College football kicked off its season last week with outstanding performances by a number of schools across the country, many of which generated some movement in the AP Top 25 rankings—most notably, Alabama supplanting USC as the best team in the nation.
While a case can be made for why each of the schools ranked in the Top 25 deserves to be there, an equally strong case can be made for a number of squads that deserve recognition amongst the best teams in the nation as well.
Tennessee Volunteers (1-0)
By the time the first quarter reached its conclusion, the game had gotten away from NC State.
Tennessee broke a 7-6 game wide open by putting 16 points on the board in a span of 38 seconds—two touchdowns and a safety.
Cordarrelle Patterson looked like one of the most explosive players in the country in his Tennessee debut, scoring two first-quarter touchdowns—one a 41-yard catch, the second a 67-yard run—and the Volunteers' defense picked off NC State quarterback Mike Glennon four times en route to a 35-21 victory.
Granted, things aren't likely to go quite as smoothly against their SEC foes.
But this performance was certainly worthy of inclusion in the Top 25 and should have vaulted them past Florida in the rankings.
BYU Cougars (1-0)
In game that pit Cougars against Cougars, BYU was dominant against Mike Leach's Washington State squad, never trailing in a 30-6 opening week victory.
BYU's defense was tremendous, holding Washington State to 224 yards of total offense—a total that included -5 yards rushing for the day and picking off WSU's Jeff Tuel twice.
Quarterback Riley Nelson threw for 285 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman Taysom Hill got in on the action as well, throwing his first collegiate pass to Kaneakua Friel for an 18-yard touchdown to open the scoring in the second quarter.
While they were passed over this week, BYU has a formidable schedule ahead of them, and continued success will make it virtually impossible for voters to keep the Cougars at bay for long.
Boise State (0-1)
There's no question that Boise State's offense looked pathetic—to be kind—against Michigan State last week, mustering only 206 yards of total offense and failing to reach the end zone.
If not for the freakish talents of Spartans running back Le'Veon Bell, who scored the only two touchdowns of the game—including the game winner with more than eight minutes to play in the fourth quarter—Boise State probably walks away with a Week 1 upset.
The Broncos won the turnover battle 4-2, intercepting Spartans quarterback Andrew Maxwell three times.
Michigan State had to come from behind to win the game, and it took everything that the Spartans had to achieve that goal.
Boise State shouldn't have been penalized by the voters after putting forth such a strong performance against a team it wasn't supposed to beat in the first place.
AP Top 25 Poll (First-Place-Votes)
1. Alabama (45)
2. USC (11)
3. LSU (4)
6. Florida State
9. (tie) South Carolina
9. (tie) West Virginia
11. Michigan State
14. Ohio State
15. Virginia Tech
18. Oklahoma State
21. Kansas State
22. Notre Dame