Texas A M Clemson Football

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence passes while pressured by Texas A&M's Bobby Brown during Saturday's game. 

Texas isn’t that good, and neither is Michigan.

I wrote after filing the preseason poll that Texas was replacing nine defensive starters from a unit that wasn’t that good last year, and LSU’s offense isn’t the mess that it usually is, so that’s how we wound up with 45-38 in Austin last night.

Michigan is overrated, and I kind of wish I dropped than further than 10th. Utah and Auburn could both stand to be ahead of them.

Here’s the ballot I filed this week:

1. Clemson (2-0)

Last week: beat Texas A&M 24-10

Next: at Syracuse

2. Alabama (2-0)

Last week: beat New Mexico State 62-10

Next: at South Carolina

3. Georgia (2-0)

Last week: beat Murray State 63-17

Next: vs. Arkansas State

4. Ohio State (2-0)

Last week: beat Cincinnati 42-0

Next: at Indiana

5. LSU (2-0)

Last week: won at Texas 45-38

Next: vs. Northwestern State

My take: I had reservations about Clemson’s defense not so much because of a talent deficit, but because that defensive line has been the heart and soul of the team (especially Christian Wilkins) for the past couple of seasons. That hasn’t been as much of a factor, which is as much of a testament to Brent Venables as it is to Isaiah Simmons and Tanner Muse, among others. Alabama and Georgia steamrolled teams they’re supposed to, while Ohio State made it look easy against a team I thought could give them trouble. LSU gets bumped up, and I wrestled with moving them higher — but it’s not like Georgia and Ohio State have done anything but look dominant early, and against non-FCS teams, at that.

6. Oklahoma (2-0)

Last week: beat South Dakota 70-14

Next: at UCLA

7. Notre Dame (1-0)

Last week: off

Next: vs. New Mexico

8. Florida (2-0)

Last week: beat UT Martin 45-0

Next: at Kentucky

9. Penn State (2-0)

Last week: beat Buffalo 45-13

Next: vs. Pittsburgh

10. Michigan (2-0)

Last week: beat Army 24-21, 2 OT

Next: off (at Wisconsin on Sept. 21)

My take: The quarterback changes at Oklahoma, the scores stay the same. Michigan is really the story in this cluster, extremely lucky to win at home against an Army team that looked average (at best) in its first game. It’s a good thing for Michigan that it has two weeks before the trip to Madison. Next week will be a little revealing for Florida — Kentucky isn’t what it was last year, but they’ve started 2-0, too. The Pittsburgh-Penn State game is the most-interesting one in this group next week.

11. Utah (2-0)

Last week: beat Northern Illinois 35-17

Next: vs. Idaho State

12. Auburn (2-0)

Last week: beat Tulane 24-6

Next: vs. Kent State

13. Oregon (1-1)

Last week: beat Nevada 77-6

Next: vs. Montana

14. TCU (1-0)

Last week: off

Next: at Purdue

15. Michigan State (2-0)

Last week: beat Western Michigan 51-17

Next: vs. Arizona State

My take: Utah’s emergence as the best team in the Pac-12 has become clearer each week, with Oregon losing last week and Washington this week. Big week for TCU believers like me — they’ll need to not only beat Purdue, but annihilate a team that lost at Nevada and struggled with Vanderbilt for a half. I’ll keep banging the drum for Michigan State, and it’s a big game for the Spartans next weekend against Herm Edwards’ team that’s started 2-0.

16. Virginia (2-0)

Last week: beat William & Mary 52-17 (Sept. 6)

Next: vs. Florida State

17. Texas A&M (1-1)

Last week: lost at Clemson 24-10

Next: vs. Lamar

18. Texas (1-1)

Last week: lost to LSU 45-38

Next: vs. Rice (at Texans stadium)

19. UCF (2-0)

Last week: won at Florida Atlantic 48-14

Next: vs. Stanford

20. Iowa State (1-0)

Last week: off

Next: vs. Iowa

My take: Virginia is very much capable of embarrassing Florida State — and forcing the first coach firing of the season already (please note: I’m writing this Sunday afternoon, not sure if Phil Fulmer has given himself Jeremy Pruitt’s job yet). UCF continues rolling, while Iowa State licks its wounds and prepares for a battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy (such a cool name). One of the toughest decisions in this poll was deciding how far Texas and Texas A&M should fall — Texas lost at home to a top-five team, Texas A&M was never that close to beating the No. 1 team on the road. I dropped Texas one spot lower because it was at home.

21. Washington State (2-0)

Last week: beat Northern Colorado 59-17

Next: at Houston (Sept. 13)

22. Boise State (2-0)

Last week: beat Marshall 14-7 (Sept. 6)

Next: vs. Portland State

23. Wisconsin (2-0)

Last week: beat Central Michigan 61-0

Next: off (vs. Michigan on Sept. 21)

24. Maryland (2-0)

Last week: beat Syracuse 63-20

Next: at Temple

25. USC (2-0)

Last week: beat Stanford 45-20

Next: at BYU

My take: What I said about Oklahoma QBs and scores? Ditto for Washington State. I thought Gage Gubrud would be the Cougars’ quarterback — nope. Anthony Gordon through two games: 60-for-74, 884 yards, nine touchdowns, one interception. The Boise State-Marshall game was an under-the-radar tough matchup, and the Broncos survived on the blue turf. The new teams in this poll are the last three — I’m late on ranking Wisconsin, admittedly. Maryland is ranked not so much because of beating Syracuse, which I think was overrated, but because of the demolition of Syracuse. The Terps should beat Temple, and then it gets fun with a game against Penn State. USC might not be long for being in this poll, but outscoring Stanford 21-0 in the second half with a backup QB is more impressive than any of the other teams I had on the cusp.

On the cusp (in no particular order):

Appalachian State (2-0)

Last week: beat Charlotte 56-41

Next: off (at North Carolina on Sept. 21)

Wake Forest (2-0)

Last week: won at Rice 41-21 (Sept. 6)

Next: vs. North Carolina (Sept. 13)

North Carolina (2-0)

Last week: beat Miami 28-25

Next: at Wake Forest (Sept. 13)

Iowa (2-0)

Last week: beat Rutgers 30-0

Next: at Iowa State

Memphis (2-0)

Last week: beat Southern U. 55-24

Next: at South Alabama

Oklahoma State (2-0)

Last week: beat McNeese 56-14

Next: at Tulsa

Colorado (2-0)

Last week: beat Nebraska 34-31, OT

Next: vs. Air Force

Mississippi State (2-0)

Last week: beat Southern Miss 38-15

Next: vs. Kansas State

Dropped out:

22. Washington (1-1)

Last week: lost to California 20-19

Next: vs. Hawaii

23. Nebraska (1-1)

Last week: lost at Colorado 34-31, OT

Next: vs. Northern Illinois

24. Syracuse (1-1)

Last week: lost at Maryland 63-20

Next: vs. Clemson

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