a stifling defense to go with a lethal QB-RB combo — I’m starting to be a believer that they could crash the CFP.
11. Michigan (2-0)
Last week: off
Next: at Wisconsin
12. Auburn (3-0)
Last week: beat Kent State 55-16
Next: at Texas A&M
13. Oregon (2-1)
Last week: beat Montana 35-3
Next: at Stanford
14. TCU (2-0)
Last week: won at Purdue 34-13
Next: vs. SMU
15. Virginia (3-0)
Last week: beat Florida State 31-24
Next: vs. Old Dominion
My take: Michigan-Wisconsin is a huge game, can’t wait to see what Jonathan Taylor does against that defense.
Auburn and Oregon roll against teams they should roll against — I might have Auburn ranked too low, Bo Nix certainly seems like the real deal.
TCU is being slept on by the majority of voters: The Horned Frogs were only ranked by 10 of 62 voters, a number that should go up this week.
Virginia survives what figured to be a dangerous matchup against a wounded Florida State team. Bryce Perkins is simply dazzling — his shimmy into the end zone will be on the year-end ACC highlight film.
16. Texas A&M (2-1)
Last week: beat Lamar 62-3
Next: vs. Auburn
17. Texas (2-1)
Last week: beat Rice 48-13
Next: vs. Oklahoma State
18. UCF (3-0)
Last week: beat Stanford 45-27
Next: at Pittsburgh
19. Washington State (3-0)
Last week: won at Houston 31-24 (Sept. 13)
Next: vs. UCLA
20. Iowa (3-0)
Last week: won at Iowa State 18-17
Next: off (vs. Middle Tennessee on Sept. 28)
My take: The Texas teams from separate conferences bounced back in big ways against not-so-big opponents.
I toyed with bumping UCF ahead of them both, though, because of how quickly UCF jumped all over Stanford, realized the Cardinal is 1-2 and had K.J. Costello for this one, thought better of it.
Besides, Texas and Texas A&M could both lose this week (easily).
Washington State is a well-oiled machine, and the destruction of UCLA will continue next weekend.
Iowa won the Cy-Hawk Trophy and had the best quarterback in the game with Nate Stanley.
21. Boise State (3-0)
Last week: beat Portland State 45-10
Next: vs. Air Force
22. Wisconsin (2-0)
Last week: off
Next: vs. Michigan
23. Arizona State (3-0)
Last week: won at Michigan State 10-7
Next: vs. Colorado
24. Memphis (3-0)
Last week: won at South Alabama 42-6
Next: off (vs. Navy on Sept. 26)
25. Wake Forest (3-0)
Last week: beat North Carolina 24-18 (Sept. 13)
Next: vs. Elon
My take: So, this is where it gets terrifying for me. One of my biggest fears is to be considered a homer for Wake Forest, and the last thing I want is that perception. So, as objectively as possible but with a front-row seat, looking at the Deacons’ wins against a Utah State team that won 11 games last year and has an NFL-bound quarterback, and against a North Carolina team that had two Power 5 wins under its belt, I bumped them into my poll.
Boise State handled itself well, and Arizona State gets in for a Michigan State team that tumbles out of this poll.
Memphis is a team I’ve had an eye on since before the season started, and the Tigers beat Mississippi in the opener and have a couple of blowouts since then.
On the cusp (in no particular order):
Appalachian State (2-0)
Last week: off
Next: at North Carolina
Last week: beat Georgia Southern 35-32
Next: off (at Purdue on Sept. 28)
Last week: beat Hawaii 52-20
Next: at BYU
Oklahoma State (3-0)
Last week: won at Tulsa 40-21
Next: at Texas
Last week: beat North Texas 23-17
Next: at Mississippi
15. Michigan State (2-1)
Last week: lost to Arizona State 10-7
Next: at Northwestern
20. Iowa State (1-1)
Last week: lost to Iowa 18-17
Next: vs. UL Monroe
24. Maryland (2-1)
Last week: lost at Temple 20-17
Next: off (vs. Penn State on Sept. 27)
25. USC (2-1)
Last week: lost at BYU 30-27, OT
Next: vs. Utah (Sept. 20)