College Football Rankings: B/R's Top 25 After Week 2

Kerry Miller@@kerrancejamesFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 11, 2022

College Football Rankings: B/R's Top 25 After Week 2

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    Marshall's Steven Gilmore (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

    Week 2 of the 2022 college football season was a rough one for AP Top 20 teams playing at home.

    No. 17 Pittsburgh losing to No. 24 Tennessee and No. 12 Florida losing to No. 20 Kentucky weren't too out of the ordinary. The Panthers were actually a six-point underdog while the Gators were favored by less than a touchdown.

    But No. 19 Wisconsin losing to Washington State? No. 8 Notre Dame getting clipped by Marshall? No. 6 Texas A&M falling at the hands of Appalachian State?

    Well, that's the carnage we live for, and it resulted in some seismic shifts in the B/R Top 25, voted on by college football experts David Kenyon, Adam Kramer, Kerry Miller and Brad Shepard.

    We also have a change up top this week in the aftermath of Alabama just barely surviving a sloppy game against Texas. More on that game and other noteworthy developments after our updated Top 25:

    1. Georgia (Previous Week: 2)
    2. Alabama (1)
    3. Ohio State (3)
    4. Michigan (5)
    5. Clemson (4)
    6. USC (9)
    7. Arkansas (11)
    8. Oklahoma (8)
    9. Kentucky (22)
    10. Oklahoma State (17)
    11. BYU (14t)
    12. Miami (13)
    13. Tennessee (19)
    14. Utah (18)
    15. Michigan State (12)
    16. Penn State (21)
    17. Wake Forest (NR)
    18. North Carolina State (25)
    19. Ole Miss (NR)
    20. Baylor (14t)
    21. (Tie) Florida (7)
    21. (Tie) Texas Tech (NR)
    23. Marshall (NR)
    24. Texas (24)
    25. Kansas State (NR)

    Others Receiving Votes: Kansas State, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Washington State

Who's Hot: Mark Stoops and the Kentucky Wildcats

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    Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops (David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Mark Stoops was already the longest tenured head coach in Kentucky history, but with Saturday's 26-16 victory over No. 12 Florida, he has now bypassed Bear Bryant as the winningest coach in UK history.

    It certainly wasn't the easiest of his 61 victories with the Wildcats

    After a botched snap on a punt attempt resulted in a safety for the Gators, Florida jumped out to a 16-7 lead in the second quarter. But that's when Kentucky's defense took over and made life miserable for last week's breakout Heisman candidate Anthony Richardson.

    A Jordan Wright interception late in the first half set up the Wildcats inside the Florida 10 for a touchdown to make it 16-13. And then shortly after UK kicked a game-tying field goal, Keidron Smith got the gift of a lifetime for a pick six. Richardson thought his receiver was running a hitch route, but when he instead ran a fade, Smith was the only player within 10 yards of the ball at the game-changing moment.

    Over the final 35 minutes of the game, Florida's offense ran 36 plays for 101 yards with two painful interceptions, two turnovers on downs and no points, looking nothing like the team that knocked off Utah in Week 1 to skyrocket into the rankings.

    This time around, it's Kentucky doing the skyrocketing. We had the Wildcats at No. 22 last Saturday, but they're all the way up to No. 11 now.

    And if they could win this game on a night where quarterback Will Levis didn't have his best stuff, how much higher could this team climb?

    Kentucky should cruise to victory in the next two weeks against Youngstown State and Northern Illinois, but has big games remaining at Ole Miss on Oct. 1, at Tennessee on Oct. 29 and at home against Georgia on Nov. 19. Those will be the ones that determine whether the Wildcats are destined for a New Year's Six bowl, or maybe even the College Football Playoff.

Who's Not: Top 10 Teams Facing the Sun Belt East

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    Marshall's Jace Bobo (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

    If you had a moneyline parlay on Appalachian State winning at No. 6 Texas A&M and Marshall winning at No. 8 Notre Dame, congratulations on your newfound riches.

    The Mountaineers closed as an 18-point underdog while the Thundering Herd were expected to lose by 20.5 points. Respective moneyline odds ended up somewhere in the +750 range for Appalachian State and +1100 for Marshall, which equates to 100-to-1 odds on both Sun Belt East squads pulling off the upset.

    But that's exactly what they did, ensuring a massive shakeup in the rankings heading into Week 3.

    For Marshall, it was the Khalan Laborn show en route to a 26-21 stunner in South Bend. The former Florida State running back carried the rock 31 times for 163 yards, 10 first downs and a score, gutting a Notre Dame front seven which held up reasonably well in last week's loss to Ohio State.

    The back-breaker for the Irish were the turnovers. Tyler Buchner and Drew Pyne threw a combined three interceptions, one of which Marshall's Steven Gilmore took to the house for a pick six. Notre Dame also had a pair of turnovers on downs, struggling to score despite just one three-and-out all afternoon.

    And at Kyle Field, Appalachian State drained the life out of Texas A&M's offense with an Army-like long possession after long possession.

    There was an eight-minute drive in the first quarter that resulted in a missed goal, a six-minute drive in the second quarter with a turnover on downs, and then a six-minute touchdown drive followed by a nine-minute field-goal drive in the second half. They had three fourth-down conversions, as well as a 4th and 1 non-play on which they drew the Aggies offsides to extend the drive.

