College Football Rankings 2013 Week 2: Predicting Biggest Risers in AP Poll
College football is back, and Week 1 was the first testament for fans everywhere who have been bragging about their respective teams' chances for the past eight months.
Some will brag on, others had to eat a slice of humble pie.
No. 4 Stanford was the only team ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll not to take the field on opening weekend, but the absence of the Cardinal didn't dampen what turned out to be an excellent weekend of football across the board.
Taking a gander at Week 2's upcoming poll, here's a prediction of which schools will make the biggest moves up the ladder toward Alabama and the top spot.
*For a look at the current AP Top 25 Poll, click here (courtesy of ESPN.com).
Baylor: 66-3 Win over Wofford
No. 23 Wisconsin: 45-0 Win over Massachusetts
Ole Miss: 39-35 Win over Vanderbilt
No. 12 LSU: 37-27 Win over No. 20 TCU
No. 8 Clemson
If their stadium entrance against No. 5 Georgia was a sign of things to come, the Tigers are in for a big year.
See it here, courtesy of ESPN's SportsCenter Twitter account:
Last night, Clemson Football had one of the coolest stadium entrances you will EVER see » http://t.co/zmk4QJD7fD— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 1, 2013
Clemson picked up a huge win against the Bulldogs on Saturday night, displaying that it is primed to compete for a national championship this year if things continue to trend in the right direction. Between Heisman-candidate quarterback Tajh Boyd and burner Sammy Watkins, the Tigers have big-time talent.
As noted by ESPN's College Football Twitter account, Clemson is also coming off its second straight win over a Top 10 SEC squad, if you count last season's Chick-fil-A Bowl victory over LSU:
There are a number of good teams currently at the top of the AP poll, but Clemson made a statement that Ohio State, Oregon, Stanford and South Carolina could not match when comparing box scores. By taking on a championship contender in Week 1, Clemson risked it all much earlier than Top 10 teams usually do.
How many games will Clemson lose in 2013?
The Tigers came out on top of that decision, while the Bulldogs are currently feeling its wrath.
When you factor in the lesser talent that nearly all of the teams ranked ahead of Clemson faced over the weekend, there's a good chance the Tigers could vault near the top of the poll. No one will unseat Alabama, but Clemson has a chance to be a Top Three team.
MLive.com's Mike Griffith, who has a vote toward the AP poll each week, is gearing up to make Clemson the No. 2 team on his ballot. There's no guarantee other voters feel the same way, but it's important to note how big a win over Georgia is seen in some viewing circles.
Prediction: No. 4
Washington came into its season opener against No. 19 Boise State on a sour note—star tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins was suspended prior to the contest, and the Broncos had won three out of four season openers against AP Top 25 teams since 2009.
The Huskies—and maybe the Pac-12—made a big statement with a 38-6 pounding of the Mountain West darlings on Saturday night. Keith Price threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns, and Bishop Sankey rushed for 161 yards and two scores in the commanding victory.
Bleacher Report's college football Twitter account had an apt description of the outcome:
Who sent a message? Washington sent a message. http://t.co/hPDQgZXy1y— Bleacher Report (@BR_CFB) September 1, 2013
Unranked heading into the season, the Huskies didn't factor into the national conversation as Week 1 began. Flipping the script, it's hard not to see Washington as a Top 25 team for the foreseeable future.
Over the next three weeks, the Huskies have three winnable games against Illinois, Idaho State and Arizona. The following two weeks, showdowns with Stanford and Oregon will likely decide where Washington finishes in the Pac-12 North.
For now, though, Washington has as much confidence as any team in the country. Their place in the poll should reflect that.
Prediction: No. 22
No. 21 UCLA
Speaking of the Pac-12, No. 21 UCLA made short work of Nevada.
The Bruins scored 41 points in the second half en route to a 58-20 blowout win. Sophomore quarterback Brett Hundley had four total touchdowns in the first of what should be a number of impressive performances in his 2013 season.
In case you missed it, UCLA Athletics on Twitter had a second look at the highlights:
UCLA was clicking on offense, moving the ball at will against the Wolfpack defense on Saturday night. Although Nevada cut the deficit to 17-13 just before the half, the Bruins made sure that offense was on display in the second half.
The Bruins had two touchdowns within the first five minutes of the third quarter and added another when running back Jordon James rushed for 26 of his 155 yards on the evening to find pay dirt.
According to the AP's Greg Beacham, it was a night on offense that ranks among the best in school history:
UCLA's 647 yards vs. Nevada were the 9th-highest total in school history, and the most since Nebraska last season.— Greg Beacham (@gregbeacham) September 1, 2013
With No. 20 TCU and No. 19 Boise State both suffering losses and No. 18 Nebraska looking less than impressive in a tight victory over Wyoming, the worst-case scenario is moving up three spots.
Voters will likely keep Texas, Oklahoma and Michigan ahead of the Bruins this week, but a win over Nebraska next week could vault UCLA into the Top 15.
Prediction: No. 18
Follow B/R's Ethan Grant on Twitter.
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