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Tomorrow’s Top 25 Today: Oklahoma tops Clemson as Penn State and Oregon rise in college football rankings

College football offered a smorgasbord for fans in Week 3 given the wide range of scores, results and highlights that featured in Saturday’s games. While this week reminded fans why they love the game, it’s also the kind of week that gives AP Top 25 voters headaches as they try to round up the latest college football rankings to be released Sunday. .

How much of a boost should Oregon get after their dominant win against a highly ranked BYU team? Should Michigan State drop completely from No. 11 to out of the standings after tanking against Washington? Arkansas avoided an upset against Missouri State, but did the Razorbacks look like a top-10 team when Bobby Petrino’s team pushed them to the limit on their return to campus? Should Florida drop out of the rankings after being pushed to the brink by a South Florida team that has been one of the worst in the nation the past two seasons? Perhaps most interesting: Which unranked teams should be in the top 25, and Hail Mary’s absolutely incredible results should be a bonus point when it comes to ranking the best teams in the country?

Fortunately, there are some decisions that will be easy and we feel confident that we can predict them here in our weekly projection of the updated college football rankings. Penn State will be one of the most notable movers after its victory at Auburn, not only for not only posting one of the program’s biggest non-conference wins since joining the Big Ten, but also for the form it displayed in the victory. Considering Saturday’s events, it appears the Nittany Lions are much closer to Ohio State and Michigan, still in the top four after dominant wins, then the rest of the pack in the Big Ten.

Oregon and Washington also offered some positive headlines for the Pac-12 with non-conference wins, as they bolstered the league’s profile with wins against opponents ranked among the top 12 teams in last week’s standings. The Ducks will be somewhat limited by their only loss (despite the fact that they reached No. 1 Georgia), while the Huskies’ ceiling is only limited by the fact that they weren’t included on a single ballot as one of the top 25 teams for the weekend. .

Here’s what we think the new AP Top 25 will look like on Sunday when the new college football rankings are released.

1.Georgia (Last week — 1): It took more than 11 quarters of action before Georgia finally let an opponent into the end zone, but it happened. Still, the Bulldogs showed no signs of being anything other than the best team in the country in a dominant win over South Carolina.

2. Alabama (2): An early offensive burst was predictable, but the way the Crimson Tide spilled it in a 63-7 win against ULM suggests there was plenty of motivation in the narrow win against Texas.

3. Ohio State (3): It was good to see Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Julian Fleming healthy again for this Ohio State offense, which was relentless and methodical through all four quarters in a 77-21 win against Toledo. It was also a good game to bring CJ Stroud back into the Heisman Trophy spotlight with 367 yards and five touchdowns on 22-of-27 passing.

4. Michigan (4): An injury to Cade McNamara ends up being the biggest headline in the Wolverines’ 59-0 victory against UConn, as another inferior opponent offers little resistance for the reigning Big Ten champions. Up next is the conference opener against Maryland, which should provide a decent test for Michigan’s defense, but won’t exactly be a popular surprise pick given the way Jim Harbaugh’s team is operating on both sides of the ball.

5. Oklahoma (6): Last week, less than 100 voting points separated Oklahoma from Clemson, so we forecast a slight advance after the Sooners’ impressive 49-14 win at Nebraska. The Cornhuskers may have been a wild card in terms of expectations following the firing of Scott Frost, but a complete road win would be impressive against any Power Five opponent. Oklahoma came out in front early and cruised the rest of the way, allowing just one touchdown on Nebraska’s first drive of the game and another in garbage time with the contest decided.

6. Clemson (5): The Tigers have a strong enough defense to win the ACC, but until the offense gets a little more explosive and consistent, Clemson will be hard to call one of the best teams in the country. A 48-20 win against Louisiana Tech only brings more attention to those offensive issues, which could cost the Tigers a spot in the standings.

7. USC (7): Beating up Fresno State won’t do much for AP voters, but the performance raised an important question regarding this team’s ceiling in coach Lincoln Riley’s first year. As long as the offense, with 40-plus points in all three games, is performing at this level, is there anyone on the schedule who can get past the Trojans?

8. Oklahoma State (8): No major changes for the Cowboys after a 63-7 victory against FCS Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

9. Kentucky (9): A 31-0 shutout of Youngstown State brings the spotlight back to a Kentucky defense that was a key piece in last week’s win at Florida and has allowed fewer than 17 points in three wins so far this season.

