Washington QB Keith Price got off to a hot start in 2013
The 2013 college football season is fully underway, and already the cloudy picture that is the perceived preseason Top 25 is starting to get a little more clear.
Everyone has an idea in their head of what the top 25 should look like, but with a full slate of games nearly in the books, we can now say with (a little bit of) confidence who belongs and who isn't quite there yet.
Of course, not everyone gave us a season-defining performance as many top teams simply had inferior opponents lined up for slaughter.
But there were performances that lead us to believe some teams will be a lot better, or worse, than they were last season. So who belongs in the Top 25 after week one? And who should plan on serious improvement before getting hopes up of a sniffing a spot in the rankings?
Here are five teams who should be in the polls, and five that should be outside looking in.
Bishop Sankey also had a great day in Seattle
Anybody who stayed up to check out the Boise State-Washington game got a glimpse of what an improved team looks like.
The Huskies were coming off a third straight 7-win season and while many fans had optimism that this would be the year, others were naturally skeptical.
But the talent level has officially reached new heights, and it shows in the dawgs suffocating 38-6 victory over a ranked Broncos squad.
The much-maligned Keith Price completed 23-of-31 passes for 321 yards and a pair of scores, while running back Bishop Sankey potentially made his way into the darkhorse Heisman conversation with 161 yards on the ground to go along with a pair of touchdowns of his own.
We knew heading into the game that this wasn't the Boise State team of the late 00's lead by Kellen Moore. And despite several self-inflicted wounds such as finishing early drives with field goals instead of touchdowns, it was surprising to see Washington completely dominate Boise State on both sides of the ball.
The score isn't completely indicative of how the game went as the scoreboard read just 10-7 partway through the third quarter, but the Huskies poured it on after that and proved that they clearly belong in the Top 25.
RB John Hubert in last year's Fiesta Bowl
It seemed odd that a team could nearly reach the BCS title game and begin the following season unranked, although Kansas State fans probably weren't surprised by the disrespect.
Turns out, leaving the Wildcats out of the polls was a good decision.
Without Collin Klein and the majority of a defense that shut down the Big-12 (sans Baylor) last season, the Wildcats fell to FCS opponent North Dakota State 24-21 at home Friday night.
It should be mentioned that the Bison are coming off a national championship last season. Still, the loss to a team from a lower division showed us that Kansas State is nowhere near the team it was last season. That team won at Oklahoma and nearly made it through the schedule unscathed. That team reached the Fiesta Bowl and produced a Heisman finalist in quarterback Colin Klein.
But Klein isn't walking into Bill Snyder Family Stadium anytime soon, and after week one, it's clear that the Wildcats do not belong anywhere near the top 25.
TCU QB Casey Pachall
Despite the loss to LSU, TCU proved that it's a team deserving of spot in the top 25.
Okay, so maybe it's those helmets alone that make TCU worthy of a ranking, but the Horned Frogs played LSU down to the wire and lost a close one, 37-27.
In fact, TCU was within three points with under 7 minutes left before LSU tacked on a final touchdown and held on for the win.
Playing a neutral-site game against an elite team from the SEC is not a great way to begin the season. Just ask Oregon, which was given the same task as TCU back in 2011. But that Ducks' team rebounded to win the Rose Bowl, and with coach Gary Patterson's solid track record, TCU has a similar chance to produce an excellent season.
LSU may have been a little underrated, too, after losing what seemed like everyone on defense to the NFL. The Tigers also made a statement of their own on Saturday evening.
But the losing team fought hard and stayed in it until the very end. For that reason, TCU should be staying in the top 25.
Oregon State QB Sean Mannion
Oregon State entered the 2012 season off everyone's radar and won its first seven games en route to a Top 25 ranking. After finishing the season with a loss to Texas in the Alama bowl, the Beavers arrived to Reser Stadium yesterday with a bit more hype as a team to keep an eye on.
Turns out, like Kansas State, the Beavers have a lot of work to do.
Historically, Mike Riley's teams have gotten better as the season progresses, but there's no excuse for losing to an FCS school like Eastern Washington. Yes, the Eagles are elite at their level, but the Beavers are supposed to be one of the better Pac-12 schools. Clearly, that isn't the case right now.
All offseason long the focus fell on quarterbacks Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz, but the defense probably needed more attention after giving up nearly 50 points in the loss. Can you imagine what a team like the Ducks would do to that group?
