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College Football Power Rankings: The overreaction to a great Week 1

College Football power rankings: Yes, the overreaction to the first full weekend in college football

The first full weekend of the 2016 college football season was full of excitement — dubbed the “best ever” opening weekend lived up to the build.

Alabama showed how superior they are by drubbing a highly-ranked USC team. Meanwhile we got some of the best games one has seen in recent memory all in one weekend with Clemson and Auburn, Georgia and North Carolina, and Texas A&M and UCLA. The weekend was capped with the “Game of the Year” candidate when Texas upset Notre Dame in double overtime, and Florida State pulling off the program’s biggest comeback, rallying past Ole Miss.

So many story lines and turn of events to consider in the season’s first CFB25, and I have not mentioned Houston’s upset of Oklahoma.

One thing Week 1 proved is it’s a lot of football to be played before the College Football Playoffs are shaped. But here is how things stand after the opening weekend:

1. Alabama (1-0)

If there was any doubts about how good the defending national champions are, they were put to rest, as the Crimson Tide drubbed USC 52-6. That defense dominated the Trojans for four quarters, holding them to 194 yards of total offense. With a defense like that, who cares who plays quarterback, right?

But when you have a quarterback like Jalen Hurts, it does not hurt (excuse the pun). He gives the Tide a dynamic they’ve not had in quite some time, in fact ever under Nick Saban. His athleticism all of a sudden makes the Tide’s offense dynamic. Grouping him and Damien Harris together could make Alabama’s offense two-dimensional now with running AND passing. That does not bode well for the rest of the SEC and the country.

Conference: SEC (West)

Next Week: vs. Western Kentucky

2. Florida State (1-0)

For the first 30 minutes of their Monday night contest with Ole Miss, Florida State looked much overhyped. Then Deondre Francis happened. The redshirt freshman lit up the Ole Miss defense, amassing 419 yards passing and two touchdowns. The defense figured out the Ole Miss offense, in much part they weren’t being given bad field position. They intercepted Chad Kelly three times. But most importantly they neutralized the Rebels’ running game, holding them to 2.7 yards per game.

Now that Florida State-Clemson matchup on Oct. 29 in Tallahassee means even more than it already has.

Conference: ACC (Atlantic)

Next Week: vs. Charleston Southern

3. Clemson (1-0)

Clemson looked nothing like the team I’ve picked to win the National Championship. The addition of a healthy Mike Williams at wide receiver, proved huge, but did not make the Clemson Tigers more dynamic against the Auburn Tigers. Yes, Auburn is better than many will give credit, and they should prove that in the next coming weeks, but Clemson entered Saturday the best team in the country in my opinion, the score was a bit too close than it should have been for a national title favorite.

With that said, look for Clemson and Florida State to flip-flop positions throughout the season until the day after their Oct. 29 meeting.

One thing is clear, quarterback Deshaun Watson has lost his grip to the Heisman trophy. In fact I would put him around third or fourth if I had to rank them after Week 1. It will be up to him to prove it’s his trophy to lose.

Conference: ACC (Atlantic)

Next Week: vs. Troy

4. Houston (1-0)

Houston’s “upset” over Oklahoma was no upset to me. I fully expected the Cougars to beat Oklahoma and prove why they belong in the College Football Playoffs. Tom Herman has done a wonderful job with Houston, and after Saturday’s outcome, I get why the Big 12 adding the Cougars would not be that much beneficial to the conference.

With Herman in charge and their recruiting gold mine, they could be the Florida State or Virginia Tech of the ACC, in regards to becoming the new kid on the block and dominating. Heck, TCU is already the Big 12’s Florida State. The blue bloods don’t have room for another.

As for this season, Houston will have to avoid a slip up in the American Athletic Conference, which is vastly underrated. Then their Nov. 17 matchup with Louisville, who has a great chance to be a top-10 team this season, will make or break the Cougars’ season.

Conference: American Athletic (West)

Next Week: vs. Lamar

5. Michigan (1-0)

The Wolverines got off to a great start rolling through Hawaii 63-3. While the Wolverines are a top-5 team, my pick to win the Big Ten, let’s not get too excited about them beating a tired Hawaii team that was no match for Michigan to begin with, especially when you throw in the fact they already played a game in Australia against California on Aug. 31 then had to fly home then to Ann Arbor, Mich. to play the Wolverines seven days later.

