Power Ranking All 126 College Football Teams for Week 3
College football's Week 2 was completed on Sunday, Sept. 8 in the wee hours of the morning when the final whistle blew for the Stanford vs. San Jose State game. The power rankings are here to cover what happened.
From the Miami Hurricanes' upset of the Florida Gators, to the complete decimation of Cincinnati by an unassuming Illinois squad, here is how things shook out during the second week of the college football season.
*The AP Poll, USA Today Coaches Poll (both via ESPN.com), Bleacher Report's Official Poll, Jeff Sagarin's power rankings and my own power rankings were all given equal weight. The average of every team's ranking in each poll was taken, and that average determined where the team was placed.
126. Georgia State Panthers
Average Rank: 167
Georgia State lost to Chattanooga 42-14 in Week 2. These Panthers are solidifying themselves in this spot as the weeks go by, but even one victory over a respectable Troy, Texas State or South Alabama Squad could change perceptions. The year is far from over.
125. Idaho Vandals
Average Rank: 151
Idaho got trounced 42-10 by the Wyoming Cowboys. The Vandals have a lot of season left, but there are only three teams on the schedule that look like possible wins as of Week 2: Texas State, Old Dominion and New Mexico State.
They need at least one of those games to go their way, or this is going to be a depressing fall.
124. Massachusetts Minutemen
Average Rank: 150
Massachusetts lost to the Maine Black Bears in Week 2. The Bears finished 2012 with just five wins in the FCS. With that situation as it is, the Akron game looks like the only possible win this season.
Minutemen fans have to hope that this game will serve as a wake-up call to the team. There is no doubt that they are capable of doing better than this.
123. Eastern Michigan Eagles
Average Rank: 142.5
Penn State beat Eastern Michigan 45-7 last week, and the Eagles are not looking like a solid football team right now. The road ahead of them is paved with Rutgers, Ball State, Buffalo, Army, Ohio and Northern Illinois as likely losses.
After that, they take on Toledo, Western Michigan, Bowling Green and Central Michigan. That stretch at the end is where these players are going to earn their final ranking. Don't expect them to move from here until November...unless other teams just bite the dust.
122. New Mexico State Aggies
Average Rank: 140
New Mexico State has lost to Texas and Minnesota, which has put them at No. 122. However, UTEP, New Mexico, Abilene Christian, Florida Atlantic and Idaho are all coming eventually. This is an underrated team who will move up as the weeks pass.
121. Miami Redhawks
Average Rank: 139.5
Miami's 41-7 loss to Kentucky really hurt its status in the composite rankings. Sagarin dropped them from 114th to 160th after that performance. The bottom line is that Kentucky is under new management, and little is known about how well Mark Stoops will do there.
Maybe the Redhawks shouldn't have dropped that much, but there are quite a few potential redemption games coming. Pay attention to Miami, it should be moving up throughout the season.
120. Florida International Golden Panthers
Average Rank: 139
Florida International just got shut out by Central Florida by 35 points. That puts the Golden Panthers solidly this low in the rankings. They have played Maryland and UCF, and the combined score was 81-10.
Precious few teams are 71 points worse than Maryland and UCF. Luckily for the Panthers, Bethune-Cookman is coming in Week 3. The size of that win could move them up a bit. With only two games gone, it's tough to tell whether the Panthers are really this bad or just rusty.
119. Akron Zips
Average Rank: 138.5
Akron scored a good win over James Madison this past week, moving it up a couple of notches from it's previous 123rd spot. Make no mistake about it: The Zips are heading in the right direction under Terry Bowden.
The improvement is happening faster than expected, and that's good news for Akronites.
118. South Alabama Jaguars
Average Rank: 138
South Alabama just put Tulane in its place by two points on Sept. 7. The Jaguars won 41-39 over the Green Wave, and that was good enough for a seven-spot jump up from 125th.
Big jumps should happen early in the season as hard evidence becomes more readily available. The Jags surprised us all by beating an FBS squad after having lost to Southern Utah in the opener.
This is exactly what brings us back year after year.
117. Tulane Green Wave
116. Florida Atlantic Owls
Average Rank: 131
Florida Atlantic was absolutely dominated by East Carolina's Shane Carden and Vintavious Cooper on Sept. 5, and that puts the Owls outside the top 100 for the time being. Based on that performance, it's not likely that they'll even crack that range for a week.
However, if we based an entire football season on one performance, a lot of these teams wouldn't be where they are on this list.
115. UTSA Roadrunners
Average Rank: 130.5
UTSA scored a good 28 points against Oklahoma State's alternates last week, and that puts the Roadrunners in good position for the future. While it's tough to take a loss like that, even playing on par (or better than) a Big 12 team's backups is reason for a small celebration.
That performance combined with other teams' complete lack of success has pushed UTSA up five slots in one week. That's quite a productive loss.
114. Old Dominion Monarchs
Average Rank: 130
Old Dominion came into the season with the best offensive player in the FCS under center. That's proving to be less of a commodity that originally anticipated. The Monarchs were quelled 47-10 by an okay Maryland team.
Recruiting is clearly a disadvantage for them, but their break-in schedule with lots of FCS teams will allow them to come back a little. The top 100 will have to wait until the structure is more FBS than FCS.
113. New Mexico Lobos
Average Rank: 126.5
New Mexico took UTEP to overtime during its successful attempt to put the Miners in their place. The 42-35 win boosted the Lobos from 124th overall to 113th. Since the Lobos weren't expected to win more than one or two games, an early win like this earns more respect than if they won the final game of the season.
With at least three more possible wins on the schedule, expect them to get at least three total wins and move up a few more spots as things get ironed out.
112. UNLV Rebels
Average Rank: 125.5
UNLV has a season-defining game against our No. 104 Central Michigan Chippewas in Week 3. This game could easily go either way, but it will require the Rebels to show up with a lot more poise than they have shown over the past two weeks.
In fact, it is entirely feasible that they go 4-0 in the next four matches against Central Michigan, Western Illinois, New Mexico and Hawaii. Ultimately, the 58-13 loss to Arizona didn't really hurt UNLV much, as it was an expected loss.
The Rebels moved from 110th to 112th in this round.
111. Western Michigan Broncos
Average Rank: 122.5
Western Michigan dropped from 96th to 111th following the 27-23 loss to the Nicholls State Colonels. The Broncos should have beaten the FCS squad, though it probably shouldn't have been a blowout if they did.
110. UTEP Miners
Average Rank: 121.5
Despite already-discussed overtime loss to New Mexico, UTEP remains slightly ahead of the Lobos. That's mostly due to the lineup over the next five matches: New Mexico State, UTSA, Colorado State, Louisiana Tech and Tulsa.
