At the end of each game week, the Eye on College Football takes our best guess at what we’ll see in the updated Associated Press Top 25, which due to the holiday will come out on Tuesday afternoon.
Here’s where the poll stood entering this weekend, and below is our prediction for where it’ll stand afterwards.
1. Ohio State (Last week: 1). The unanimous preseason No. 1 won’t lose any votes after its second-half demolition of Virginia Tech. The Buckeyes might have caught a break when Michael Brewer left the game via injury, but any offense that can put Cardale Jones, Braxton Miller and Ezekiel Elliott all on the field at once — and behind that offensive line at that — is going to be held in check for only so long.
2. TCU (2). Trevone Boykin wasn’t as sharp as many expected from the potential Heisman candidate, and the final score at Minnesota reflected that. It’s possible Alabama’s big second half against the Badgers slides the Tide into the No. 2 spot, but the guess here is that the Horned Frogs’ comfortable lead in the balloting coming into the weekend won’t disappear entirely.
3. Alabama (3). The Tide played the expected low-scoring, tightly contested first half vs. Wisconsin in Arlington … and then blew the Badgers out in the second in their best nonconference performance since routing Virginia Tech to start 2013 (and arguably longer than that). Jake Coker played quarterback like an Alabama quarterback, and against the Badgers, that was more than enough.
4. Baylor (4). 21 first-half points given up to Chad Morris’ SMU offense awakened some of those same old “but how good’s the defense?” questions, but those can only get so loud when Seth Russell looks that good in his first start.
5. Michigan State (5). The Spartans weren’t able to put away stubborn Western Michigan until late, but there’s a chance a win in Kalamazoo over the potential MAC champs by any score looks better at the end of the season than it might now. And besides: once they took a sizable second-half lead, could you really blame the Spartans for looking ahead to next week, when next week brings Oregon to town for the biggest nonconference game East Lansing’s seen in years?
6. Auburn (6). Will Muschamp’s new-look defense got smoked in the second half by Louisville freshman quarterback Lamar Jackson, but the Tigers’ defensive line looks like it could be one of the nation’s best.
7. Oregon (7). The Ducks didn’t have an easy time of it against Vernon Adams’ old friends at Eastern Washington, but no one has an easy time of it against Eastern Washington, and 61 points is 61 points. Until the hit that took him out of the game, Vernon Adams was as Oregon a quarterback as any other Oregon quarterback who has come through Eugene of late. Of course, 42 points allowed to an FCS team is 42 points allowed to an FCS team, too — and Connor Cook and Co. aren’t going to be any less of a challenge, it’s safe to say.
8. USC (8). Steve Sarkisian put his recent off-field troubles behind him in a late-night demolition of Arkansas State in which the Trojans looked good in all phases. Of course, the Trojans looked good in all phases against lesser competition from time-to-time last season, too.
9. Georgia (9). Greyson Lambert and Nick Chubb looked the way Georgia fans had to hope Greyson Lambert and Nick Chubb would look against ULM.
10. Florida State (10). After a lightning delay and some early hiccups, the Seminoles turned on the afterburners against Texas State. Everett Golson’s debut: 19 for 25, 302 yards, four touchdowns. Not too shabby.
11. Notre Dame (11). With 10 starters plus KeiVarae Russell back, the Irish defense played as advertised vs. Texas. The surprise was the Irish offense, which behind Malik Zaire put up 38 points on Charlie Strong’s defense — and gave Notre Dame arguably the most impressive win by any ranked team in Week 1. A bump into the top 10 wouldn’t be a shock … except that the three teams in front of them all handled their business in appropriate fashion, too.
13. UCLA (13). Against Virginia, Josh Rosen was every ounce as good as his advance hype. Look out.
14. LSU (14). The Tigers’ scheduled debut against McNeese State was canceled by a bout of lightning and rain, meaning Les Miles will have to prepare for next week’s game against Mississippi State without the benefit of a warmup. (Then again, the Bulldogs will have to play without LSU film, so it perhaps evens out.)
15. Ole Miss (17). Chad Kelly’s debut went OK, we guess. Seventy-six points is all right, we suppose.
16. Georgia Tech (16). Alcorn State hopefully got a nice check after their visit to Atlanta, because the Yellow Jackets didn’t show a whole lot of welcoming hospitality.
17. Arkansas (18). You didn’t watch the Hogs blow out UTEP, so take our word for it: Brandon Allen made some stunningly pretty throws for touchdowns in this game. If he’s as improved as the folks in Fayetteville believe, this becomes an even more intriguing team.
18. Oklahoma (19). The Sooners didn’t have any problems with Akron as the overhauled offense looked fine … and Bob Stoops’ defense looked even finer.
19. Texas A&M (NR). Arizona State came into Saturday night’s game the easily higher-ranked team, but the Aggies were the Vegas favorite, and they showed why in emphatic fashion in the fourth quarter. If John Chavis’ defense has improved as substantially as it appeared to have in Houston — when it held the Sun Devils to their lowest yards-per-play (3.6) since 2012 — SEC West contention isn’t out of the question.
21. Boise State (23). Chris Petersen’s return saw his old team outgain his new one 323-166 … and still need a missed Washington field goal to avoid overtime. The Broncos defense looked legit; the special teams and second-half offense, a bit less so.
22. Missouri (24). Could the Tigers find themselves in a quarterback controversy? Maty Mauk went 12 for 22 for 181 yards with an interception, while touted freshman Drew Lock hit 6 of 8 for 138. Don’t expect a change from Gary Pinkel anytime soon, but it’s a story that just might have legs.
23. Tennessee (25). Bowling Green’s Baylor-inspired aerial attack gave Tennessee’s defense surprising problems, but when you’re a MAC team playing an SEC team and you play Baylor-inspired defense as well …
24. Wisconsin (20). How much benefit of the doubt do the pollsters give the Badgers after not getting all-out crushed by Alabama … but not threatening the Tide whatsoever after halftime, either? In the past, pollsters have been plenty generous with teams that have fallen to teams as well-respected as the Tide, and a top 25 without the Badgers would feel strange enough that it’s hard to see the pollsters dropping them entirely. But depending on how voters feel about Arizona State and Northwestern, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
25. Northwestern (NR). If the pollsters keep Wisconsin around, the last spot in the poll should go to either the Wildcats, stunning 10-point victors against previously ranked Stanford, or previous No. 15 Arizona State. Going from No. 15 to out of the poll is quite the fall, and where Northwestern is concerned, going from zero votes to into the poll is quite the rise. But the Sun Devils struggled mightily with the Texas A&M defense, while Northwestern was in complete control of their game with the Cardinal from the second quarter on. Don’t be surprised if the voters find a way to reward the team that pulled off the most notable upset of Week 1.
Teams projected to drop out of top 25: Arizona State, Stanford
Teams also considered: Arizona State, Mississippi State, Utah
Source: CBS College FB