We will have to wait to see if Michigan is ready for pressure of being back at the top. That’s why Houston leaped Michigan for the No. 4 spot this week. But Michigan will have ample opportunity to show why they belong in the top-4 and getting a chance to play for the national championship.

Conference: Big Ten (East)

Next Week: UCF

6. Ohio State (1-0)

The Buckeyes were very impressive in their Week 1 win over Bowling Green, off the charts impressive. Ohio State amassed 776 yards of total offense. It was a balanced attacked at that, as they put up 417 passing yards and 359 yards rushing. J.T. Barrett put his name in the Heisman conversation throwing for 349 yards and six touchdowns.

Ohio State and Michigan will be much like Florida State and Clemson will be, until they meet their positioning in the rankings (KCM Sports CFB25, the polls) will be determined week-to-week.

Conference: Big Ten (East)

Next Week: Tulsa

7. Washington (1-0)

Jake Browning was not all that impressive. Myles Gaskin was not his normal self, and yet the Huskies won by 35. Yes, they beat Rutgers, one of the worst Power 5 teams in the nation, but, the Huskies’ win over the Scarlet Knights was more about the defense than the offense, and more of the narrative we will see this season for Chris Petersen’s team. The defense will carry this team far, real far in my opinion, all the way to the Pac-12 North title, and possibly the Pac-12 title.

The Huskies’ defense held Rutgers to 168 yards passing and 2.8 yards per carry rushing. They have enough offense that they can win 10 games, including beating Stanford.

Conference: Pac-12 (North)

Next Week: vs. Idaho

8. Stanford (1-0)

Christian McCaffrey became the frontrunner for the Heisman, and the defense looks just as strong as it was before. That’s about all you can say about the Cardinal. They beat a solid Kansas State team, but Stanford has a San Antonio Spurs theme about them. They just win; nothing outside of McCaffrey is all that exciting. They’re boring to a degree, and that could be a good and bad thing for the program.

It helps them to stay afloat to win 10 games or more — they’ve done that five of the last six seasons, but it hurts them win it comes to CFB playoff consideration or getting McCaffrey Heisman votes. They already have the stigma of playing in the Pac-12 which no one stays up to watch. The Cardinal must run the table and beat both Washington and Oregon, before they can get the elite level that they deserve.

Conference: Pac-12 (North)

Next Week: Bye

9. Georgia (1-0)

Outside of Leonard Fournette, Nick Chubb may be the most important running back in the SEC. Chubb, playing in his first game since suffering a knee injury on Oct. 10, 2015, rushed for 222 yards on 32 carries and two touchdowns. He rejuvenated the Bulldogs’ offense, carrying Georgia to rally past North Carolina, scoring 19 unanswered capped by Chubb’s incredible 55-yard touchdown run.

Now if the Bulldogs can settle their quarterback situation that lingered into Saturday’s game. Greyson Lambert struggled early, forcing head coach Kirby Smart to turn to freshman Jacob Easen. There is already talk both will take snaps against Nicholls State on Saturday. If they can settle that and get the passing game rolling to compliment Chubb, this Georgia team can be very dangerous, making the SEC East just as intriguing as the SEC West for the first time in quite some time.

Conference: SEC (East)

Next Week: vs. Nicholls State

10. Tennessee (1-0)

Did the Volunteers believe the hype too much or is Appalachian State that good? I want to believe the both, but the issue may be that Tennessee is not that good, at least not as good as the media has built them up to be. I have them winning the SEC East, preseason, but now after last Thursday’s performance, you have to wonder, were the expectations of Tennessee being really good this year, premature?

Saturday’s game in Bristol vs. Virginia Tech will tell a lot about Tennessee. The Hokies are an ACC Coastal dark horse. They will be a good measuring stick for Tennessee. Any slippage or struggles to victory or even a defeat, and look for the wheels to loosen and begin falling off for Butch Jones and his team. Anything short of a dominating victory and the Volunteers bandwagon will get much lighter.

Conference: SEC (East)

Next Week: vs. Virginia Tech (Bristol, Tenn.)