Though some of those teams might be vastly improved by kickoff, it's not unreasonable to look at that as a 3-2 section.
109. Southern Miss Golden Eagles
Average Rank: 121
Southern Miss, as expected, lost to Nebraska on Sept. 7, but that didn't hurt its ranking at all. What will hurt the Golden Eagles' ranking is if they get blown out by Arkansas and Boise State at unforgivable levels.
108. Army Black Knights
Average Rank: 113
Army got pushed up from No. 111 by other teams who did worse than the Black Knights. Army lost to Ball State 40-14 last week, but a lot of people are sleeping on the Cardinals. That loss doesn't look nearly as bad as it would have just a few seasons ago.
Army has a beastly game against Stanford in Week 3, but the Wake Forest, Louisiana Tech, Boston College and Eastern Michigan games right after it are going to define the season.
107. Texas State Bobcats
Average Rank: 117.5
This year, Georgia State, South Alabama and Idaho come around in late October and early November. Texas State has to play tough from here on out anyway, but those three games could be wins if the Bobcats show up playing their best.
106. Hawaii Warriors
Average Rank: 116.5
Hawaii followed the Week 1 loss up with a loss to Oregon State 33-14 in Week 2. That and the USC Trojans' loss to Washington State put Hawaii on notice.
This squad needs to shape up quickly and concentrate on fundamentals. If improvements can be made this week, the Nevada game could be the win Hawaii has been waiting for.
105. Memphis Tigers
Average Rank: 115.5
Memphis also logged a loss in Week 2, a 28-14 loss to the Duke Blue Devils. It didn't affect the Tigers' ranking much, as an expected loss, but they did drop three spots due to some surprising wins by programs previously behind them.
The upcoming Middle Tennessee, Arkansas State and UCF games should be interesting. They'll help Memphis establish its place in the pecking order by mid-October.
104. Central Michigan Chippewas
Average Rank: 111.5
Central Michigan won a gutsy 24-21 match against New Hampshire on Sept. 7, and the Chippewas proved that they can take down an eight-win (in 2012) FCS team. That doesn't mean that fans should start buying postseason tickets, but it does mean that the Chippewas are capable of winning at least four more games on their schedule.
That's a five-win season if they show up ready to play for the duration. NC State, Miami (OH), Northern Illinois and Ball State are likely losses, but the rest of the slate is full of opportunities to prove how good they are.
103. UAB Blazers
Average Rank: 110.5
UAB's 56-17 loss to LSU was no surprise to anyone, which put them in prime position to take advantage of other teams' unexpected losses. The Blazers have a bye in Week 3, and a nearly assured win against Northwestern State in Week 4.
The Blazers will be fine, but they do need to start a winning streak on Oct. 5.
102. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
101. Troy Trojans
100. Buffalo Bulls
Average Rank: 106
Buffalo faced its second national contender in a row in Week 2 with a 70-13 loss to the Baylor Bears. The Bulls weren't expected to win either game, but their schedule gets considerably easier over the next month. The Bulls can go 5-0 in the next five weeks, but the expectation is for 4-1. (Connecticut is probably going to beat them, but it's not a guarantee.)
99. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Average Rank: 104
Louisiana Tech was expected to be worse than last season, especially with the loss of Colby Cameron from under center. This Week 3 game against Tulane will tell us more than the first two matches combined.
NC State should have beaten Louisiana Tech this season, and Lamar should have lost to the Bulldogs (which they did 27-14). Tulane technically should lose, but the Green Wave have a lot of talent and a lot to prove.
98. North Texas Mean Green
Average Rank: 103.5
North Texas' loss to Ohio raised more questions than it answered. Is North Texas within seven points of Tyler Tettleton and Beau Blankenship, or did the Bobcats just pack on a ton of rust over the offseason?
This week, the Mean Green will face Ball State. If they can stay within two possessions of the Cardinals, this spot will be confirmed.
97. Kent State Golden Flashes
Average Rank: 102
Kent State has had a rough start to what was thought to be another great season. Star running back Dri Archer left the Liberty game with an injured ankle, and he did not play against Bowling Green in the 41-22 loss.
The surprise at Kent State so far is how drastic his loss is to the team. Last year, he and Trayion Durham were two peas in a pod as far as rushing effectiveness was concerned. This year, it's as if he is the entire ground game on his own.
96. Air Force Falcons
Average Rank: 100
Air Force lost the conference showdown with Utah State by a score of 52-20. The loss wasn't necessarily unexpected, but the size of the blowout was certainly a surprise. This week, the Falcons take on a Boise State squad that is still a shell of its former self.
An upset in Week 3 would put Air Force on the map in a big way.
95. South Florida Bulls
Average Rank: 99.5
South Florida is under former Western Kentucky head coach Willie Taggart, and the future is certainly bright. However, the growing pains of a new staff have already set in with two losses in the first two games of the season.
South Florida's first season in the American Athletic Conference (former Big East) is looking like it's going to be rougher than expected. The Bulls had better win against Florida Atlantic this week, because there isn't an easier team on the schedule for the rest of the year.
94. Colorado State Rams
Average Rank: 99
Colorado State lost to Tulsa 30-27 on Sept. 7, and a close loss to the No. 73 team on the list indicates vast improvement over last season. Even with the season-opening loss to Colorado, it's evident that this is a better team.
The rest of the season still has to play out before we're all sure, but the bottom line is that the Rams are already far more competitive than before.
93. Purdue Boilermakers
Average Rank: 98
Purdue is not going to do well this season. The Boilermakers were blown out by the Cincinnati Bearcats on opening weekend, and they squeaked by Indiana State in Week 2. That's the same Indiana State that the Indiana Hoosiers beat by 38 points.
Yes, the season is far from lost, but all the evidence we have is the past two weeks. The Boilermakers face four currently ranked teams before the end of the season, and they have Northern Illinois as their lone remaining out-of-conference game.
92. San Diego State Aztecs
Average Rank: 97
San Diego State is another expected stud that's off to a rough start. The Aztecs have faced Eastern Illinois and Ohio State, and they lost both those games by a combined score of 82-26.
There's still some residual faith that they'll turn it around, but they'll have to wait until after Week 3. Given the circumstances, it's not advisable to go into the Oregon State game expecting an upset.
91. Temple Owls
Average Rank: 96.5
Temple lost 22-13 to the AQ-upstart Houston Cougars in Week 2. That was a competitive game that points to a 2-2 start to the season. Fordham and Idaho are the next two games on the schedule, and it would be a stunning turn of events to see either of those games in Temple's loss column.
90. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Average Rank: 96
Wake Forest and Boston College entered Week 2 with what looked like a great, competitive ACC match on their hands. The Demon Deacons showed up and scored a touchdown in the first quarter and a field goal in the fourth to lose 24-10 to the Eagles.
Not only was Wake practically shut down, but there is also the possibility that Boston College isn't even that good yet. The facts are the facts, and they were ranked off the 24-10 win, but there's the nagging feeling that Wake may have gotten worse.
The next two games, against Louisiana-Monroe and Army, will iron the kinks out of the situation.
89. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Average Rank: 94.5
Bobby Petrino is doing an excellent job sustaining success at Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers led the season off with a big win over the SEC's Kentucky Wildcats, and they followed it up with a 52-20 loss to one of the two remaining undefeated SEC East squads, Tennessee.
The Tennessee defense forced a total of seven turnovers in that game, so that loss is attributed more to Butch Jones' improvement of the Volunteers' defense than the lack of talent at Western Kentucky.
The Hilltoppers don't have a single impossible game left on their list, and they could be an 11-win squad at the end of the regular season.
88. Colorado Buffaloes
Average Rank: 91.5
Colorado just found victory at the end of a 38-24 nail-biter against the Central Arkansas Bears in Week 2, and the Buffaloes had already led the season off with a win over Colorado State.
Central Arkansas was a nine-win FCS squad that almost took down the eventual bowl-winning Ole Miss Rebels last season, so this victory is especially sweet for Colorado fans. (The Buffaloes have already doubled their win total from last season.)
87. Arkansas State Red Wolves
Average Rank: 90
Arkansas State lost to Auburn, much to the chagrin of Red Wolves fans everywhere. The Tigers beat them 38-9. That's due to Auburn's improvement this season, resulting from the termination of Gene Chizik and hiring of Gus Malzahn.
However, it's still a terrible loss to a team that still gets little national respect (and rightfully so, because Auburn has a lot to prove after the last two seasons). The next match, against the Troy Trojans, is not season-defining by any means, but it will set the tone for the rest of the year.
The Red Wolves can recover from a Week 3 loss, but it will devastate their reputation as a 10-win Sun Belt power.
86. Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks
Average Rank: 89
Louisiana-Monroe was the first team to find out that Oklahoma is a clear contender for any championship available. While this was unexpected, the Warhawks resumed business as usual against Grambling State with a 48-10 victory in Week 2.
They have a highly winnable game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons this week, and that game will go a long way toward establishing their power rank firmly enough to absorb the probable loss to Baylor in Week 4.
85. Connecticut Huskies
Average Rank: 86
Connecticut is entering Week 3 from a bye week, and that was a good thing for the Huskies. After the 33-18 loss to the Towson Tigers a week to focus on football couldn't hurt. Especially with how much wind it must have taken out of players' sails.
They face Maryland on Sept. 14, and that is a prime opportunity to turn everything around. The Terrapins aren't a terrible team, but it's not like they're Florida State yet, either. A win here would instantly turn the Connecticut season around, even if it won't completely restore them to the top half of the rankings.
84. Kansas Jayhawks
Average Rank: 85
Kansas beat South Dakota 31-14 in Week 2, and that was the Jayhawks' season opener. Kansas was one of the worst teams in the Big 12 last year, and the game against Rice is going to help assess whether they are on the way up, or simply stagnate.
If Charlie Weis is going to make it as a head coach, he had better ensure that Kansas stays as far away from the bottom of the conference as possible. (A top-60 finish in the final power rankings would help him out a lot, too.)
83. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns
Average Rank: 84.5
Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns had the unfortunate task of attempting to beat Kansas State immediately after the Wildcats had been bested by the 2012 FCS-powerhouse North Dakota State Bison.
It didn't work, and the final score was 48-27 in favor of Kansas State. There is a bright side to all this, though. Louisiana's next 10 games are all winnable, and some are practically locked down even before kickoff.
If the Ragin' Cajuns drop in the rankings again this season, it will be a surprise to a lot of folks.
82. Wyoming Cowboys
Average Rank: 82
You're going to hear a lot of talk about Wyoming's quarterback, Brett Smith, this season, and it's with good reason. He's not a No. 1 draft pick, but he's a student of the game. He's got one of the prettiest deep balls in the country, and he can lead Wyoming to relative success.
He led the Cowboys to a 42-10 victory over the Idaho Vandals in Week 2, and he faces off against the Northern Colorado Bears on Sept. 14. After that, there are only four likely losses on the schedule.
This means that Wyoming could be bowl-bound at the end of the season.
81. Kentucky Wildcats
Average Rank: 81.5
Kentucky lost to a solid Western Kentucky program in the season opener, but the Wildcats redeemed themselves a bit in Week 2 with a 41-7 win over the Miami Redhawks.
Mark Stoops appears to have the Kentucky program back on the rails, but it's far too early to predict what's going to happen in conference play. In fact, they begin the Louisville-Florida-South Carolina-Alabama stretch on Sept. 14.
At least the Wildcats enjoy a bye between Louisville and Florida. There's always a silver lining, right?
80. California Golden Bears
Average Rank: 80
California could have had a completely different season opener if it weren't for penalties and Northwestern's ridiculous interception-happy defense. In Week 2, the Golden Bears defeated Portland State 37-30 after a back-and-forth contest that left some serious questions concerning expectations.
79. Ohio Bobcats
Average Rank: 79.5
The Ohio Bobcats have Tyler Tettleton under center and Beau Blankenship at tailback, yet they have managed to cast doubt on themselves as of the 27-21 defeat of the now-No. 98 North Texas Mean Green in Week 2.
Of course, as discussed in the North Texas slide, the Mean Green could come seemingly out of nowhere and help Ohio's victory look exponentially better, but that's still a few weeks away, if it's even going to happen.
The other reason the Bobcats are in question is the Louisville game. If Louisville's defense actually turns out to be stellar, then Ohio will be forgiven for scoring just seven points against the Cardinals.
The Week 3 game against Marshall looks like it's going to be far more interesting than many of the power teams' matches.
78. SMU Mustangs
Average Rank: 78.5
SMU scored a 31-30 win over the Montana State Bobcats of the FCS Big Sky Conference. For what it's worth, the Bobcats won 11 games in 2012. (They lost to Sam Houston State in their season finale, and that team went on to lose to North Dakota State in the national championship game.)
All that was simply to point out that it was a solid win over a national power. Houston doesn't have its lethal Case Keenum-led offense anymore, but the Cougars are going to be okay in the AAC this season.
