Week 3 College Football Rankings

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The second week of the season had everything from upsets (Oklahoma over Ohio State) to unexpected blowouts (USC over Stanford) to our first installment of #Pac12AfterDark (Washington State over Boise State).

Our staff’s cumulative rankings varied drastically this week, and there are two new teams in our top four. Alabama was the unanimous No. 1 team this week.

Here are the six teams who just missed the cut this week: Louisville (2-0), Stanford (1-1), Auburn (1-1), Kansas State (2-0), Miami (1-0), TCU (2-0).

The Big 10 

14. Virginia Tech (NR)

Last week’s sluggish 27-0 win over Delaware wasn’t totally unexpected considering the Hokies were coming off an emotional win on a short week. Virginia Tech has another snoozer of a game Saturday at East Carolina, and it’d be nice if they played with more urgency against a clearly inferior opponent.

13. Florida State (11)

The Seminoles’ game against Louisiana-Monroe was cancelled last week, and Saturday’s showdown against Miami has been postponed until Oct. 7 due to Hurricane Irma. So that means when Florida State takes on N.C. State on Sept. 23, they will have had three weeks off. It’s unclear whether that three weeks will hurt or help, but it might benefit new quarterback James Blackman since he’ll have weeks worth of reps as the starter.

12. LSU (14)

LSU took care of business in a 45-10 win over Chattanooga, and the Tigers have their first major road test on Saturday at Mississippi State. That showdown will go a long way in determining whether LSU is a contender or pretender in the SEC West.

11. Wisconsin (12)

The Badgers submitted a lackluster performance in a 31-14 win over Florida Atlantic, and there is cause for concern about the team heading into this week’s matchup at BYU. Luckily for Wisconsin, the Cougars are anemic on offense. Also, the Big 10 West is even worse than we thought, so the Badgers could be an above average team and still win 10 games.

10. Georgia (13)

Georgia moves up a few spots in our rankings after a huge 20-19 non-conference road victory over Notre Dame. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel are one of the best running back tandems in the country, and they are a huge asset for the Bulldogs since the team lacks experience at quarterback. True freshman Jake Fromm didn’t necessarily play poorly in his first career start, but he didn’t light the world on fire either. The Bulldogs will continue to rely on their stout front seven to carry them this season, and if the offense improves, this could be a dangerous team later this year. — TJ Daugherty

9. Ohio State (2)

The Buckeyes’ 31-16 home loss to Oklahoma was no fluke. The Sooners dominated the second half, and Ohio State looked inept on offense. It’s understandable why Ohio State fans might be panicking at this point, and I’ll admit that my “Ohio State will win the national championship” prediction isn’t exactly looking strong at the moment. But I seem to recall the Buckeyes being dominated on their home field in a non-conference game early in the season before and turning things around later in the year. In 2014, Virginia Tech went into Columbus and manhandled Ohio State 35-21, and J.T. Barrett looked lost. The Buckeyes went on to win the national title that year, so there’s still hope for this extremely talented team. The biggest cause for concern is still Barrett. He was a freshman in that loss to Virginia Tech, so his struggles weren’t exactly surprising. He’s a senior now, and he still can’t consistently make throws in the vertical passing game. Oklahoma dared him to beat them over the top, and he couldn’t. The schedule is easy for the next five games, and Ohio State’s next major test comes at home against Penn State on Oct. 28. — Cole Frederick 

8. Washington (9)

We didn’t learn much from the Huskies during their 63-7 blowout win over Montana, and they should have another easy win this week against Fresno State. The Huskies hit the road on Sept. 23 against Colorado for their first major challenge of the year.

7. Oklahoma State (10)

There isn’t much to say about the Cowboys’ 44-7 win over South Alabama other than how weird it was to see Oklahoma State travel to Mobile for a road game against the Jaguars. Mike Gundy’s crew will hit the road again this weekend for a slightly tougher challenge at Pitt.

6. Michigan (5)

Michigan’s win over Cincinnati wasn’t exactly an easy victory. Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell’s familiarity with the Wolverines was evident as Fickell spent the last several years as an assistant at Ohio State. Michigan’s offense struggled at times, but they still won comfortably and should do so again this week against Air Force.

5. Penn State (4)

Penn State was never close to losing to Pitt, but they didn’t exactly look sharp in the 33-14 win. The Nittany Lions have one final tune-up game this week against Georgia State before conference play begins at Iowa.

Week 3 College Football Playoff Field

4. USC (7)

It’s safe to say the Trojans are the real deal. The offense exploded for over 600 yards and 42 points at home against a talented Stanford team, and the defense only allowed 24 points to the Cardinal. Sam Darnold looked the part as he threw for more than 300 yards and four touchdowns. There won’t be many teams in the Pac-12 South capable of challenging the Trojans, so their 2017 College Football Playoff campaign is off to a great start. — Sam Johnson

3. Oklahoma (6) 

The Sooners’ 31-16 win Saturday night at No. 2 Ohio State is an early candidate for the most impressive win of 2017. What’s even more impressive is that it was new coach Lincoln Riley’s first ever road game in his young coaching career. Riley’s game plan was very impressive, and the Sooners were in control for the majority of the game. Oklahoma dominated the second half outscoring the Buckeyes 28-13. Baker Mayfield looked like a legitimate Heisman trophy contender as he threw for 386 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. I know it’s early, but Boomer Sooner looks like a team that will be making a serious run at the College Football Playoffs. — Lance Barton

2. Clemson (3) 

The Tigers proved during Saturday’s 14-6 win over Auburn that they still deserve to be near the top of the rankings even with some new faces on both sides of the ball. Clemson’s defense—specifically the defensive line—was dominant, and they are the best defensive line in the country. The Tigers’ defense sacked Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham 11 times, and the Auburn offense couldn’t move the ball in the second half. Kelly Bryant made some nice throws last week, and he is a major threat with his legs. If he can limit turnovers throughout the season, Clemson is going to be tough to beat in the ACC. — TJ Daugherty

1. Alabama (1)

The Tide cruised to a 41-10 win over Fresno State, and there wasn’t much information to glean from the blowout win. Alabama has another easy win on Saturday as they host Colorado State.