11. Oklahoma (0-1)

Before anyone is ready to jump off the Sooners’ bandwagon, keep this in mind, in the first two seasons of the CFB playoff, both national champions, lost early in the season. Heck, the Sooners made the playoffs last year despite losing to Texas.

The only issue for the Sooners is the fact they still have to face Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas, and TCU. In recent years, Bob Stoops’ teams have struggled in big games. With potentially five more big games left on the schedule, their loss to Houston is more alarming.

Conference: Big 12

Next Week: Louisiana-Monroe

12. Wisconsin (1-0)

The Badgers played hard-nosed, inspired football beating LSU 16-14. The aftermath saw them leap into the top 10 of the AP Poll, and everyone quickly jumping off the LSU bandwagon onto the Badgers bandwagon. Is it premature to jump them so high after just one win over a team without a good quarterback?

Well, I have them No. 12 this week, but for better reasons, that is because I believe they are good enough to win the Big Ten West and play for the Big Ten championship, not because of one win over an overrated LSU team. Time will tell if the leap they received in the AP or my prediction of them winning the Big Ten West will be justified.

Conference: Big Ten (West)

Next Week: Akron

13. LSU (0-1)

Les Miles must be thinking ‘It was all good just a week ago’ because after essentially cooling off his hot seat at the end of last season, he finds himself back on the very same hot seat. At the gist of his issues is the lack of development of his quarterback Brandon Harris.

Harris’ play was very detrimental to the Tigers against Wisconsin, so much so, Miles may have to consider his options at the position if he wants to turn the narrative of 2016 for him. Otherwise, there will be no Heisman for Fournette, no SEC West title, no CFB playoffs, and possibly no Les Miles in Baton Rouge by season’s end.

Conference: SEC West

Next Week: vs. Jacksonville State

14. Notre Dame (0-1)

Notre Dame should have beaten Texas, they should be in consideration for a top-5 spot, unfortunately the Fighting Irish did not beat Texas, are not top-5 material at this junction of the season, and all because of a lack of preparation. A lack of preparation and adjustment that ultimately falls back on head coach Brian Kelly.

The two-QB system was a disaster for the Fighting Irish from the onset. DeShone Kizer proved on the opening drive why he should be the lone No. 1 quarterback, and the more and more Malik Zaire’s series sputtered the more apparent it became. It was baffling it took Kelly midway through the third quarter to figure what everyone else in America saw. It was also baffling how bad the defense was, especially when Texas opted to Tyrone Swoopes and his run attack.

Kizer looks every bit of a top NFL draft pick and possibly Heisman candidate, but until Brian Kelly learns to stay out of his own way and the defense shores up, the narrative to Notre Dame’s season may change.

Conference: Independent

Next Week: vs. Nevada

15. Louisville (1-0)

Lamar Jackson asserted himself into the Heisman conversation with an impressive eight-touchdown performance last week against Charlotte.

The Cardinals are every bit the dark horse of the ACC. And they will play a vital role on whether the ACC gets one or two teams into the CFB playoffs. Clemson and Florida State could be getting company in the race for the ACC crown so mark your calendar for Sept. 17, when the Seminoles visit Louisville and Oct. 1, when Louisville travels to Clemson.

Conference: ACC (Atlantic)

Next Week: at Syracuse

16. TCU (1-0)

Kenny Hill threw for 439 yards, but the fact he threw two interceptions and the Horned Frogs actually trailed South Dakota State by as many as 10, and was tied as late as midway through the third quarter, makes you pump the brakes on TCU. All offense, no defense seems to be the issue with the Big 12 version of TCU. They will need to correct that with a loaded Big 12 conference to play in.

Conference: Big 12

Next Week: vs. Arkansas

17. Ole Miss (0-1)

Ole Miss lost more than just the game against Florida State on Monday. They will now have to move on from the devastating defeat without its best defensive back Kenny Webster, who suffered a gruesome knee injury that will force him to miss the rest of the season, and running back Eric Sweeney, who also suffered a knee injury and will miss the rest of the season.

How Hugh Freeze and his Rebels regroup will be the story the rest of the season in Oxford.