They won't drop much after their loss this week, but you can bank on an incredible leap if they knock off the Texas A&M Aggies.
77. Nevada Wolf Pack
Average Rank: 77
Second, the UC Davis win and the loss to UCLA bring into question Cody Fajardo's ability to get the job done without running back Stefphon Jefferson (from 2012). The scores were just not high enough to merit a higher power ranking than this. (UCLA has a potentially elite defense, or the ranking would have been a bit lower.)
76. Marshall Thundering Herd
Average Rank: 76
Marshall got the better of Gardner-Webb 55-0 on Sept. 7, and the Thundering Herd will attempt to start the season 3-0 against the Ohio Bobcats in on Sept. 14. Rakeem Cato will not be denied very many times this season, and if it were socially acceptable to put a Conference-USA team in the AP Top 2, you can bet that someone would have already voted for them by now.
The Herd has their wok cut out for them, but they always do. Look for them in the postseason, because they'll be there...probably winning.
75. Rice Owls
Average Rank: 73.5
The Rice Owls had a good showing against the Texas A&M Aggies, and they were rewarded with a nice break before taking on the Kansas Jayhawks in a winnable game that will establish a solid foundation for the winner's season.
Rice didn't move much, but the Owls did get bumped down two spots in the madness that was Week 2. That will certainly be remedied with a win over the Jayhawks.
74. Virginia Cavaliers
Average Rank: 72.5
Virginia was just owned by the Oregon Ducks in a 59-10 contest that was bordering on the absurd...much like most of Oregon's games do. The Cavaliers dropped from 59th to 74th simply because they lost all the AP votes they had garnered after the Week 1 win over BYU.
The rest of us left them alone, and they enjoy a bye week in which they won't move much. After that, it's VMI and Pittsburgh for a couple of should-win games that will boost them in the rankings.
73. Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Average Rank: 71
Tulsa beat Colorado State 30-27 last week, and the Golden Hurricane are facing more variables than most other teams. Basically, Tulsa's 1-1 on the season so far, and nobody knows how good either of those opponents is going to be.
If Bowling Green and Colorado State are vastly improved, then this is the same old conference-contending Golden Hurricane we've all come to respect. If those two turn out to be terrible, then Tulsa will be exposed soon enough.
Oklahoma, Iowa State and Rice are their next three games. There should be enough information over that period do draw an excellent bead on where Tulsa belongs.
72. Boston College Eagles
Average Rank: 70.667
Boston College took down the Wake Forest Demon Deacons 24-10 in the ACC's Week 2 Friday night match. The Eagles have started 2013 off 2-0, but it's going to take an astral combination of luck, scheming and all-out prayer to take down their next opponent.
Florida State is next on the to-do list, and the only advantage BC brings is the home-field one. Good luck to the Eagles, a win there would result in one of the biggest jumps in recent memory.
(A Boston College comeback would be incredibly poignant if it came the season after Notre Dame's national championship appearance. It would fit right in with Notre Dame's "move" to the ACC, too.)
71. Duke Blue Devils
Average Rank: 70.5
Duke has Jamison Crowder at wide receiver, but there are a lot of other factors missing from last year's bowl-eligible squad. So far, the Blue Devils have been fine. They have started the season off 2-0, logging the second win with a 28-14 win over the Memphis Tigers.
Nobody is going to mistake Duke for an ACC champion this football season, but it should quietly walk back into the postseason. Especially since it appeared the team took its collective foot off the gas after claiming the sixth win last season.
70. Toledo Rockets
Average Rank: 70
Toledo put up a good fight against Missouri on Sept. 7 but eventually fell 38-23 to the Tigers. The Rockets will ride their 0-2 out-of-conference record into a plethora of winnable games to close out the season.
Week 3's enemy is Eastern Washington. If Toledo can't win that one, then the Rockets must have left the starters at a gas station somewhere on the road.
69. Houston Cougars
Average Rank: 67.5
Houston just beat Temple 22-13, and the Cougars have a break until the Rice game on Sept. 21. The win over Temple gave them a 2-0 start to the season, and they should not drop in the rankings following the bye.
Things could get completely crazy in Week 3 and move them a bit, but don't look for a major difference in either direction.
68. Ball State Cardinals
Average Rank: 67
Ball State just scored a 40-14 win over the Army Black Knights, and the Cardinals come in at No. 68 on the list. There should be a little more credit given here, though. The schedule is full of potential wins.
In fact, Toledo, Virginia and Northern Illinois are the only predictable losses right now. Ball State should move up over the next few games, unless North Texas has something to say about it.
67. Iowa State Cyclones
Average Rank: 65.5
Iowa State was one of the teams upset by FCS opponents on opening weekend, and the Cyclones have had two weeks to seethe over the embarrassment. (Whether they're great teams or not, FBS programs are not "supposed" to lose to the secondary division.)
The only thing to do here is to feel sorry for the Iowa Hawkeyes. They are going to bear the brunt of the Cyclones' frustration, and it doesn't look like a fun day for them.
66. Syracuse Orange
Average Rank: 65
Syracuse fights an uphill battle against personnel losses this season, and it started with back-to-back losses to Penn State and Northwestern—a 48-27 defeat by the Wildcats.
Wagner and Tulane are next up, and they will at least provide the Orange an opportunity to change 0-2 into 2-2.
65. Minnesota Golden Gophers
Average Rank: 64
Minnesota just beat New Mexico State by 23 points in Week 2, and the Golden Gophers are gradually working their way into the 2013 season. Minnesota faces Western Illinois this week in a bid for a 3-0 start, and the schedule ramps up steadily in this order: FCS, Mountain West, Iowa then heavyweights from the Big Ten.
The people in charge of this schedule—however many years ago it was made—need to be given tenure at their positions.
64. Iowa Hawkeyes
Average Rank: 63
Iowa just beat Missouri State 28-14 after falling to the Northern Illinois Huskies in its season opener. As mentioned in the Iowa State slide, the Cyclones are out for blood after losing to an FCS squad and having two weeks to meditate on the loss.
Iowa needs to start winning quickly, but this perfect storm of events makes a Week 3 win improbable.
63. Indiana Hoosiers
Average Rank: 62
Indiana came out in Week 2 an lost a hard-fought battle with the Navy Midshipmen. The Hoosiers were outdone 41-35 with a comeback that simply started too late o be successful.
Indiana faces a challenging Bowling Green program on Sept. 14, and the Hoosiers will need to bring some of that offense displayed in the season opener against Indiana State.
