College Football Rankings 2012: Projecting the Top Five Teams After Crazy Week

Scott CarasikContributor IISeptember 3, 2012

EUGENE, OR - SEPTEMBER 1:  Quarterback Bryan Bennett #2 of the Oregon Ducks passes against the Arkansas State Red Wolves on September 1, 2012 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images)
Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images

Top 25 polls are completely arbitrary in the preseason and based on assumptions heading into the new season. However, now that we have had a chance to see the top 10 teams play, it gives a better idea of who truly deserves to be in the top five. 

In projecting the top five teams, it always makes sense to look at the preseason top five—despite how arbitrary that is—to get a good baseline and then project based on game results. Using those guidelines, the following teams should be in the top five this coming week.

No. 5: Oklahoma Sooners

Damien Williams had an excellent game for the Sooners with 104 yards and a touchdown on just nine carries. The Sooners, however, didn't have the dominating performance that a top four team should have over a Western Athletic Conference team.

Kenny Stills also had a great game, with six catches for 121 yards and a touchdown. This could also just be a showing that UTEP is just a better team than advertised. However, there is no reason for Oklahoma to be ranked over a Ducks team that just looked better.

No. 4: Oregon Ducks

They have a freshman starting quarterback in Marcus Mariota and one of the better teams in college football surrounding him. The talent surrounding Mariota turned out to be vital, as the Ducks went up 50-3 to start the game off.

De'Anthony Thomas had an extremely dynamic game, with three touchdowns on just seven touches.

By looking downright dominant, the Ducks have earned the right to move up in the polls slightly. While the first week doesn't ever change the polls too much, this is an easy swap when the level of competition and how they won.

No. 3: Louisiana State Tigers

Louisiana State has earned the right to retain their spot in third place after defeating the North Texas Green Wave 41-14. They were led by Zach Mettenberger at quarterback in their first game this season, and he didn't inspire the confidence that a top three team's quarterback should.

However, their rushing game has been tremendous. They had three rushers with at least eight carries and 50 yards, and a pair of them with over 100 yards. Kenny Hilliard and Alfred Blue have both shown they could end up as starting-caliber NFL backs with their performance in this game.

No. 2: Southern California Trojans

Southern Cal is going to have the unfortunate luck of doing everything they need to do and still moving down from their No. 1 ranking in the polls. It's not very often that a team can win 49-10 and look worse than a team that wins 41-14, but that's exactly what happened.

They did establish a pair of Heisman contenders though between Marqise Lee and Matt Barkley. Both of them had great games, with Barkley going 23-for-38 (60.5 percent) for 372 yards and four touchdowns and no interceptions.

Lee had 10 catches for 197 yards and a touchdown. He also had a 100-yard touchdown on a kickoff return as well. Both men looked great in their first performance together.

No. 1: Alabama Crimson Tide

Normally, demolishing a football team 41-14 doesn't mean anything in the first game of the season. It's normally the week of said demolitions, and the previous four teams also crushed the hopes of their opponents early in each of the games.

Fortunately for Alabama, they were playing the No. 8 team in the country in Michigan. While the game proved that Michigan isn't even in the same league as Alabama, it also proved that Alabama has the defense and running game to defeat everyone. That's the trait the No. 1 team in college football should have.

Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist and Trends and Traffic Writer for Bleacher Report. As a Featured Columnist, he covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He is also the Falcons analyst at Drafttek, runs the NFL Draft Website and hosts Kvetching Draftniks Radio.