College Football Rankings 2013: Projecting Week 4's Top 25 Teams
Alabama and Texas A&M headline Week 3 of college football, and all eyes will be on College Station as the two newfound rivals square off in the game that will have the biggest impact on the Week 4 Top 25 rankings.
Can the Crimson Tide exact revenge on Johnny Manziel and the Aggies? Or Will Texas A&M rise as the new king of the Southeastern Conference?
Meanwhile, three other Texas teams will play in key contests, giving them a shot at gaining ground in the rankings.
Finally, find out what small-conference program is poised to emerge as this year's Boise State.
25. Fresno State
Week 3: at Colorado
Not many would have guessed that when Fresno State took on Boise State on Sept. 20, the Bulldogs would be the ones ranked in the Top 25.
However, thanks to how the early season has played out, that could very well happen.
Fresno State is currently rated No. 28 in the AP poll and No. 27 in the coaches poll, but a win at Colorado, the Bulldogs' second over a BCS foe, and losses at the back of the ratings, will be enough to send the Mountain West Conference contenders into the rankings.
Boise State will host Fresno State Friday, Sept. 20 at 9 p.m. EDT on ESPN.
Week 3: vs. No. 25 Ole Miss
After a crushing loss to BYU, Texas dropped from No. 15 all the way out of both polls.
Luckily the Longhorns return home to host a beatable Top 25 opponent, giving them a golden opportunity to right the ship and regain their ranking before Big 12 Conference play starts.
The Longhorns chances may depend heavily on the status of quarterback David Ash. Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman reported that he is questionable with head and shoulder injuries.
With Ash, the 'Horns should be able to drive the Rebels out of Austin and squeak back into the rankings. With Ash out of the lineup, Ole Miss might have the upper hand.
23. Texas Tech
Week 3: vs. No. 24 TCU
Texas Tech has its first chance for a signature win under new head coach Kliff Kingsbury when it hosts TCU.
The Horned Frogs will be reeling a bit when they come to Lubbock after the injury to quarterback Casey Pachall in Week 2.
Meanwhile, TTU has its quarterback situation all set, as the Red Raiders found a diamond in the rough with walk-on Baker Mayfield. Mayfield already has 780 passing yards and seven touchdowns on the season, as he ranks No. 3 in the nation in passing yards per game.
Behind Mayfield and a deep receiving corps, Texas Tech will knock off TCU and takes its place in the Top 25.
Week 3: Bye
In its first two games, Baylor accumulated enough yardage and scored enough points for four or five weeks, so it was only right for it to take a rest Week 3.
The Bears will have one final dress rehearsal Sept. 21 against Louisiana-Monroe before embarking on their Big 12 slate against West Virginia the following week.
Baylor currently ranks No. 1 in the country in total offense and No. 2 in scoring offense, as they have averaged 736.5 yards and 69.5 points in the first two weeks.
21. Notre Dame
Week 3: at Purdue
Notre Dame may still be drained from an emotional 41-30 defeat at Michigan in Week 2.
However, that shouldn't matter too much against Purdue.
The Boilermakers looked poor in a narrow 20-14 win over Indiana State and even worse in a 42-7 loss to Cincinnati to open the season.
The Fighting Irish should be able to knuckle up and knock out Purdue with one hand tied behind their back.
Week 3: at Illinois
After an enormous Week 1 win over Boise State, Washington took a week off to prepare for Illinois.
The matchup became much more intriguing after the Illini clubbed Cincinnati 45-17, but the Huskies are still a superior team.
Behind Bishop Sankey and Keith Price, Washington will win and move onward.
Stanford and Oregon loom in back-to-back weeks in the beginning of October.
Week 3: Bye
Florida is going have a tough week of practice.
The Gators committed five turnovers that crippled them in a 21-16 loss to rival Miami, and they will have an entire week to think about the mistakes they made.
After a full week of conditioning and ball security drills, another rival, Tennessee will come calling in Week 4.
Week 3: vs. Western Michigan
Northwestern posted two quality wins over California and Syracuse to start the season and will now have two tune-up games before jumping into Big Ten Conference play.
The Wildcats will have no problem with Western Michigan and Maine in the next two weeks.
They'll have a tougher time the following two, however, as they host Ohio State and travel to Wisconsin for back-to-back crucial conference tilts.
Week 3: at Arizona State
Wisconsin is on upset alert as it heads to Tempe to take on Arizona State.
The Sun Devils looked great in a 55-0 season-opening win over Sacramento State and will be looking to vault into the Top 25 with a win over the Badgers.
However, as good as the Sun Devils have looked, the Badgers have looked better.
UW notched consecutive shutouts to start the season and had three running backs break 100 yards in both games.
The Badgers will have their hands full in what could be one of Week 3's best games, but they'll prevail in hostile territory thanks to their strong defense and powerful rushing offense.
16. Miami (FL)
Week 3: Bye
Miami posted a monumental win against Florida and now has a bit more time to continue to sharpen up before Atlantic Coast Conference play starts.
After a bye week, the Hurricanes will have two warm-up games against Savannah State and South Florida.
Following the nonconference play, Miami will kick off its conference action with Georgia Tech.
Week 3 vs. Tulsa
After a sloppy victory over West Virginia, Oklahoma will move on to a potentially tough matchup against Tulsa.
This year's Golden Hurricane team won't be enough to top the Sooners, even if they have another rough performance.
After sealing the win over Tulsa, OU will have a bye week to prepare for its trip to Notre Dame on Sept. 28.