Without it, the Falcons would gladly ride a victory over Indiana into a week of BCS hoopla.
62. NC State Wolfpack
Average Rank: 61.5
NC State might not look like a top-half team at first glance, but the Wolfpack are doing quite well at 2-0, given the loss of both David Amerson (CB) and Mike Glennon (QB) to the NFL. This week is a bye for the Wolfpack, so don't expect much movement from them in the next edition.
61. Pittsburgh Panthers
Average Rank: 61
Pittsburgh was completely shredded by Florida State's Jameis Winston in the season opener, and the Panthers' bye week gave them almost 14 days to hit the practice field in preparation for the Week 3 match against New Mexico.
Pitt should roll the Lobos with little issue, because watching game tape can't magically turn your quarterback into Mr. Winston. (If it could, Lane Kiffin's job would be pretty safe right now.)
60. Washington State Cougars
Average Rank: 58.333
Washington State dropped a close one to Auburn in the season opener, but nobody knows how good the Tigers are yet. On the flip side, the Cougars won a 10-7 defensive battle with the USC Trojans in Week 2 to start the season 1-1 against respectable squads—again, as far as we know.
The next two games against Southern Utah and Idaho will be wins, and the big battle with Stanford will define Washington State's season. Either way, this year is already an improvement over last season.
59. Navy Midshipmen
Average Rank: 57.5
There are a lot of wins on that schedule that are just ripe for the picking. As long as Navy can maintain its composure and not get too excited, there will be another trip to the White House to accept the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy.
58. East Carolina Pirates
Average Rank: 57.333
East Carolina's most recent victory was the Thursday night 31-13 win over the Florida Atlantic Owls on Sept. 5. Quarterback Shane Carden and tailback Vintavious Cooper form one of the most underrated tandems in C-USA.
After what Virginia Tech did to Alabama's offense in the season opener, it's advisable to watch at least a few minutes of the Pirates' Week 3 game against the Hokies. From the East Carolina side of the ball, you'll get to watch one of the best groups in C-USA take on one of the best defenses in the ACC (if not the entire country).
57. Cincinnati Bearcats
Average Rank: 57
Cincinnati lost Munchie Legaux near the end of the Week 2 match against Illinois due to a major knee injury. He will be out for the remainder of the season.
After the crushing defeat of the Purdue Boilermakers, Cincinnati's expectations were significantly heightened. With the 45-17 loss to Illinois, things will not be as sunny in Cincy—although they're brighter in Champaign.
Fortuitously, the Bearcats' schedule pits them against gradually more difficult teams for the remainder of the season, giving Brendon Kay time to adjust to full responsibility for the offense.
56. San Jose State Spartans
Average Rank: 56.5
San Jose State's 2013 Stanford match didn't go as well as the one in 2012. This time, the Spartans lost 34-13 instead of 20-17. Now, they travel to Minnesota to take on the Big Ten's Golden Gophers in a game that could easily go either way. (The two teams are separated by fewer than 10 spots on this list.)
55. Maryland Terrapins
Average Rank: 55.5
Maryland is hot off a 47-10 victory over the Old Dominion Monarchs, and the Terrapins are heading into a solid match against the Connecticut Huskies on Sept. 14. Through two games, wide receiver Stephon Diggs already has 277 yards and two touchdowns off just 11 receptions.
He's the game-changer that could spark an impressive season for Maryland.
54. West Virginia Mountaineers
Average Rank: 55
West Virginia and Oklahoma were locked in a defensive war for 60 minutes on Sept. 7 that ended with a final score of 16-7 in favor of the Sooners. Simply put, it's not pretty to watch a match where none of the three quarterbacks involved has a rating higher than 32.
Part of that was West Virginia's defense stepping up to the role it has to play this season: leader. With Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey all missing from the roster, defense absolutely has to win games.
At least the Mountaineers draw Georgia State in Week 3. If there are offensive issues to iron out before conference play kicks in, now is the time to flatten them.
53. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Average Rank: 53
Mississippi State got to try out its offense against the Alcorn State Braves to the tune of 51-7. However, that didn't really help ease the pain of the Oklahoma State game from opening weekend.
The Bulldogs are staring down the Auburn Tigers right now, and the Sept. 14 match is largely unknown. Everyone knew what to expect from them when Gene Chizik was in charge, but now the Tigers have beaten the team that beat the USC Trojans.
*Of course, it might just be because Gene Chizik's No. 1 fan is coaching the Trojans.
*Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. —Charles Caleb Colton
52. Utah Utes
Average Rank: 49.667
Utah beat Weber State 70-7 last week, and that doesn't affect the Utes' ranking much at all. It does help solidify them as a respectable team, but you're not going to move up in FBS rankings by scoring on inferior competition.
The big win over Utah State in the opener is what got the Utes here, and they'll stay until they prove themselves undeserving. This week, the Utes take on Oregon State. This game will definitely shake up the rankings.
51. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Average Rank: 48
Rutgers held serve with a 38-0 victory over Norfolk State on Sept. 7, and the Scarlet Knights will score another victory on Sept. 14 against the Eastern Michigan Eagles. Rutgers could play big and win the AAC this season, but that's only if the Knights respond correctly to the opening loss to Fresno State.
50. Bowling Green Falcons
Average Rank: 46.75
Bowling Green took out Kent State with a score of 41-22 in Week 2, but the Golden Flashes were without Dri Archer at the time. Ultimately, the Falcons won the game via halftime adjustments, so there is still a lot of good going on at Bowling Green.
With Indiana in their sights, the Falcons are heading for the game that could completely make their season.
49. UNC Tar Heels
Average Rank: 46.5
In fact, with East Carolina, Virginia Tech, Miami (FL) and Boston College as the Heels' next games, it seems that bowl eligibility may depend on the regular-season finale against the Duke Blue Devils.
Sometimes, the hardwood rivalries spill over onto the football field. They're just that big down in tobacco country.
48. Arkansas Razorbacks
Average Rank: 45.333
Arkansas beat Samford 31-21 last week, and the Razorbacks are sitting at 2-0 on the season heading into the Southern Miss game this weekend (Sept. 14). Arkansas should not have a problem defeating the Golden Eagles, given the opening win against Louisiana-Lafayette was a much more difficult one.
47. Vanderbilt Commodores
Average Rank: 44.5
Vanderbilt barely missed the No. 46 spot on this list, as you will see from the next team's average rank. The Commodores faced Austin Peay last week and won decisively 38-3. While they are sitting here enjoying a nice spot in the rankings, they are traveling to Columbia, South Carolina to face the Gamecocks.
