After what many called the “greatest” Week 1 in college football history, Week 2 was supposed to be a pushover for many ranked teams. Instead, for some it was a hangover, as they struggled against inferior competition.
Georgia needed a full sixty minutes to top FCS member Nicholls State. Clemson carried over their sluggish play against Auburn from a week ago to Week 2, as they barely beat Troy 30-24 after being favored by 34 points.
As a result two winners lost position in the college football power rankings of Week 3.
1. Alabama (2-0)
Previous Ranking: 1
Nick Saban may not have been impressed by his team’s performance against Western Kentucky, but the fact of the matter is the Crimson Tide is still the nation’s best team.
Jalen Hurts carried over his success against USC, tossing for 287 yards and two touchdowns versus the Hilltoppers. And that defense continues to play lights out, holding Western Kentucky to 23 yards on 22 attempts. Now they have to turn their attention to next Saturday’s showdown against Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss.
2. Florida State (2-0)
Previous Ranking: 2
The Seminoles may have started slow but they finished strong drubbing the depleted Charleston Southern 52-8. Freshman quarterback Deondre Francis was strong again, throwing for 262 yards and completing 78.1 percent of his passes. Now the Seminoles must get ready for its second showdown of the season, as they travel to Louisville to face the red hot Heisman frontrunner Lamar Jackson and the No. 13 Cardinals.
3. Houston (2-0)
Previous Ranking: 4
The Cougars did not need star quarterback Gary Ward Jr., as they steamrolled Lamar 42-0. But they will certainly want him on the field on a short turnaround Thursday at Cincinnati. The school says there was no structural damage to his injured right shoulder, but the notion of Ward being banged up could be a huge deal for Tom Herman and his No. 3 Cougars. The Bearcats posed a huge threat to Houston’s college football playoff hopes, even with Ward being 100 percent.
4. Michigan (2-0)
Previous Ranking: 5
Coming off a blowout win over Hawaii to open the season, the Wolverines continued their momentum rolling past a tougher Central Florida 51-14. The best defense in the nation outside of Alabama continues to flex their muscles. Next week the competition once again gets stiffer with a good test for new quarterback Wilton Speight, as Jim Harbaugh’s team faces the 2-0 Colorado Buffaloes.
5. Ohio State (2-0)
Previous Ranking: 6
The Buckeyes were impressive in yet another tune-up, as they rolled Tulsa 48-3. Urban Meyer’s group will face their biggest challenge thus far with a trip to Norman to take on Oklahoma.
6. Clemson (2-0)
Previous Ranking: 3
Deshaun Watson has lost his grip on the Heisman trophy after two unimpressive games to start the season. Against Troy, Watson completed 27 of 53 passes for 292 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. He must iron out his deficiencies before their Thursday night slate against Georgia Tech on Sept. 22. Watson and the Tigers will get another tune-up against South Carolina State beforehand.
7. Washington (2-0)
Previous Ranking: 7
Jake Browning made up for his lackluster start last week going near perfect against Idaho. He completed 23 of 28 passes for 294 yards and five touchdowns. Meanwhile Myles Gaskin showed glimpses in limited work. The Huskies are primed for a great season under Chris Petersen. Still we have to wait until their Pac-12 schedule opens up in a couple weeks against Arizona before we really get to see how good they are (or not). Next week they face FCS member Portland State.
8. Stanford (1-0)
Previous Ranking: 8
Stanford was idle in Week 2, as they gear up with for their showdown with USC Saturday night in Palo Alto. The Cardinal will look to defend their Pac-12 title, while USC will look to avoid suffering their second loss to a top-10 team this season.
9. Tennessee (2-0)
Previous Ranking: 10
For the first 15 minutes against Virginia Tech, Tennessee looked much like the team that stalled against Appalachian State a week before. Then the Volunteers defense went in another gear, forcing and recovering five fumbles of the Hokies. Head coach Butch Jones will have to figure out how to get his guys to start fast, especially an offense that amassed just 91 yards rushing against the Hokies. They have a home date with Ohio next week.
10. Wisconsin (2-0)
Previous Ranking: 12
Akron is no LSU or Iowa, but a 44-point victory over the Zips was still impressive for Wisconsin. It was enough to bump them up two more spots into the top 10. Again, I’ve been high on the Badgers before their win over LSU in Green Bay. They’ll get another tune-up as they host Sun Belt Conference member Georgia State in Madison next week.
11. Georgia (2-0)
Previous Ranking: 9
Kirby Smart and his Georgia Bulldogs may have gotten a reality check? Freshman Jacob Eason was not as magical as he was last week against the Tar Heels of North Carolina. Quarterback play continues to be biggest question mark. And an answer is much needed soon to alleviate the pressure from running back Nick Chubb. A date next week at Missouri may be a bit more challenging than expected for the Bulldogs.
12. Oklahoma (1-1)
Previous Ranking: 11
The Sooners took care of business against Louisiana-Monroe, and kudos for them considering how some teams approached Week 2 against lesser competition. But the season for Oklahoma comes down to next week against Ohio State. A win puts the Sooners right back into the CFB playoffs conversation. A loss and let’s hope big game losses don’t carry over into Big 12 play.