Conference: SEC (West)

Next Week: Wofford

18. Michigan State (1-0)

On a weekend that saw impressive wins by rivals Ohio State and Michigan, Michigan State was far from impressive with their 28-13 win over Furman. Penalties slowed their momentum for much of the game, as the Spartans amassed 10 penalties totaling 120 yards. Such a sloppy performance suggests that maybe the Spartans were overlooking Furman in anticipation of their Sept. 17 showdown with Notre Dame. We shall see.

Conference: Big Ten (East)

Next Week: Bye

19. Baylor (1-0)

It was great to see Seth Russell out on the field playing football after suffering a neck injury a season ago. He threw for four touchdowns in what was a great warmup to the season for the Baylor Bears. Amid the controversy and all the negative publicity, it was back to football for the Bears.

People forget this is a very good Baylor team that if not for their self-inflicted dark cloud they would be a popular pick for the Big 12 title. If they can get wins on the field, and reshape their program’s conduct off the field, they can pick up right where Art Briles left off with the program.

Conference: Big 12

Next Week: vs. SMU

20. Iowa (1-0)

The Hawkeyes have locked up head coach Kirk Ferentz for another 10 years, but the jury is still out on the Hawkeyes for this season. They’re schedule is much tougher than last year’s with North Dakota State and Michigan on the slate, not to mention their rematch with Wisconsin, who still steaming from last year’s 10-6 loss.

Conference: Big Ten (West)

Next Week: vs. Iowa State

21. Texas A&M (1-0)

The Aggies escaped with an overtime win over UCLA after building a 24-9 lead. The defense looked the part of good for most of the game, intercepting Josh Rosen three times. They have a sound defense when they bring it every snap, but can they outplay the rest of the SEC West, such as Alabama, LSU, Auburn, and Ole Miss, we shall see.

Conference: SEC (West)

Next Week: vs. Prairie View

22. North Carolina (0-1)

A lost to a really good Georgia team does not permit me to drop off the Tar Heels so fast. This team is really good that will are still the favorite to win the ACC Coastal division. The passing game has got to improve if they want to win in a very tough ACC conference, you cannot throw the ball 40 times and only total 156 yards. They will have a couple of weeks to get things on track with quarterback Mitch Trubisky with Illinois, James Madison, and the Citadel coming up,

They must find a way to get Ryan Switzer, Mack Hollins, and Bug Howard the football. And they need to do so before their stretch of death when they face Pittsburgh, Florida State, Virginia Tech, and Miami in four consecutive weeks.

Conference: ACC (Coastal)

Next Week: at Illinois

23. Oregon (1-0)

Oregon’s win over UC-Davis was as typical as you would expect. Dakota Prukop look solid, certainly not Marcus Mariota, Darron Thomas solid, but good enough to understand they will play a huge role in determining the Pac-12 North champion.

Conference: Pac-12 (North)

Next Week: vs. Virginia

24. San Diego State (1-0)

Yes, the Aztecs are one of the best teams in the nation, if for any reason, the projection of where they will end up at by season’s end. San Diego State will steamroll through their Mountain West schedule before their inevitable showdown with Boise State in the Mountain West Championship. So next week’s game against California will be their measuring stick for the rest of the nation. A win gets them noticed some, not on the level of Houston, but by some, a lost and nothing they do in the MWC will be relevant.

Conference: Mountain West (West)

Next Week: vs. California

25. Texas (1-0)

Sunday’s win was big for the Longhorns and head coach Charlie Strong. They seem to heading into the right direction and adds to the depth of the Big 12 Conference. With that said, one win over Notre Dame, a very good Notre Dame, won’t leap frog them in my eyes. Does this team has the capabilities of winning a bunch of games and ultimately moving up the rankings, yes, most definitely, but you have to see more.

The defense struggled to stop DeShone Kizer. Yes, Kizer may be the best pure passing quarterback in the nation, and there are only a handful of teams that can stop him, but there’s still a wait-and-see about Texas. One thing is for sure, Strong unlike Kelly knows how to use a two-QB system, and for it, Texas will be dangerous, very dangerous moving forward. Look out Big 12!

Conference: Big 12

Next Week: vs. UTEP

First Five Out:

Florida (1-0), UCLA (0-1), Oklahoma State (1-0), Miami (1-0), Utah (1-0)

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