College Football Rankings 2012 Week 3: Where the AP Voters Went Wrong

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 9, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 01:  The Clemson Tigers celebrate their 26-19 win over the Auburn Tigers at Georgia Dome on September 1, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Week 3 of college football's Top 25 came out Sunday, and it didn't take long to see where voters went wrong upon glancing at the new rankings. 

The Associated Press is always heralded as being one of the most credible college football rankings there is. It's the best, but the best doesn't always get it right.

Ranking the best 25 college football teams in the country is no easy task, especially when nobody has the time to watch every single college football team play. 

Here's the AP's Top 25 rankings for this week, courtesy of ESPN. 


USC is Not the Second-Best Team in the Country

The University of Southern California looked nothing like a Top Five football team Saturday against Syracuse, but it still landed the No. 2 spot in Week 3's rankings. 

USC struggled all game with an overmatched Syracuse team that nobody expected to put up much of a fight against the big dogs from out West. The Trojans had a lot of trouble getting the offense going early, and it showed.

Even when Matt Barkley's offense started putting up points at will in the second half, the defense faltered and allowed the Orange to stay in the game. The Trojans seemed completely jet-lagged and out of sorts all game.

If Robert Woods didn't have the game of his life, who knows if USC would've left New Jersey with a win.

The Trojans' biggest competition for the No. 2 spot, LSU, beat a solid Pac-12 team in Washington, 41-3. With the way the first two weeks of the season has gone, you'd have to imagine the Tigers defense would pose big-time problems for Barkley's boys if they were to play head-to-head. This year's Trojans defense hasn't proven that it could hang with a potent offense like LSU's or Alabama's, either. 

It's hard to say that Southern Cal is the No. 2 team in the country after watching them play this weekend.


Clemson is a Top-10 Football Team

Dabo Swinney's squad is the real deal. 

His Clemson Tigers put together an impressive performance against an underrated Auburn Tigers team in their season opener, running the ball with ease and displaying suffocating defense that made the 70-point Orange Bowl drubbing last season a distant memory.

Their offensive firepower is impeccable now that Tajh Boyd has hit his stride and Andre Ellington has made his presence known as a dominant running back. Star WR Sammy Watkins is finally free from his two-game suspension, and the talented receiver will only add lethal speed and moves to Clemson's offense.

They hung up 45 first-half points against Ball State and won 52-27 despite sitting their starters for the entirety of the second half. It was the most points scored by the Tigers in a half since their 1981 national title season. 

Clemson is a shoe-in for a BCS game in the weak ACC and has an outside shot at the BCS national championship if the Tigers can stay healthy and playing like they currently are.


Arkansas Deserves a Spot in the Top 25

There's no downplaying the momentous loss that Arkansas suffered in Week 2. Let me get that out of the way.

Being a Top-10 team and losing to Louisiana-Monroe is grounds for massive uproar and finger-pointing, but we must realize that Arkansas can be heavily overrated and still be one of the 25 best teams in the country.

Perhaps the removal of Bobby Petrino as their head coach brought with it some setback, or perhaps losing nine starters from last season played a major impact. But it cannot be stated enough that Arkansas was the most overrated team in the nation at No. 8 last week.

Still, you'd have to take Arkansas and Tyler Wilson over many of the teams listed in the bottom portion of the Top 25, such as BYU, Stanford, Arizona and Louisville, among others.

It's a shame that their obvious future losses to Alabama and LSU will do more to keep the Razorbacks out of the Top 25, because this is still a very good football team that deserves a number in front of its name.


AP Top 25 - Week 3 (courtesy of ESPN)

1. Alabama

2. USC

3. LSU

4. Oregon

5. Florida State

5. Oklahoma

7. Georgia

8. South Carolina

9. West Virginia

10. Michigan State

11. Clemson

12. Ohio State

13. Virginia Tech

14. Texas

15. Kansas State

16. TCU

17. Michigan

18. Florida

19. Louisville

20. Notre Dame

21. Stanford

22. UCLA

23. Tennessee

24. Arizona

25. Brigham Young