College Football Rankings 2013: Squads That Will Continue to Climb in the Polls

Ryan DavenportContributor ISeptember 9, 2013

ANN ARBOR, MI - AUGUST 31: Devin Gardner #12 of the Michigan Wolverines runs for a first quarter touchdown past Louis Palmer #56 of the Central Michigan Chippewas at Michigan Stadium on August 31, 2013 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The first two weeks of the 2013 college football schedule presented fans with a handful of surprising upsets, but for the most part, the teams that were supposed to emerge victorious did just that, so the AP rankings didn't change too drastically following the first pair of weekends on the season. 

But despite the relatively small amount of unexpected outcomes, there are undoubtedly some teams that have earned respect with strong outings early on—and appear poised to continue that trend in Week 3. 

Heading into a very intriguing slate of clashes, here's a look at the teams that will build on their early-season showings and continue to climb in the polls following the season's third weekend. 



In perhaps the most shocking upset of Week 1, the No. 19 Washington Huskies took down a perennial powerhouse in Boise State and set themselves up to jump up a few spots in the Top 25 if they can secure a win over Illinois on the road on Saturday. 

Illinois has been solid so far, as Nathan Scheelhaase and company sit undefeated at 2-0 after defeating Cincinnati on Saturday. 

But the Huskies are coming off an all-important triumph over the Broncos, which will go down as the most lopsided defeat in Chris Petersen's storied tenure at Boise State to date. 

Led by Bishop Sankey's 161 rushing yards, Washington State put the game out of reach midway through the third quarter. If Keith Price can command the offense as effectively as he did against Boise State, the Huskies will roll to 2-0 and find themselves in the top 15 this time next week.



No, the No. 3 Tigers aren't taking on a marquee opponent in North Carolina State, but if Clemson's first two games were any indication of what's to come, Tajh Boyd and company will creep up at least one spot in the rankings if they move to 3-0 after a 12-day break. 

This weekend, against South Carolina State, the Tigers continued their impressive start by pummeling the Bulldogs, cementing their status as a legitimate national title contender. 

That's because after Boyd's five touchdowns helped then-No. 8 Clemson to a surprising win over Georgia, it's difficult to see how anyone could overlook the surging Tigers—especially given how much the team's defense improved in Week 2. 

Even with Boyd standing on the sideline for much of the game, Clemson waltzed to a 52-13 win, as backup quarterback Cole Stoudt stunned the Bulldogs for three touchdowns and 143 yards on 19-of-20 passing. 

Now, with the Tigers set to face the Wolfpack, Dabo Swinney's bunch won't have to be extraordinary to remain unbeaten, but they will have to win convincingly in order to move up in the rankings. 

But with the defense looking much better than before, and two quarterbacks capable of leading the team to victory, this Clemson squad is a force to be reckoned with.

And, after a lackluster showing from Boyd, you know the Heisman contender's going to show up to play on September 21 against NC State, which is bad news for the undefeated host Wolfpack. 



As of now, the Wolverines are one of the biggest risers among college football's elite, as Michigan sits at 2-0 heading into a six-game stretch in which Brady Hoke's boys won't play a single team currently ranked in the Top 25. 

While the lack of elite opponents in the near future won't exactly help the Wolverines' chances of contending for BCS berth, Michigan's win over the hated Fighting Irish in Week 2 is a very important step in the right direction. 

Two games into his tenure as Denard Robinson's full-time replacement, Devin Gardner has been more than good enough to secure victories, though he'll have to watch out for tossing costly picks from here on out (He has thrown three in two games.)

But with eight total touchdowns thus far (five passing, three rushing), Gardner has had the look of a winner for the Wolverines, especially at home against last season's national runner-up in Notre Dame this past weekend. 

As long as Jeremy Gallon (four receiving touchdowns so far) and the rest of the Wolverines' high-powered offense keep producing at this rate, it's tough to imagine how Michigan will be beaten anytime before their regular-season finale at home against Ohio State. 

Yes, there's much work to be done for Hoke and his staff, but at the very least, No. 11 Michigan has set themselves up to crack the top 10 with a victory over Akron in Week 3. 


*Team rankings are based on the Week 2 AP Top 25 poll, via