They'll be no more under-the-radar, potential top 25 talk surrounding the Beavers in 2013. This team doesn't belong, and it has some major work to do if it hopes to gain any sort of relevance again this year.
RB Duke Johnston started the 2013 season with a bang
The Miami Hurricanes finally appear to have the kind of elite talent that took the program to such great heights in the 90's and early 00's.
The best of the current crop may be running back Duke Johnston who, after an offseason of major buzz, galloped his way to a game-high 186 yards and one touchdown in the 'Canes 34-6 victory over Florida Atlantic.
Or it might be quarterback Stephen Morris, a name already high on several NFL big boards.
The defense allowed just 250 yards as well.
There are many more tests that Miami needs to pass, starting with a game against Florida next Saturday. But week one proved that this team belongs in the top 25.
QB Joe Southwick
On the flip-side of Washington's 38-6 dismantling of Boise State is a Broncos team in need of some soul searching.
Boise State has a reputation for playing anybody, anywhere and quite often beating those teams. Just ask Georgia, Virginia Tech and Oregon what it's like to play the Broncos.
But those teams led by Kellen Moore and Doug Martin are long gone and after losing by 32 points to a second-tier Pac-12 team, the Broncos may have just left everyone's radar without plans of coming back anytime soon.
This team still has talent, it's still better than many Mountain West teams and it's still coached by Chris Peterson. But being a mainstay in the top 25 is no longer a label that applies to the Broncos.
QB Munchie Legaux
This may seem like a pick out of left field, but the Cincinnati Bearcats gave an impressive effort on Saturday and could be ranked in the near future.
And hey, Louisville has to play somebody right?
The Bearcats may be that somebody after ripping through Purdue 42-7 yesterday. Quarterback Munchie Legaux (from the all-time all-name team) didn't have his best day passing but was efficient on the ground. The defense also held the Boilermakers to just 65 yards rushing.
Remember that this is a Purdue team that hung with Ohio State last season. Could the Bearcats do that? Eh, that's probably still a bit of a stretch. But this was certainly one of the more impressive week one victories, and if Cincinnati can do the same thing at Illinois next week, it could find itself in the Top 25.
QB Taylor Martinez had a decent game to begin 2013
Even though Nebraska escaped yesterday with a 37-34 victory, the Cornhusker faithful have to be a little concerned about their team's performance.
Wyoming is coming off a 4-8 season yet somehow managed to hang with Nebraska for all four quarters, nearly clipping them at the very end.
Taylor Martinez had a decent day, but the defense, which is typically a hallmark of Nebraska teams and/or teams coached by Bo Pelini, looked terrible. If it allowed 34 points to Wyoming, what's going to happen against Michigan or UCLA?
It's unlikely that the Cornhuskers will actually fall out of the rankings, because teams rarely lose ground after victories. But you can't say they deserve a spot after yesterday's woeful performance.
Lache Seastrunk finds the endzone against Woffard
This game pretty much went exactly as everybody thought it would go.
Bryce Petty was efficient and put up huge numbers, Lache Seastrunk averaged 10 yards per carry and the defense (Baylor defense??) allowed just 3 points. All of it added up to a 69-3 victory over a woefully overmatched Woffard team.
Baylor didn't exactly prove anything, other than the offense will probably be as advertised. But this selection sort of falls into the "look at other teams around them" category, and with Baylor entering the season as a fringe Top 25 team you'd have to think they belong after yesterday.
With several notable teams likely to fall out of the rankings, and with the Bears taking care of business as expected, Baylor should land inside the Top 25 this week.
Michigan State QB Andrew Maxwell
By virtue of being a fringe Top 25 team and winning its game Saturday, Michigan State might have a shiny new ranking next weekend.
But if you watched the game, or even glanced at the boxscore, you'll likely come to the conclusion that this is not a top 25 team right now.
This performance isn't nearly as bad as the one by Nebraska or anyone else on the "out" side of this piece, but it still wasn't very good. Michigan State managed just 297 total yards in the 26-13 win over Western Michigan. Yes, the same Western Michigan that won just four games last season.
Quarterback Andrew Maxwell threw for just 74 yards despite attempting 21 passes. The defense did what it needed to do, but it's difficult to imagine the Spartans scoring points on teams if they can't do it with ease against the Broncos.
You'd rather be Michigan State than a team that lost this weekend, but the Spartans have a lot of work to do on offense if they hope to earn a top 25 ranking.