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

Brad Shepard@@Brad_ShepardFeatured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2019

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

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    The top tier of college football's "haves" held serve on Saturday, with the higher-ranked teams winning in the Clemson-Texas A&M battle as well as the LSU-Texas prime-time tilt.

    We got an abundance of overtime games, too.

    Thanks to Michigan living for another week as an undefeated team after an extra-session win over Army, there were no major upsets during Week 2, but that doesn't mean everybody stayed in its lane. There was some movement in our poll this week as we tried to sort everything out.

    Bleacher Report's panel of experts—Matt Hayes, David Kenyon, Adam Kramer, Kerry Miller, Brad Shepard and Ian Wharton—tried to make sense of this madness once again. A first-place vote is worth 25 points, followed by 24 points for second, 23 for third, etc.

    Here is our poll after the Week 2 games:

    1. Clemson (Last week: 1)
    2. Alabama (2)
    3. Georgia (3)
    4. LSU (5)
    5. Ohio State (6)
    6. Oklahoma (4)
    7. Auburn (9)
    8. Notre Dame (11)
    9. Washington (10)*
    10. Wisconsin (16)
    11. Texas (7)
    12. Utah (13)
    13. Michigan (8)
    14. Florida (14)
    15. Penn State (15)
    16. Boise State (17)
    17. Oregon (19)
    18. Texas A&M (12)
    19. UCF (18)
    20. Washington State (20)
    21. Maryland (NR)
    22. Iowa (24)
    23. Michigan State (22)
    24. Iowa State (NR)
    25. Virginia (NR)

    Others receiving votes: Colorado, Oklahoma State, Stanford, USC

    *Washington and California were still in the first quarter at press time because of a lengthy thunderstorm delay. The Huskies' ranking is based only on their Week 1 result. 

Who's Hot: Ohio State After Dotting Cincinnati's Eye

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    After last year's audition while Urban Meyer was suspended, Ohio State coach Ryan Day isn't exactly making his first impression.

    But now in the early stages of his program in Columbus, Day is proving the proud Buckeyes are in good hands.

    Saturday's 42-0 annihilation over a Cincinnati team that handled UCLA in the season opener and was expected to provide a nice early-season test proves this OSU team is in midseason form. Talent isn't ever an issue for the Buckeyes, and they look like they've got the "It" factor this season.

    They looked flawless Saturday.

    Everybody wants to talk about quarterback Justin Fields—and rightfully so. The Georgia transfer accounted for four touchdowns and was brilliant throwing and running the ball.

    Running back J.K. Dobbins regained his freshman form with 141 yards and a pair of scores after last year's disappointing season. Master Teague III was strong in relief, too.

    But the defense looked like one of the best units in the country. It had an interception, a fumble recovery and five sacks. The Bearcats had just 273 total yards.

    "I thought we owned the line of scrimmage today and did a great job," Day told Bucknuts.com's Steve Helwagen. "They were flying around. That’s what we envisioned when we put this together.”

    Fields makes everything tick, but there's much more than him.

    With Michigan's struggles in a double-overtime win over Army, it looks like the Buckeyes may be the class of the Big Ten again.

Who's Not: The Texas Two's Big-Time Readiness

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    Texas and Texas A&M are surging. The Longhorns and Aggies are flying around, making plays, recruiting at a high level and consistently ranked in the Top 25. With Tom Herman in Austin and Jimbo Fisher in College Station, things are skyrocketing in the right direction at both places.

    But Saturday showed they aren't quite ready for prime time just yet.

    Both programs had an opportunity to elevate their status from the second tier of college football powers to College Football Playoff contenders. Neither could get the job done in gargantuan showdowns, but both proved they're nearly there.

    All isn't lost, but both teams did.

    First up, the Aggies grabbed an early lead against Clemson, but the defending national champions harassed A&M quarterback Kellen Mond, proving they still have a championship-caliber defense despite losing all kinds of talent up front.

    The result was a 24-10 win that wasn't as close as the score indicates. The Aggies tacked on a late touchdown to make it look a little more respectable.