    On the rare occasions when the Aggies did have the ball, they looked woefully out of sync. Haynes King routinely threw behind receivers, and they simply did not do enough to get primary playmakers Devon Achane and Ainias Smith going. Achane did take a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, but they had a combined 15 touches for 92 yards from scrimmage, which isn't anywhere near enough.

    All told, App State held the ball for 41 minutes and 30 seconds, limiting A&M to a grand total of seven snaps in Mountaineer territory in the 17-14 upset.

Fun Fact: Uncommonly Undisciplined Effort out of Alabama

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    Incredibly, this was NOT one of Alabama's 15 penalties against Texas (AP Photo/Rodolfo Gonzalez)

    In the two games it played in last year's College Football Playoff, the Alabama Crimson Tide committed a combined total of 13 penalties for 93 yards.

    But on Saturday afternoon against the Texas Longhorns in a rare road game against a nonconference opponent, AP No. 1 Alabama committed 15 penalties for 100 yards, all within the first three quarters.

    Only once in Nick Saban's 15 seasons at the helm has Alabama committed even 13 penalties in a single game, doing so in the 2019 Iron Bowl loss to Auburn. The last time Alabama committed 14 or more penalties in a game was a 16-flag mess in the 2002 season opener against Middle Tennessee.

    I will say this much: Two of the 15 penalties were pretty darn smart. Kool-Aid McKinstry committed defensive pass interference on back-to-back plays with 15 seconds left in the first half with Texas already comfortably in field-goal range. It was a "do whatever it takes to avoid giving up a touchdown" situation, and as luck would have it, Longhorns kicker Bert Auburn even missed the ensuing 20-yard chip shot as time expired in the second quarter.

    Aside from that, though, a usually well-disciplined Alabama juggernaut just looked out of sorts.

    Holding on the opening kickoff. A false start two snaps later. Not one but two offsides penalties (plus a personal foul) on Texas' first possession. Back-to-back personal fouls late in Texas' second drive (the latter of which was a roughing the passer that knocked Longhorns QB Quinn Ewers out of the game.)

    And then in the second half of a game that was much closer than expected, the frustration penalties began.

    Will Anderson Jr. had an egregious late hit, gifting Texas a first down instead of what should have been a 3rd and 9. On Alabama's subsequent drive, a Bryce Young scramble for a first down on 3rd and long was negated by a completely pointless blindside block by Traeshon Holden.

    On the final snap of the third quarter, Demarcco Hellams was called for a face mask. And on the first snap of the fourth quarter, the Crimson Tide got away with a missed face mask.

    That missed call started a fourth quarter in which Alabama finally righted the ship and did not commit a single penalty, enabling the Crimson Tide to fight back from a 16-10 deficit to eke out a 20-19 victory.

    You don't often see a team drop from No. 1 following a win, but it did happen twice in 2019. Alabama supplanted Clemson in late September after the latter had a 21-20 scare against unranked North Carolina, and then LSU surged ahead of unbeaten Alabama a few weeks later after the Bayou Bengals defeated their third AP Top 10 opponent of the year. And I suspect we'll see another case of that on Sunday morning with Georgia leap-frogging Alabama for the top spot in the poll.

Looking Ahead: Miami-Texas A&M Headlines an Otherwise Lackluster Week 3 Slate

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    Miami's Henry Parrish Jr. (Eric Espada/Getty Images)

    First things first, "Lackluster" does not mean "boring." Every Saturday in every fall possesses the potential for unmitigated rankings chaos, and next week is no different.

    But compared to a Week 2 with Alabama-Texas, Kentucky-Florida, Baylor-BYU and USC-Stanford and a Week 4 with Wisconsin-Ohio State, Arkansas-Texas A&M, Clemson-Wake Forest and Florida-Tennessee, Week 3 simply does not have the same level of wall-to-wall can't miss action.

    AP No. 15 Miami (FL) at No. 6 Texas A&M (9 p.m. ET on ESPN) is one heck of a marquee matchup, though.

    Granted, Texas A&M is not going to be No. 6 anymore after that loss to Appalachian State, but the Aggies certainly still have dreams of playing their way into the College Football Playoff. This is their first of five games in the span of eight weeks against currently ranked teams, so this could be the start of one heck of a run to storm back into the Top Four.

    But the Aggies will need to contend with a Hurricanes team which has outscored its first two opponents by a combined margin of 100-20. Home games against Bethune-Cookman and Southern Miss aren't exactly the same as a road game against Texas A&M, but Miami has looked doggone good with the backfield tandem of Henry Parrish Jr. and Thaddius Franklin Jr. racking up 344 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. Could wreak havoc on an Aggies defense that just could not get off the field against the Mountaineers.

    Beyond that headliner, there's also No. 2 (possibly No. 1) Georgia going on the road to face South Carolina (Noon ET on ESPN), a pair of intriguing "Independent at Power Five" late afternoon games in No. 21 BYU at Oregon (3:30 p.m. ET on Fox) and Liberty at No. 23 Wake Forest (5 p.m. ET on ACC Network), an early evening battle between No. 14 Michigan State and Washington (7:30 p.m. ET on ABC) and quite the nightcap of No. 10 USC hosting Fresno State (10:30 p.m. ET on Fox).

    On the unranked vs. unranked front, Penn State at Auburn (3:30 p.m. ET on CBS), Mississippi State at LSU (6 p.m. ET on ESPN) and UTSA at Texas (8 p.m. ET on Longhorn Network) should all be good ones.

    So, again, definitely not a boring week. You'll still need at least two screens for the entire day to keep up with it all.

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