Finally, a weekend with some major shake ups in the top 10 of the college football rankings. These kind of weeks will become more common in conference play, but Week 3 provided some of the first significant adjustments to the College Football Playoff picture with Auburn and Wisconsin both taking their first loss of the season.
Other teams, like USC, have played their way out of the top 25 early in the season with a 1-2 start, all the while the big five at the top — Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State and Oklahoma — continue to pass every test put in their way and separate themselves from the rest of the contenders.
You can say Week 3 was epic, but college football seasons past have taught us that it’s nothing compared to what’s coming up later in the year. With that, here’s how we think the new AP Top 25 poll will look on Sunday:
1. Alabama (Last week: 1): Every time that Alabama takes the field with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, I’m going to assume they are capable of scoring 50 points because we’ve seen it now three weeks in a row. That said, there is not an expectation that it happens again next week against Texas A&M, but I will say it wouldn’t surprise me.
2. Clemson (2): It was a clunky game against Georgia Southern that’s probably most notable for QB Kelly Bryant missing the second half after taking a hit to the head. This is where Dabo Swinney gets live with the comfort that he’s got not just one but two quarterbacks who can lead the Tigers to a national championship.
3. Georgia (3): Jake Fromm and Justin Fields combined to throw four touchdowns and just four interceptions in a 49-7 win against Middle Tennessee. Georgia’s success might be overlooked a bit because of the weekly performances we’ve seen from Alabama, but the Bulldogs are every bit of the SEC Championship caliber team that the Tide are through three weeks of play.
4. Ohio State (4): Theis certainly worth monitoring, but this with him out of the lineup and has enough talent to preach the “next man up” mentality and know that there is another high-ceiling talent waiting in the wings.
5. Oklahoma (5): Iowa State was a tough foe and a fair test for new Oklahoma starting running back Trey Sermon, and his 71-yard performance should be counted on as a positive as theas a national championship contender.
6. LSU (12): Voters are going tothat could have the Tigers sniffing the top five, but ultimately two quality wins away from home are not going to be enough to believe that LSU is going to beat Oklahoma on a neutral field. Not yet, at least.
7. Notre Dame (8): Brian Kelly is back in his groove with a two-quarterback system, using Brandon Wimbush and Ian Book to run the offense while the defense remains the most consistent part of this team.
8. Stanford (9): No Bryce Love in the lineup. Is that a serious concern for the season or just David Shaw taking care of his most potent offensive talent while the rest of the Cardinal roster handled UC Davis.
9. Washington (10): The Huskies are in action on the road at Utah.
10. Penn State (11): Not too much movement other than sliding up as other teams move down for Penn State after beating Kent State 63-10.
11. Auburn (7): This is where it will be interesting to see how the voters handle Auburn. On one hand, if you consider LSU to be one of the best teams in the country thenshouldn’t result in a huge penalty in the polls. But the way the loss came about, giving a second half lead away at home, has changed the perception of this team.
12. Virginia Tech (13): The Hokies did not play in Week 3 because of a cancellation/postponement due to Hurricane Florience.
13. West Virginia (14): The Mountaineers did not play in Week 3 because of a cancellation/postponement due to Hurricane Florience.
14. Mississippi State (16): The Bulldogs put a hurting on Louisiana, rolling to a 56-10 win that has done nothing to dissuade voters from the idea that the Bulldogs have one of the most dangerous offenses in the SEC, if not the country.
15. Oklahoma State (24): Taylor Cornelius was dynamic to the point of possibly surprising Boise State with his ability to run, but theis worth noticing as we move into the Big 12 conference schedule. If you thought Oklahoma State was going to take a step back after the loss of Mason Rudolph, Saturday’s performance ducks that expectation as now the Cowboys look like a threat to their Bedlam rivals in the Big 12.
16. UCF (18): The Knights were off in Week 3 because of a cancellation/postponement due to Hurricane Florence.
17. TCU (15): There was enough speed on the field to match Ohio State, but once the game broke open in the second half, the. A strong showing from Gary Patterson’s squad in the top-billed non-conference game of the weekend shouldn’t result in a big drop.
18. Michigan (19): The Wolverines kept the good offensive mojo flowing, this time as Shea Patterson and talented wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones connected for three touchdowns in a 25-point win against SMU. As the Big Ten schedule starts, Michigan’s outlook looks favorable to keep this winning streak going into October.
19. Oregon (20): An up-and-down performance against San Jose State likely went under the radar for most AP poll voters. No big movement, but certainly reason to start second-guessing any of those early “Ducks can upset Stanford.”
20. Miami (21): Hard to know what to make of Malik Roser’s five-touchdown performance against Toledo. There’s a talented quarterback room at Miami and younger players with high ceilings, but Mark Richt has ridden with Rosier, the veteran, for the last two years. After struggling mightily against LSU, Rosier should have another opportunity to put together another good performance next week against FIU.
21. Wisconsin (6): The Badgers got a first-place vote coming into the season, and that voter has maintained their stance that Wisconsin is the best team in the country through two weeks of play. That is certain to change, as is Wisconsin’s top-10 status.than it showed in the game, and while taking this loss does not change it’s ability to win the Big Ten it severely damages the Badgers’ College Football Playoff chances.
22. Arizona State (23): The Sun Devils are in action on the road against San Diego State.
23. Michigan State (25): The Spartans were off in Week 3.
24. Boston College (NR): The Eagles join, as two of the teams taking advantage of an ACC Atlantic that, other than Clemson, seems ready for some shake up here in 2018. A high-scoring win against Boston College makes this team 8-2 when star running back A.J. Dillon is in the lineup.
25. Boise State (17): After a week of hype and talk of reviving the “BCS Busters’ status in the College Football Playoff, the Broncos got bullied by Oklahoma State at the line of scrimmage. This is a good football team that should definitely still be considered among the best Group of Five teams in the country, but Boise State fumbled its statement game opportunity.
Projected to drop out: USC (22)