Those roosters are wounded from the Georgia Bulldogs that bit them in Week 2, and this does not bode well for the team that already let Ole Miss come back and beat them on opening night. Vanderbilt will fall after the loss next week, but a win could put them in every official Top 25 that exists.
46. Illinois Fighting Illini
Average Rank: 44.4
Illinois scored huge against Cincinnati in Week 2, logging a 45-17 victory against the Bearcats. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase exploited the opposing defense for a 9-of-15 third-down conversion rate, four touchdowns and zero interceptions.
His biggest flaw last season was his penchant for tossing picks. If he has really reined that in, Illinois should be viewed as a dark-horse candidate for the Big Ten. Yes, that's highly unlikely, but they don't call them dark horses because they are safe bets.
This week, the Illini face No. 19 Washington in Chicago on Soldier Field. This is a much more difficult challenge than Cincinnati was.
45. Missouri Tigers
Average Rank: 44
Missouri won 38-23 over the Toledo Rockets to become one of only two SEC East teams with a zero in its loss column. The Tigers now enjoy a bye week before hitting the road to fight Indiana for conference bragging rights.
Both teams are near the middle of their conferences in the power rankings, so it will be interesting to see how the SEC vs. Big Ten game goes down. Sadly, we all have to wait until Sept. 21 for that.
44. Oregon State Beavers
Average Rank: 43.5
For those of you wondering how the Beavers could be ranked so highly after that opening loss to Eastern Washington, the Eagles were semifinalists in the FCS playoffs last season.
43. Utah State Aggies
Average Rank: 42.667
The Utah State Aggies lost a tearjerker to Utah in the opening game, but they came back to beat Air Force 52-20 in Week 2. The Aggies are still a force to be reckoned with in the Mountain West, and there are a ton of FBS teams that would lose a head-to-head fight with them.
The game against Weber State on Sept. 14 should be an easy win, and the Aggies will cruise to another week in the top 50.
42. USC Trojans
Average Rank: 38.75
USC just lost a 10-7 struggle to the Washington State Cougars, and that projects a season that will get Lane Kiffin fired at the end—or sooner. It's difficult to project wins for this team, especially while still so unsure of Washington State's status in the Pac-12.
We will know more after the Boston College game on Sept. 14.
41. UCF Knights
Average Rank: 38.333
UCF shut Florida International out 38-0 this past week, and the Knights are taking Blake Bortles to Penn State to see what he can do against the Nittany Lions this week. Bortles and company are fully capable of winning this game, but it is not going to be surprising if they don't.
This is Penn State, and Bill O'Brien has something special going on there even in the midst of sanctions.
40. Kansas State Wildcats
Average Rank: 37.75
Kansas State bounced back from the North Dakota State loss by beating Louisiana-Lafayette 48-27 a week later. The Wildcats have a game against the No. 124 Massachusetts Minutemen this week, which should be a win.
Plus, the Texas game on Sept. 21 keeps looking more and more like a win as the Longhorns seem to be stuck in a post-McCoy era that simply won't end. Bill Snyder may not have the best team in the Big 12 every season, but he is by far the best coach of all of them.
39. Auburn Tigers
Average Rank: 36.5
Auburn destroyed Arkansas State 38-9 last week, and the Tigers are already starting to look like they did just a few years ago. They host Mississippi State this week, and that game will give a good indication of where this team is on both sides of the ball.
Until then, a 2-0 record after games with Washington State and Arkansas State is worth a spot comfortably in the top 50.
38. Tennessee Volunteers
Average Rank: 36.25
Tennessee has already shown flashes of vast improvement over last season with commanding wins over Austin Peay and Western Kentucky, but the real test comes at Oregon in Week 3. The Volunteers don't need to win to prove that they're better than last season, but a win here would change the face of the program overnight.
Of course, just holding Oregon to a three-possession win would make a lot of fans happy.
37. Northern Illinois Huskies
Average Rank: 35.2
Northern Illinois had a bye week, and it's finally over. Huskies fans will have a great time watching the Week 3 win over Idaho, but the national appeal of this game is nil. So is its effect on NIU's rank. Unless the Huskies lose, they will be just inside the top 40 next week.
36. Fresno State Bulldogs
Average Rank: 34.4
Fresno State beat Cal Poly 41-25 last week, and quarterback Derek Carr looked like the excellent MWC signal-caller that he is. The defense at Fresno State could use some work, and that's basically the only thing keeping the Bulldogs in the "others receiving votes" category of the major polls.
The Sept. 14 duel with a seemingly improved Colorado team will be worth catching, and it will help identify where the Bulldogs belong in the grand scheme of things.
35. Penn State Nittany Lions
Average Rank: 34.25
Penn State's Bill O'Brien earned a lot of respect last season with his eight-win Nittany Lions squad. He's followed that up with a 2-0 start to 2013 that includes wins over Syracuse and Eastern Michigan.
The Lions host UCF this week, and an experienced Blake Bortles against a green Christian Hackenberg is a mouth-watering matchup regardless of eligibility status.
34. Boise State Broncos
Average Rank: 34
Boise State's 63-14 win over Tennessee-Martin won't change the fact that the Broncos probably already shot their BCS chances against Washington on opening day, but there's always the possibility that a bunch of one- and two-loss teams are crowding the Top 25 late in the season.
The Broncos face Air Force this week, and there's one sure thing: All Boise's games are must-win at this point if they want a shot at the BCS. Plus, the MWC is going to be so tight that one conference loss could make the difference between champion and not.
33. Michigan State Spartans
Average Rank: 33.4
Michigan State isn't helping itself out much with wins like it's been getting. Let's face it: A 21-6 final score against the South Florida Bulls isn't impressing anyone, especially the Spartans' Big Ten competition. Sparty hasn't lost yet, but with two mediocre wins over Western Michigan and South Florida, the Notre Dame game is looming disastrously on the horizon.
This week, Michigan State gets its last warm-up game against Youngstown State. After that, it's anyone's game every week.
32. Texas Tech Red Raiders
Average Rank: 32.5
Texas Tech's most recent win was 61-13 over Stephen F. Austin, and the first two games have alleviated fears about how well the Red Raiders can do without Michael Brewer. This week's game against TCU will definitely define the Red Raiders' season, as a loss would put a severe damper on championship hopes.
31. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Average Rank: 32.4
Georgia Tech had a bye week between Elon and Duke, but the Yellow Jackets are heading into conference play starting Sept. 14. The ranking is probably a bit high, but that rushing attack led them to the ACC title game last season, and it's not out of the question again this year.
It's more difficult, but not impossible.
