Now that week 1 is in the books (except for Monday night’s epic Louisville – Miami showdown), it’s time to post this week’s top 25 poll. As always, here are a couple of things to remember about my poll:
- This poll is a projection of where each team will finish the season.
- I always factor strength of schedule into my rankings. In my opinion, it’s prudent to reward teams that beat quality competition.
- Unlike some others in the “mainstream” media, I am happy to defend my poll. If you disagree (or if you agree and want to tell me how awesome I am), please contact me on Twitter @SectionTPJ.
1. Florida State – The Seminoles remain in the top spot after defeating Oklahoma State, 37-31. That win will look much more impressive as the season rolls on.
2. Alabama – Much like the ‘Noles above, don’t read too much into the Crimson Tide’s smaller-than-expected final margin of victory. In the end, Alabama made the plays it needed to, meaning that there’s no reason for it to move down in this week’s poll.
3. Ohio State – As I wrote in the Ohio State – Navy recap, the Buckeyes proved that they have what it takes to compete for the Big Ten title and a berth in the College Football Playoff. It’ll be interesting to see how the run defense fares against Virginia Tech on Saturday.
4. Oregon – Not much to say here, as the Ducks demolished South Dakota, 62-13.
5. Georgia –If I based it strictly on what transpired on the gridiron yesterday, UGA would occupy the top spot after its defense dominated the second half of the Bulldogs’ game against Clemson. However, I expected the Dawgs to beat the Tigers to open the season, so there’s not any movement here.
6. UCLA – No, I am not moving the Bruins down just because they didn’t win any style points against Virginia. Playing a football game at what amounts to 9 a.m. local time is enough to throw off anyone’s routine.
7. Michigan State – Although the Spartans looked sharp in their 45-7 win over Jacksonville State, it wasn’t enough to overtake UCLA. Now, the Spartans were to win this weekend at Oregon…
8. Baylor – After blasting SMU on Sunday night, the Bears stay in the eighth slot.
9. Stanford – The Cardinal remain at No. 9 after destroying UC Davis, 45-0.
10. Auburn – The Tigers deserve a lot more credit than they’ll get from the media for fighting off a potential Arkansas update. Jeremy Johnson’s stellar outing shows that the quarterback position is pretty much set for the next few years.
11. Oklahoma – The Sooners picked up right where they left off in the Sugar Bowl, blasting Louisiana Tech, 48-16. Thanks to South Carolina’s loss to Texas A&M, OU moves up one spot.
12. Ole Miss – Although their offense looked flat for three quarters against Boise, the Rebels showed how dangerous they are by scoring 28 points in the final stanza. Considering how well the secondary played (four picks), they’ll remain just one spot behind Oklahoma.
13. Washington – Don’t let the Huskies’ subpar performance against Hawaii fool you: this is a very good team. While there’s a lot of work to do before Pac-12 play rolls around, UW did find a playmaker in John Ross, who scored a touchdown on a 20-yard reverse and a 91-yard reception.
14. LSU – The Bayou Bengals had one of the more impressive wins of the weekend, erasing a 17-point deficit against Wisconsin.
15. Texas A&M – After blowing out South Carolina in Columbia, the Aggies debut at No. 15 this week. If Kenny Hill continues to play like he did Thursday night – when he broke Johnny Manziel’s record for passing yards in a game – A&M could finish the year in the Top 10.
16. Notre Dame – Thank you for all of the emails last week telling me that I have the Fighting Irish way too high in the polls. Notre Dame did its talking on the field Saturday, destroying Rice 48-17. Everett Golson showed no signs of rust, running for three touchdowns and passing for two more.
17. Texas – The Charlie Strong era started with a bang as the ‘Horns blasted North Texas, 38-7. The defense dominated the entire contest, holding the Mean Green to just 94 yards of total offense.
18. South Carolina – The Gamecocks drop six spots this week after getting annihilated by Texas A&M. However, I expect them to beat Clemson again this year (five straight wins in the series), so I placed them one spot above the Tigers.
19. Clemson – Since the Tigers played Georgia dead even for the first 30 minutes on Saturday, I’m not going to move them down this week. There’s no shame in losing to a Top-5 opponent.
20. Louisville – Idle.
21. Wisconsin - The Badgers fall five slots this week after losing to LSU. While I didn’t think they’d win since Les Miles has never lost a non-conference regular season game as the Tigers’ head coach, Wisconsin’s lack of offense over the final 22 minutes (three punts, two interceptions) deeply concerns me. However, I still have the Badgers winning the Big Ten West, which is why the Badgers remain one spot in front of Nebraska.
22. Nebraska – The Cornhuskers remain at No. 22 this week, after routing Florida Atlantic 55-7.
23. USC – Steve Sarkisian’s debut was a smashing success, as the Trojans smoked Fresno State, 52-13.
24. Miami – Idle.
25. Penn State – The Nittany Lions crack the top 25 this week after an impressive come-from-behind victory against an underrated UCF team. With James Franklin calling the shots, don’t be surprised if Penn State wins 10 games this season.
Dropped out: UCF (23), Marshall (25)