13. Louisville (2-0)
Previous Ranking: 15
Lamar Jackson is on a roll. After his historic eight-touchdown performance against Syracuse, Jackson has totaled 13 touchdowns on the season. No. 13 may seem a bit low for the Cardinals, but don’t fret a win next week against No. 2 Florida State and they will not have to worry about what ranking they have in any poll or power rankings.
14. Notre Dame (1-1)
Previous Ranking: 14
Notre Dame got back on track with a 39-10 win over Nevada. DeShone Kizer maintained his efficiency in a modest performance. He completed 15 of 18 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns (he threw one interception) while adding 35 yards and another score on the ground. After appearing to shake off the disappointment of losing at Texas in Week 1, Notre Dame now has to get focused on a visit from No. 18 Michigan State.
15. LSU (1-1)
Previous Ranking: 13
Les Miles had no choice but to pull the plug on Brandon Harris at quarterback after the offense sputtered in the first quarter against Jacksonville State. Danny Etling came in and gave the Tigers a spark they had been missing against Wisconsin the week prior and early on against Gamecocks. But the Purdue transfer was not all that accurate going 6 of 14 passing. You can see why Miles was uncommitted when asked about who will start next week against Mississippi State. Whoever he gives the reins to, must be prepared to move the chains, because they’ll be facing a hungry and upset Bulldogs team that still trying to shake the bad taste of losing to South Alabama in Week 1.
16. Baylor (2-0)
Previous Ranking: 19
Contrary to popular belief, Baylor, not Texas, is currently the Big 12’s second-best team. Yes, they struggled in the first half against SMU, but they got their gears in check in the second half. Seth Russell looked the part and the offense revved up. Many may point to their cupcake scheduling, but this purist who loves great regional rivalries, likes the fact the Bears have not forgotten about old Southwestern Conference mates and Big 12 throwaways SMU and Rice.
17. Ole Miss (1-1)
Previous Ranking: 17
Ole Miss bounced back, sorta, against Wofford. Nonetheless they could be Mississippi State. Meanwhile their season can get right back on track and echoes of SEC West division title with a third straight win over No. 1 Alabama. We shall see.
18. Michigan State (1-0)
Previous Ranking: 18
The Spartans were idle in Week 2. They will jump right back into motion with a trip to South Bend to face No. 14 Notre Dame Saturday night. The East Lansing faithful will hope a week off has allowed them to shake off the sluggish performance against Furman in Week 1.
19. Iowa (2-0)
Previous Ranking: 20
Iowa was able to beat their in-state rivals Iowa State for the second straight year. The defense looked dominant for the second straight week. Now the Hawkeyes will face the five-time defending FCS national champion North Dakota State. That game may better than many expect.
20. Texas (2-0)
Previous Ranking: 25
Okay, Shane Buechele proved he was no fluke. The freshman completed 22 of 27 passes for 244 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions, as the Longhorns whipped UTEP 41-7. And they didn’t even need their “18-wheeler formation.”
Next week, Texas will try to extract revenge against California, who beat the Longhorns lost to 45-44 last year.
21. Texas A&M (2-0)
Previous Ranking: 21
Prairie View was no match for the Aggies. Trevor Knight was sound throwing for 344 yards and three touchdowns against one interception. Now the Kevin Sumlin’s team will shift focus to Auburn, who is a solid measuring stick. The outcome of the game will go a long way as to where SEC West teams will line up for bowl season.
22. North Carolina (1-1)
Previous Rankings: 22
Plenty have jumped off the North Carolina bandwagon, but not I. They are still the fourth-best team in the ACC, and tops in the Coastal division until proven otherwise. Mitch Trubisky got the ball to his weapons and boom the Tar Heels offense took off against Illinois. He completed 19 of 24 passes for 265 yards and two touchdowns. Elijah Hood rushed for 88 yards and two scores. Good to see them get back on track after a tough loss to Georgia.
North Carolina has one more tune-up — against James Madison — before their stretch of death, as they’ll play Pittsburgh, at Florida State, Virginia Tech, and at Miami (FL) in four consecutive weeks.
23. Oregon (2-0)
Previous Ranking: 23
Oregon is 2-0 as expected after Dakota Prukop was able to carve up the Virginia Cavaliers’ defense. Now the Ducks will get their biggest challenge thus far this season when they travel to Lincoln to face Nebraska in a pivotal Pac-12-Big Ten matchup.
24. San Diego State (2-0)
Previous Ranking: 24
Donnel Pumphrey is now San Diego State’s all-time leading rusher, surpassing the Aztec legend Marshall Faulk with a strong performance of 281 yards rushing and three touchdowns against California. The Aztecs, who should steamroll through their Mountain West competition until their inevitable matchup against Boise State in the MWC Championship, needed this win to solidify their position. They will have to avoid the trap game Saturday as they travel to Northern Illinois to face the Huskies.
25. Florida (2-0)
Previous Ranking: NR
The Gators debunked any concerns with an impressive 45-7 win over Kentucky. They outgained the Wildcats 564-149. Florida has outscored their first two opponents 69-14. They will get a visit from North Texas on Saturday before they travel to Knoxville to face Tennessee on Sept. 24.
First Five Out
Arkansas, TCU, Miami, Pittsburgh, UCLA