30. BYU Cougars
Average Rank: 31.6
BYU jumped nine spots from last week's composite ranking with a 40-21 win over the Texas Longhorns. In spite of that, Texas still manages to remain ahead of the Cougars in almost every ranking system used in this piece.
Give it time, the Cougars are passing the Longhorns. It might even happen this week, while the Cougars can sit at home and watch the scene play out from their couches. That would almost make it worth the frustration.
29. Virginia Tech Hokies
Average Rank: 31.2
Virginia Tech played Western Carolina last week and logged a 45-3 win over the Catamounts. This week, the Hokies travel to the East Carolina Pirates. If Virginia Tech's defense was as good as it looked against Alabama in Week 1, then this is going to be a one-sided show of Virginia Tech's defense...again.
The Hokies' offense needs to make sure that it stays clean, catches the ball and doesn't fumble. If all those things happen, Tech will walk away with the victory.
28. Arizona Wildcats
27. Texas Longhorns
Average Rank: 29
Texas dropped an inexcusable 40-21 conflict with BYU. The Cougars are a solid team with great defense and all that, but this is Texas with all its injured players ready to take the field. This wasn't quite as bad as the USC Trojans' loss to Washington State, but it was bad.
Colt McCoy left almost four years ago, so this season should have been defined by recruits that came to Texas based off its national championship appearance. If Mack Brown can't win with that level of talent anymore, then maybe it wasn't the Manny Diaz that needed to be let go.
26. Ole Miss Rebels
Average Rank: 26.4
Ole Miss got win No. 2 against Southeast Missouri State with a score of 31-13 in Week 2, and the Rebels take on the Texas Longhorns on the road on Sept. 14. Ole Miss is fighting to take the next step, and everyone on the Texas staff is fighting to keep his job.
This will be one of the most intense battles of the week. Expect tempers to flare more than once.
25. Arizona State Sun Devils
Average Rank: 24.6
Arizona State took down Sacramento State 55-0 in the season opener on Sept. 5. The Sun Devils were supposed to have a great defense led by Will Sutton and at least an above-average offense.
So far, everything looks great, and the only thing standing between next week's AP Top 25 and ASU is a little team from the Big Ten named Wisconsin. The Sun Devils get their shot at the Badgers on Sept. 14.
24. TCU Horned Frogs
Average Rank: 23.6
TCU got a little break between LSU and Texas Tech with a 38-17 win over Southeastern Louisiana in Week 2. Now it's time to face the Red Raiders and start the Big 12's process of elimination to determine the conference champion.
TCU looks good for it, but there is the issue of Casey Pachall's injury. As long as Pachall was on the field, hurt feelings didn't matter. How will the team react to Trevone Boykin back under center? More importantly, will Boykin subconsciously feel like hes not wanted?
These intangibles don't directly affect the current power ranking, but if they cause losses, the Frogs will start the slide.
23. Washington Huskies
Average Rank: 21.4
Washington had a bye in Week 2, and didn't move much in the rankings. This week, the Huskies face the Illinois Fighting Illini in a road game that should be one of the best of the weekend.
Yes, the Alabama at Texas A&M game is already nationally relevant, but the way seasons tend to play out, the Washington at Illinois game could wind up one of the top 10 games of the year.
Both in possible relevance and quality of football, this game is a must-watch.
22. Northwestern Wildcats
T-20. Wisconsin Badgers
Average Rank: 20
Wisconsin and Nebraska are tied at 20th, but the argument may never get settled. The only way these two will meet this season is in the Big Ten Championship Game, and that would require Michigan, Northwestern and Ohio State to all get out of the way.
T-20. Nebraska Cornhuskers
Average Rank: 20
Nebraska's Week 2 win was 56-13 over the Southern Miss Golden Eagles, and that was solid enough to keep them in all five of the pertinent rankings. Just like Wisconsin, Nebraska faces a Pac-12 contender this week in UCLA.
The big tie-breaking advantage that the 'Huskers have over the Badgers? Their game is at home. The Badgers have to hit the road. On the other hand, most teams would rather be hundreds of miles away from Brett Hundley on game day, so the advantage is nullified again.
19. Baylor Bears
Average Rank: 19.8
Baylor took down the Buffalo Bulls 70-13 last week, and the Bears quickly moved into all major rankings. It was assumed that the coaching staff would simply train a new face under center and have him lead the team to the postseason sporting nine-plus wins.
Now that it's quite evident, Baylor is where it belongs. With a few lucky breaks, a national title appearance is possible. Based on current data, Baylor would probably be the favorite in any championship match outside of the Oregon Ducks or a few teams in the SEC.
The Bears drew a bye week this week, so they won't be dropping out of the rankings anywhere.
18. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Average Rank: 18.6
Notre Dame lost the Sept. 7, prime-time match against the Michigan Wolverines 41-30. This does not mean that the Irish should have dropped out of the Top 25.
On the contrary, they stood tall against a Big Ten power that could end up in the Rose Bowl. While there are clear obstacles to the national championship, a BCS bowl was not lost that night.
If you're looking for a long list of Irish losses on this schedule, then you're going to waste a lot of time.
17. Florida Gators
Average Rank: 18.2
The Florida vs. Miami duel was an impressive display of great defenses. This was a terrible shock to any Gators fans who were looking at defensive rankings from 2012, as Miami was 83rd in scoring protection that year.
Florida still has a lot of light at the end of its tunnel, too. If Alabama has taught anyone anything over the past two seasons, it's that needing someone else to lose isn't the worst thing in the world. The only thing Florida has to do now is handle things one game at a time and win.
In the meantime, the rankings will gladly reflect whether the Gators are on track or not. First up is Tennessee on Sept. 21, so look for the Gators right here next week, since they will neither win nor lose.
16. Miami Hurricanes
Average Rank: 16.4
Miami took down the Florida Gators 21-16 on Sept. 7, and they also enjoy a bye before facing Savannah State on the 21st. The Miami defense gave up yards and yards to Florida, but they stood strong when it came to the red zone.
The Hurricanes aren't the favorites to win the ACC yet, but that day may be right around the corner.
15. UCLA Bruins
Average Rank: 16
UCLA's Brett Hundley is going to get a lot of airtime during his career, and it's only going to take weeks off when the Bruins do. Week 2 was a bye week, and now we're into Week 3 as they approach the heavyweight match with No. 23 Nebraska.
The Bruins clearly didn't slip down as a result of the bye, and the only way they drop is by losing.
14. South Carolina Gamecocks
Average Rank: 13
Clemson took out Georgia on opening weekend, and the Bulldogs returned the favor 41-30 on Sept. 7. The Bulldogs are still alive for the SEC East, but there are far more than two undefeated teams across the national landscape at the moment.