10.Arkansas (10): There may not be an obvious candidate to overtake the Razorbacks in the standings, but some voters will criticize Arkansas for needing a 21-point fourth quarter to escape Bobby Petrino’s surprise offer with Missouri State. The 38-27 win is enough to stave off a complete collapse of the standings, for now, as Arkansas’ attention turns to Texas A&M in Week 4.

11. Tennessee (15): An undefeated record and an away win against a ranked opponent give the Volunteers a profile that will make them candidates for elevation in the wake of some changes. The 57-point win against Akron is just a showcase for what has already been. it’s brewing when it comes to the hype of Tennessee heading into next week’s SEC in CBS’ Game of the Week against Florida.

12. State of Pennsylvania (22): The final standings will be a mix of several different places in the 60+ AP Top 25 ballots, but ultimately our thinking is that this is a 3-0 team with two road wins against Power Five opponents. Add in the big SEC on the CBS stage and the lopsided nature of the 41-12 win at Auburn, and the Nittany Lions are likely to be one of the most significant rises in the standings.

13.Washington (NR): It looks like Michael Penix and Washington have been able to provide all the offense Huskies fans were looking for last season in just three games, and have the same level of success against a top team like Michigan State as Kent State and Portland State suggest. that this is one of the best teams in the Pac-12.

14. Utah (14): Utah took care of business against San Diego State, leaving no doubt with a three-touchdown lead at halftime and sailing to a comfortable win. The loss to Florida remains a weight that lowers the Utes’ ranking ceiling, but the product on the field is still strong enough to hold their position in the polls.

15. States of North Carolina (16): The Wolfpack defense kept Texas Tech in check in an impressive 27-14 home win to improve to 3-0.

16. Oregon (25): Bo Nix and the Ducks have quickly found their footing after a tough season-opening loss to Georgia. According to 247Sports’ Matt Prehm, Oregon’s first-team offense scored on 13 straight drives after failing to score a touchdown against the Bulldogs in Game 1. It was seven straight scoring drives in the win against Eastern Washington and six straight scoring drives to start in the 41-20 win against BYU.

17. BYU (12): The Cougars fell short at wide receiver and along the defensive line, but that doesn’t excuse the ease with which Oregon was able to move the ball in the Ducks’ 21-point win. BYU’s drop in the standings is limited thanks to its win over Baylor, and the Bears should stay close to their previous spot after a 35-point win against Texas State.

18 Texas A&M (24): A quarterback trade from Haynes King to Max Johnson didn’t yield dramatically different results on offense, but the Aggies’ defense stepped up in a 17-9 win against Miami. The key to the game was how Texas A&M forced field goals when Miami had scoring opportunities, a habit that will be even more necessary in the upcoming games against Arkansas and Mississippi State.

19. Baylor (17): The halftime score was much more of a concern than the finals, but a slow start after an overtime road loss at BYU isn’t enough of a red flag to spark any major changes in the standings. The final score seems in sync with pregame expectations, and that’s all that matters to some voters.

20. Old Miss (20): AP voters won’t be adjusting after a 42-0 victory at Georgia Tech, but the result should turn heads in the SEC, as the Rebels appear to be rounding out as a truly dangerous team heading into the conference.

21.Texas (21): Texas trailed 17-7 with 9:38 left in the first half only to outrun UTSA 34-3 the rest of the game to improve to 2-1. West Virginia is next before the schedule gets much tougher. Bijan Robinson had a 78-yard touchdown run as part of his 183-yard, three-touchdown run on the night.

22. Wake Forest (19): There were plenty of near misses for the qualified teams and not all will be treated the same, but the 37-36 win against Liberty will elicit some reactions from voters who were perhaps already a bit below the Demon Deacons.

23. Pittsburgh (23): Until his third quarterback, Pitt was able to maintain his ranking status with a 34-13 victory against Western Michigan.

24.Miami (13): The Hurricanes offense failed to make it to the end zone against Texas A&M, and though Miami was never out of the game. the lack of success in the passing attack made it difficult for Miami to truly threaten an upset against Texas A&M. Depending on the opponent, the setting, and the point spread, this wasn’t a bad loss, but voters will have a hard time arguing for a top 15 or even top 20 on their ballots with Miami’s only wins against Bethune-Cookman and Southern Miss. .

25. Florida (18): While Florida’s near-surprise at the hands of USF will lead to a drop in the standings, the win over Utah still carries enough weight early in the season to keep the Gators inside the top 25.

Projected to leave: Michigan State (No. 11)


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