Week 3: at Nebraska
UCLA is at risk of being a little sleepy when it takes on Nebraska at 9 a.m. PDT on Saturday, but the potential to pick up one of Week 3's biggest victories should be enough of a wake-up call.
Led by star quarterback Brett Hundley, the Bruins will rise up and do just that and take down Nebraska in Lincoln to shoot up the polls.
After the victory, UCLA will be poised to challenge for the Pac-12 title. The Bruins will have a tough road, as they travel to Stanford and Oregon in consecutive weeks at the end of October.
13. South Carolina
Week 3: vs. Vanderbilt
Any other week, Vanderbilt might have had a chance to surprise South Carolina and pull off the upset.
However, as the Gamecocks are coming off a heartbreaking loss to Georgia, the Commodores will serve as a punching bag in Columbia.
After a challenging start to the season, South Carolina will be glad to settle into a stretch of action against non-ranked opponents before its slate ratchets back up in November.
12. Oklahoma State
Week 3: vs. Lamar
Oklahoma State has yet another warm-up game before beginning Big 12 play.
The Cowboys will have another week of racking up ridiculous statistics against the Cardinals but won't have an opportunity to jump up through the polls.
OSU kicks off conference play at West Virginia on Sept. 28.
Week 3: vs. Akron
Michigan faces a potential trap game one week after an emotional win over Notre Dame when it hosts Akron.
A noon EDT kickoff against a MAC opponent after the primetime madness against the Irish will be a bit of a downer, but the Wolverines will take care of business anyway.
The Zips just won't have the talent to hang with Devin Gardner, Jeremy Gallon and company.
Michigan's schedule will ramp its way back up as the season rolls along and will climax with a matchup against Ohio State on Nov. 30.
10. Florida State
Week 3: vs. Nevada
Jameis Winston and Florida State will finally be back in action against Nevada, as the Seminoles signal-caller will continue his Heisman Trophy campaign.
He'll have a great opportunity to rack up more yardage against the Wolf Pack, which he will do without much issue.
FSU will be challenged in a number of games this season, but its tilt with Nevada isn't one of them.
9. Texas A&M
Week 3: vs. Alabama
Texas A&M's highly-anticipated clash with Alabama will live up to its billing.
Johnny Manziel and company will challenge the defending champions just like they did in 2012, but this time the Crimson Tide will be out for revenge.
With the extra motivation, Alabama emerges victorious in a thriller.
For the remainder of the season, the Aggies will have to root against the Tide in hopes of attaining a BCS title shot.
Week 3: Bye
After facing the toughest two-game stretch in college football to start the season, Georgia will have a well-deserved week off.
UGA will have a warm-up against North Texas the following week before having another shot at gaining ground in the polls when it hosts LSU on Sept. 28.
Back in control of its destiny for the SEC title, Georgia looks poised to run through the remainder of its schedule.
Week 3: vs. Kent State
Kent State star Dri Archer sat out the Golden Flashes' loss to Bowling Green last week with an ankle injury and his status is still undetermined for this weekend's game with LSU.
An ankle injury is the last thing a player like Dri Archer needs, as the all-purpose back makes a living off his speed and quickness.
Meanwhile, the Tigers have quietly looked like one of the strongest teams in the nation so far.
Even with a healthy Archer, Kent State wouldn't have enough to knock off LSU. The Tigers will roll regardless and move on into SEC play.
LSU starts its conference slate with Auburn on Sept. 21.
Sept. 14: at Kentucky
Louisville's date with rival Kentucky may be the toughest game on its schedule.
The Wildcats, who may not even make a bowl game, will be highly motivated to derail Louisville's BCS hopes and Teddy Bridgewater's Heisman campaign.
However, the Cardinals will be too strong for a Kentucky squad comprised of many new players.
UL will stumble a bit early before pulling away late in Lexington.
Week 3: at Army
Stanford is one of the toughest and most sound teams in the country.
Even through traveling across the country and playing a noon EDT kickoff, the Cardinal will easily take care of business against Army.
After that, their Pac-12 slate starts off tough with a tilt against Arizona State in a matchup between Stanford's staunch defense and ASU's explosive offense.
4. Ohio State
Week 3: at California
Ohio State proved once again that it can take care of business even without star quarterback Braxton Miller.
So whether or not the Buckeyes have his services against Cal, they will take care of business again.
OSU must be wary of Cal's high flying offense, which ranks No. 1 in the nation in passing.
Ohio State's secondary will withstand the onslaught and the Buckeyes will move to 3-0.
Week 3: Bye
Clemson has looked as good as any team in the country thus far and will have a bye week in Week 3 to further improve.
Clemson starts ACC play at NC State, in a Thursday night matchup on Sept. 19.
From there, it should be smooth sailing for the Tigers until they host Florida State exactly one month later on Oct. 19.
Week 3: vs. Tennessee
Can anyone, aside from perhaps Stanford, stop Oregon's offense?
It doesn't look that way right now, and Tennessee won't provide a different answer to that question.
The Ducks may be the most talented and explosive team in the country and should be able to take care of business against all of their challengers.
Stanford still holds Oregon's kryptonite and the two will square off on Thursday night on Nov. 7.
Week 3: at Texas A&M
Texas A&M has been on the minds of Alabama and even on the video screens above the Crimson Tide lifting racks for much of the offseason.
Ever since the Tide fell to the Aggies in Tuscaloosa last season, they have been thirsty for revenge.
When they travel to College Station, they will have that revenge.
After the victory, only LSU and perhaps Georgia in the SEC title game, will have a chance at stopping Alabama's national title defense.