NCAA Football Rankings 2013: Projecting Top 25 and Previewing Best Week 2 Action

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 1, 2013

CLEMSON, SC - AUGUST 31:  Aaron Murray #11 of the Georgia Bulldogs reacts after being knocked to the ground against the Clemson Tigers during their game at Memorial Stadium on August 31, 2013 in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

College football is back, and it couldn't have come a moment too soon.

There's just nothing like getting up early on a Saturday morning and watching wall-to-wall football for 12 hours.

You didn't see a ton of upsets in Week 1, but you can't really expect to, as most of the biggest schools made sure to schedule what is essentially a warmup game for the more critical matchups later in the season.

At this point, though, it's just great that the season has started.

Here's is a prediction for the Week 2 Associated Press poll, followed by prognostications for three games that will have big implications on the rankings.


Miami Hurricanes vs. No. 9 Florida Gators: Saturday, Sept. 7, at 12 p.m. ET

With some putting Florida on upset alert against the Toledo Rockets, the Gators got a comfortable 24-6 win. While they weren't spectacular, they did well enough to get the job done without getting threatened. Mack Brown had a good game, rushing for 112 yards and two touchdowns.

The Miami Hurricanes could be tricky opponents. They're banging on the door of the top 25, and they dispatched Florida Atlantic with ease in Week 1. To be fair, though, it's easy to beat the Owls when they can't even keep track of the downs.

This is the first time these two teams have met since 2008, with the Gators getting the win, 26-3, after losing the previous six meetings.

Make it two in a row for Florida, as its defense will be the key. If the Gators can limit Duke Johnson on the ground, they'll make Stephen Morris win this game, which would be a difficult task for the senior quarterback. Florida wins this one with a strong team performance.

Florida 21, Miami 10


No. 10 Georgia Bulldogs vs. No. 5 South Carolina Gamecocks: Saturday, Sept. 7, at 4:30 p.m. ET

Georgia have probably left Clemson, S.C., wondering how they lost, 38-35, to the Clemson Tigers. The Bulldogs had one more first down than Clemson, gained 78 more yards and possessed the ball for about four and a half minutes longer. However, Georgia did turn the ball over twice and miss that critical field goal in the third quarter.

On the other side, South Carolina were methodical in their 27-10 win over the North Carolina Tar Heels. The Gamecocks were equal parts electrifying and confounding. They didn't get a great performance from Jadeveon Clowney, with his conditioning looking to give him problems. ESPN's Jemele Hill thinks the hot temperature was the biggest factor.

It didn't turn into an issue, given how well the defense played as a whole.

This should be a fun game. Georgia will be smarting from their loss to Clemson, while South Carolina will want to get that big win to solidify its place as a national title contender.

The Bulldogs get the slight edge. They've got the motivation from Week 1 to go along with atoning for their 35-7 loss to the Gamecocks last season. It will be close, with the passing games making the difference. Aaron Murray will be able to out-duel Connor Shaw.

Georgia 27, South Carolina 20


No. 17 Michigan Wolverines vs. No. 14 Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Saturday, Sept. 7, at 8 p.m. ET

Tommy Rees stepped up in the absence of Everett Golson and had a huge game against Temple, throwing for 346 yards and three touchdowns. While the Owls defense is not anything to write home about, the performance was everything you could have hoped for from the senior signal-caller.

Devin Gardner also knows what it's like to step up and replace a high-profile quarterback, after he took over for Denard Robinson last season and came into 2013 as the unquestioned starter. Gardner was very good in the win against Central Michigan before being replaced by Shane Morris.

Although this game is in Ann Arbor, Notre Dame will pick up the win. There are still too many question marks about the Wolverines' secondary. Blake Countess didn't look very good in Week 1, and he's supposed to be a major difference-maker this year.

Notre Dame 24, Michigan 13