The Dawgs will have to hope for no more than one undefeated team at the end of the regular season. Even with two, it's possible the SEC champions would jump one, but it's safer to just hope that everyone loses at least one.
This week, Georgia cruises against nobody, and it faces North Texas on Sept. 21.
13. Oklahoma Sooners
Average Rank: 12.6
Oklahoma just fought to a 16-7 win over the West Virginia Mountaineers, and the Sooners established themselves as a possible contender for the Big 12, which is nothing new. The key is, even if they score 12 questionable wins, they are still wins.
Oklahoma has one more break-in game against Tulsa this week, but the ranked teams are lining up behind the Golden Hurricane to try to knock Oklahoma down a peg or two. It's a simple formula: Keep winning, and you stay in the rankings.
12. Michigan Wolverines
Average Rank: 11.2
Michigan knocked over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 41-30 in front of a national audience, and the Wolverines even spotted the Irish seven points with a Devin Gardner inside-the-end zone pick six—football's newly minted equivalent to the inside-the-park home run.
Michigan is capable of winning the Big Ten, especially if the Wolverines can focus on fundamental football and ball security along the way. They will be favored in all of the next three games, and it's basically up to them to avoid handing a game away.
Michigan should be a staple in the Top 25 this season.
11. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Average Rank: 11
Oklahoma State just beat UTSA 56-35, and the Cowboys have another cruise-control game against Lamar before heading into their first of three bye weeks. They have a progressively more difficult season as the fall wears on, and they are capable of winning any game on it.
So far, they are a top 25 team. The Big 12 gauntlet will take care of the situation if they aren't.
10. Florida State Seminoles
Average Rank: 10
Florida State's Jameis Winston may be the most-anticipated performer of Week 3. He started the season off with a 25-of-27 stat line against the Pittsburgh Panthers, and the Seminoles took a bye week. Their ranking shifted up one, because the Gators lost to the Miami Hurricanes.
On Sept. 14, FSU takes on the Nevada Wolf Pack. The game could be close, but it will more likely be a Northern Illinois-style match where FSU breaks off in the final quarter to secure the win.
9. Louisville Cardinals
Average Rank: 9.6
Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater is getting a lot of hype, but it's deserved. There are only three undefeated AAC teams right now, and Louisville is one of them. He and his defense have stifled Ohio and Eastern Kentucky so far, holding each team to just seven points.
Louisville may be overrated in your book, but its schedule simply doesn't hold a single game where the Cardinals will be underdogs. That counts for a lot in preseason rankings, and it carries over for at least a month.
8. Georgia Bulldogs
Average Rank: 8.8
Georgia lost to Clemson, and it fell in the rankings. Georgia then bested South Carolina 41-30, and the Bulldogs are back in business inside the top 10.
They have a bye this week, so as long as no other team has a performance so epic as to jump over them, the Dawgs will be fine all the way up until Sept. 28, when they take on No. 8 LSU.
7. LSU Tigers
Average Rank: 7
LSU had a lot of questions coming into the season. What did the Clemson loss mean? What are the NFL losses going to do to the Tigers? Lots of questions were asked, and the Tigers answered them all with a 10-point victory over TCU and a 56-17 win over the UAB Blazers in Week 2.
Even against lesser opponents, the more "LSU" the Tigers look, the higher they go in the rankings. Les Miles is one of the best coaches in the country, and as long as he and John Chavis (defensive coordinator) are with the program, LSU will be near the top of the lists.
6. Clemson Tigers
Average Rank: 6.8
Clemson has asserted itself, not as a conference favorite, but as a national storyline as of its opening win over the back-to-back SEC East Division champion Georgia Bulldogs. While the first doesn't count toward this season, Georgia was the second straight top 10 SEC team that the Tigers took down.
Clemson cruised to a 52-13 victory over the South Carolina State Bulldogs in Week 2, setting up a well-timed bye week before taking on the NC State Wolfpack. All around the locker rooms, you can bet that "remember what they did to Florida State" will be uttered frequently.
5. Texas A&M Aggies
Average Rank: 6.4
Texas A&M was ranked highly this season based on what Johnny Manziel and the Aggies accomplished last season, especially the monster win over Alabama. In Weeks 1 and 2, they beat Rice and Sam Houston State.
Sam Houston State was an FCS national finalist in 2012, and the Aggies demolished the Bearkats 65-28 like they were leagues beneath them. If there is one game that will decide the Aggies' ceiling this year, it's the Alabama game coming on Sept. 14.
Win or lose, A&M will be in the top 25. Win, and they might replace Alabama at the top. (Or at least be sitting at No. 2 behind Oregon.)
4. Ohio State Buckeyes
Average Rank: 5.4
Ohio State is riding the wave from last season's undefeated run while ineligible for the postseason. So far, the Buckeyes have started off undefeated against the Buffalo Bulls and San Diego State Aztecs. Some are still skeptical about Ohio State's potential, but there's no reason to pull them out of the Top 5 without a loss.
The Big Ten will take care of figuring out which team is the best, and Ohio State will probably be in the mix for the conference title when the Michigan game kicks off. For now, the Bucks are at No. 4 with no losses.
3. Stanford Cardinal
Average Rank: 4.2
Stanford's opening game was in Week 2, and it ended as a 34-13 win over the San Jose State Spartans. If the Cardinal can keep from turning the football over and they can get their quarterback's head on straight, this could be yet another Rose Bowl berth for the Cardinal.
This week, the challenger is Army, and Stanford takes the road trip to West Point to fight the battle.
2. Oregon Ducks
Average Rank: 2
Oregon is the unanimous No. 2 from all five services sampled. The Ducks are simply flapping all over everyone in their way and leaving a trail of bodies in their wake. Virginia was the most recent victim, falling 59-10 on Sept. 7 to the nigh-unstoppable force that is Marcus Mariota.
Oregon has won its past two games by a total score of 125-13, and Tennessee gets to go to Autzen to represent the fighting spirit of the SEC. Spirit probably won't matter as much as points, though...nobody wants the green ribbon for participation.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
Average Rank: 1
The other unanimous team on the list is No. 1 Alabama. To all of you football fans who saw the 35-10 Virginia Tech game and don't think Alabama deserves this rank: The Tide have to play Texas A&M on Kyle Field this week.
If they aren't No. 1 material, Johnny Manziel and the Aggies will expose them. For the Week 3 rankings, though, Alabama is still the undefeated, reigning, back-to-back national champion. This is a respect position as much as it is actual public opinion.