The early part of the college football season means topsy-turvy and volatile AP polls.
Teams are ranked largely on reputation and guesswork, and then play non-conference games against unfamiliar opponents which pit teams against each other in what could almost be considered unfair matchups.
For instance, Clemson and Michigan both found themselves in the polls entering this week's play for the first time this year. While Michigan defended its new ranking against San Diego State, the Tigers had to face the Florida State Seminoles who were ranked No. 11, and No. 5 just a week ago.
Although both teams won, the Tigers clearly faced a tougher test. On the flip side, the win should benefit Clemson's climb up the rankings this week.
As always, the early season allows unranked teams to take advantage of opportunities. These three teams should find their way into the AP Top 25 this week.
Brian Kelly's Notre Dame Fighting Irish went from a No. 16 ranking in Week 1 to 0-2 and completely out of Top 25 contention.
Although they lost two games early, very quietly those two losses are becoming less damaging, as South Florida and Michigan have jumped into the AP rankings.
In a bit of a louder fashion, Notre Dame has notched back-to-back impressive wins. Hammering MSU last week, the Irish showed a glimpse of the potential they have on both sides of the ball.
This week, the Irish travelled to Pittsburgh, and the defense was impressive, holding a good Pitt team to just 12 points in Heinz Field.
The voters always want to vote UND into the Top 25, and they have an excuse to do so this week.
ASU was ranked last week after defeating Missouri in impressive fashion last Thursday night. Their ranking lasted all of one week, after they travelled to Illinois to face the Fighting Illini.
In that game, Dennis Erickson's Sun Devils were bedevilled by the Illinois defense. Held to just 14 points, ASU saw the game and their ranking slip out of their hands.
The offensive slump, however, lasted just one game. Facing the always-mighty Trojans of USC, the Devils hung 43 points on the board, blowing out the No. 23 Trojans by 21 points.
Coach Erickson called the post-game Gatorade bath "[the] Best Gatorade bath I’ve ever had," as his team improved to 3-1.
ASU should replace the Trojans in the rankings this week.
Coming off their loss against Notre Dame, the Spartans took care of business this week, defeating Central Michigan 45-7 this week. MSU finally looked good dismantling a weaker opponent.
Suddenly, their loss to Notre Dame doesn't look as bad as it did last week, as the Irish have improved to 2-2 after beating Pittsburgh this week.
Although the win isn't impressive, MSU finished last week's voting with the No. 26 overall ranking. With USC falling out and Illinois looking unimpressive in their win against Western Michigan, MSU could find themselves back in the AP polls.