In a rough week for the state of Alabama, Auburn falls out of the Top 25, likely for the remainder of the season, and Alabama tumbles after a rough loss to Ole Miss. Despite the Yellowhammer State’s troubles, the SEC positions four teams in the top ten.
25. Temple (3-0)—The Owls squeaked by UMass but remain the class of the American so far. Could they face the Irish on Halloween undefeated?
24. USC (2-1)—Since the Carroll era, the Trojans have not been able to put it all together, and that held true this week. They endured a serious setback in their loss against the Cardinal, but this is still a talented team.
23. Oklahoma State (3-0)—The Cowboys avoid playing a ranked team until November. They likely continue to win, and rise, for at least several more weeks.
22. Cal (3-0)—Beating Texas no longer means much, but the Bears won in Austin on the arm of the man who might be the nation’s top QB: Jared Goff.
21. Utah (3-0)—The Utes moved to 3-0 ahead of challenging contests against Oregon and Cal. For the PAC 12, the lack of elite teams worries, but conference boasts depth.
20. Stanford (2-1)—After a rough start against Northwestern, Kevin Hogan and the Cardinal rebounded nicely. They should get past the Beavers next week to set up a big PAC 12 matchup against the Arizona Wildcats.
19. Miami (3-0)—The Hurricanes controlled until the end against Nebraska. With Al Golden on the hot seat, this team needs to play complete games against the tougher foes on its schedule.
18. Arizona (3-0)—We begin to learn about this team in the coming weeks. UCLA and then Stanford await the Wildcats, who passed through a weak early schedule.
17. Georgia Tech (2-1)—My “darling” team lost to the Irish, but it played as a tight contest. The Yellow Jackets will be a force in the ACC and could play spoiler late in the year against the Dawgs.
16. Northwestern (3-0)—The victory over Stanford looks more impressive this week, and observers underrate the 19-10 win against Duke. Pat Fitzgerald’s toughest remaining opponent looks like Wisconsin in a schedule that could take the Wildcats to the Big Ten title game.
15. Oklahoma (3-0)—I am still not sold on the Sooners. But the team’s quarterback plays very well and the Sooners do not face a decent opponent until November.
14. Clemson (3-0)—Now through the easy part of the schedule, the Tigers face Notre Dame and Georgia Tech after a bye this coming week.
13. Oregon (2-1)—Giving up that many points to Georgia State alarms, but the Ducks still possess a chance to fly in an increasingly weak looking PAC 12.
12. Alabama (2-1)—Ole Miss has the Tide’s number. Still, this is a talented team that definitely remains poised to be the best in state in 2015.
11. Florida State (3-0)—Beating Boston College 14-0 goes with the rest of the season: unimpressive. The Seminoles are not the team they have been the last two years. The team gets a bye next week.
10. LSU (3-0)—LSU rounds out the Four SEC teams in the top 10. It is not clear how to view their dominating performance over Auburn, whether to see it as a win over a very talented, highly ranked team in the preseason or a victory over a program on the way down. Either way, the Bayou Bengals look good early.
9. Georgia (3-0)—The major question mark for the Bulldogs was their quarterback play. Greyson Lambert answered those questions in a rout of South Carolina on Saturday.
8. Texas A&M (3-0)—This much is clear: the Aggies have one of the nation’s best freshmen again in 2015. Christian Kirk is a standout, and Kevin Sumlin’s team could be 5-0 when they play Alabama in mid-October.
7. UCLA (3-0)—The freshman QB looked terrible for the Bruins, but Paul Perkins came up big for the second straight week. UCLA survives to travel to undefeated Arizona this week.
6. Notre Dame (3-0)—At the beginning of the season, many were higher on the Irish than I was. Now, I tend to think Notre Dame has positioned themselves to make a run for the playoffs. The team goes to Clemson on 10/3 in a season-defining matchup.
5. Baylor (3-0)—The Bears did not play this week, but the bye week is insignificant for a team that will not be tested until November.
4. TCU (3-0)—It is official. Trevone Boykin is back in a big way, and the strong performance over SMU keeps the Horned Frogs ahead of Baylor this week.
3. Michigan State (3-0)—Connor Cook threw for four touchdowns against Air Force. The Spartans are not a team that will blow teams out, but the win against Oregon keeps them as a projected playoff team.
2. Ole Miss (3-0)—An overreaction? Maybe. Nevertheless, it is easy to make the case that there is not a team in college football that has looked as strong as the Rebels in 2015. Vanderbilt, Florida, New Mexico State, and Memphis are the next four games so it is hard to imagine Hugh Freeze’s team not entering Texas A&M 7-0.
1. Ohio State (3-0)—This was an ugly win for a Buckeyes team that appears as though they read too many press clippings. Erratic quarterback play is a surprising characteristic of the defending champs who clearly need to regroup.