On the heels of a memorable opening week to the 2014 college football season, the new Associated Press poll features some notable movement but leaves most of the top teams where they started.
Here is a full rundown of the AP's Top 25 poll:
Upsets were at a minimum in Week 1, and many of the best programs in the country began their campaigns against obviously lesser opponents. Even so, the landscape has a different feel than it did just one week ago.
Defending national champion Florida State was considered to be head and shoulders above the rest of the field prior to the start of the season, but that may no longer be the case. The Seminoles survived a tough challenge from Oklahoma State with a 37-31 win and maintained the top spot in the rankings, but the Cowboys exposed some of Florida State's vulnerabilities.
Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston struggled at times against the Cowboys as he threw a pair of interceptions, although he ended the game with 370 passing yards and had a highlight-reel rushing touchdown to boot.
Oklahoma State wasn't quite able to pull off the upset, but it did something against the Seminoles that no team was able to do last season, according to ESPN Stats & Info:
Oklahoma State has cut Florida State's lead to 3. No team was within 3 pts of Florida St after halftime in any regular season game last year— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 31, 2014
Florida State fans aren't used to such a close encounter after the Noles blew out almost all of their opponents last year. This is an entirely new season, though, and head coach Jimbo Fisher made that clear after the narrow victory, per Garry Smits of The Florida Times-Union:
As a team, we are a work in progress. We have some good players. But we still have to play good. I have to coach better. We all have to look at ourselves in all three phases of the game ... and hopefully we'll make improvements in the next week and keep getting better. Last year is over. So now I think we can relax and realize we have to play football.
Aside from Florida State, Alabama presented voters with an interesting conundrum. The Crimson Tide had their hands full in a 33-23 win against West Virginia, and they are seemingly still undecided about their quarterback situation.
Bama is stacked with talent on both sides of the ball, but senior Blake Sims was average at best under center. With that in mind, Alabama head coach Nick Saban intends to give junior transfer Jacob Coker an opportunity to stake his claim when the Tide face Florida Atlantic in Week 2, according to John Zenor of The Associated Press.
Which team most deserves to be ranked No. 1?
"I still don't hesitate to say that there's a quarterback competition," Saban said. "In some way, we'll probably try to play both quarterbacks in this game. I don't know how and when I figure it out I'm probably not going to tell (the media). And I don't know that it's that important, to be honest with you."
As much as Saban has tried to downplay the quarterback controversy and Bama's life after AJ McCarron, its resolution promises to have a major impact on the rankings moving forward.
Two top teams that don't have many question marks after the first week are Oregon and Oklahoma, as they both clobbered cupcake opponents in routine fashion to kick off their campaigns.
One team that wasn't so convincing, though, was UCLA. The Bruins were ranked higher (No. 7) than many expected them to be entering the season due largely to the presence of quarterback Brett Hundley. While the Bruins were able to hold off Virginia 28-20, Hundley struggled mightily, finishing 20-of-33 for 242 yards and no passing touchdowns. (He did add a six-yard score on the ground.)
UCLA's defense scored three touchdowns to spur it to victory, but ESPN's Mike Greenberg is worried about the offense:
I still like #UCLA but of the big teams they concerned me most. If that offensive line doesn't get much better, someone will knock them off.— Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) August 31, 2014
The biggest movers this week are Texas A&M and South Carolina after their surprising contest to open the season. The underdog Aggies destroyed the Gamecocks 52-28 behind 511 passing yards and three touchdowns from sophomore quarterback Kenny Hill.
Texas A&M proved it is still a force to be reckoned with even without Johnny Manziel, while South Carolina could struggle in a stacked SEC this season.
It is tough to differentiate many of the teams ranked in the AP poll through just one week of action, but that will certainly change as more games are played.
The implementation of the College Football Playoff makes these rankings more intriguing than ever, and there is little doubt that they will fluctuate greatly in the weeks to come.
Things are only going to get tougher for the top teams, but perhaps the challenges that some of them faced in Week 1 will set them up for success moving forward.
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