    The Longhorns had an even bigger opportunity because their game against No. 6 LSU was at home. No. 9 Texas last saw an SEC team in last year's Sugar Bowl, handling Georgia to continue this hype train. Unfortunately for Herman, the defensive issues that plagued the Longhorns a year ago popped up again.

    Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow torched the Texas secondary in a 45-38 win in front of a raucous Austin crowd.

    Both Texas programs are moving in the right direction, and they're both poised for excellent seasons. But two sets of Tigers put them in their place Saturday, stifling playoff talk for now.

Fun Fact: Saturday Featured FIVE Overtime Games

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    While most of college football's national attention rightfully focused on Clemson-Texas A&M and Texas-LSU on Saturday, the rest of the slate had its share of excitement.

    Week 2 was in wacky form with five games that needed overtime to decide the winner.

    The home teams were undefeated in those extra sessions until Tennessee's debacle against BYU in Neyland Stadium in which defensive back Alontae Taylor blew an assignment in prevent, allowing a deep pass conversion. BYU went on to make a game-tying field goal to end regulation before winning the game in double overtime.

    It all started early in the day when Michigan's national championship hopes nearly were dealt a massive blow when Army took the Wolverines to the brink until a sack-fumble in double overtime ended it.

    Nebraska coach Scott Frost's tenure is still without a road win as Colorado stormed back from a 17-0 hole to upset the Cornhuskers in Boulder.

    Things nearly got a whole lot dicier for Florida State coach Willie Taggart, too. His Seminoles blew their second big lead in as many weeks and had to beat Louisiana-Monroe in overtime. The only reason that happened was because the Warhawks missed the game-tying extra point.

    Kennesaw State couldn't come up with a win at Kent State, either.

    Then, there's the Vols. After last weekend's program-crippling loss to Georgia State, they are 0-2 for the first time since 1988 when they began the year 0-6.

    It was a day full of blood-pressure-elevating games.

What to Watch For: One More Week of Warming Up

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    Jim Rassol/Associated Press

    With no marquee matchups like we had this Saturday (only one game between ranked teams, assuming Syracuse and Stanford drop out), next weekend is all about one more week before conference action heats up.

    Let's take a look at what's on tap.

       

    The Rivalry

    Who will win the Cy-Hawk Trophy this year?

    Coach Kirk Ferentz's Hawkeyes have won four consecutive games in the series, and they look geared up to do that again after a 38-14 win over Miami (Ohio) followed up by Saturday's 30-0 shutout of Rutgers.

    Things escalate in Ames next weekend, though, especially after the Cyclones get an extra weekend to prepare after a season-opening scare in a 29-26 overtime win over FCS foe Northern Iowa.

    This is a big game for coach Matt Campbell to take his program to another level. If the Cyclones can exorcise the Iowa demon, that's going to build a lot of confidence for the Big 12 season.

       

    The Intriguers

    Dana Holgorsen versus Mike Leach?

    Yes, please.

    Washington State travels to Houston to take on the Cougars, and two of the best offenses will battle as two of the best points-producing masterminds go toe-to-toe. Houston struggled to keep up with Oklahoma in Week 1, but Wazzu doesn't quite have that firepower. 

    This should be a fun one.

    Elsewhere, you should be excited about Central Florida getting its wishes to host a Power 5 "name" program, as Stanford makes the cross-country trip to Orlando. The Cardinal need to take care of business to save Pac-12 face, while a UCF win could get it a few late-season College Football Playoff backers.

        

    Crucial Conference Tilts

    Last year, Kentucky broke a 31-year losing streak to Florida with a 27-16 victory, and it kick-started an unforgettable season on the Bluegrass. The Wildcats would love nothing more than to duplicate that feat in Lexington in what should be a raucous environment.

    Can Dan Mullen get his Gators going in the right direction after a shaky Week 0 win over Miami? If Mark Stoops wins, it will go a long way toward solidifying that his program isn't a one-year wonder.

    There are other big battles, too.

    Alabama faces a road test at South Carolina, which looked rejuvenated with true freshman signal-caller Ryan Hilinski under center Saturday. But the Crimson Tide are a whole different beast coming to Columbia.

    Finally, Syracuse can't wonder what went wrong for long after Saturday's embarrassing 63-20 loss to Maryland. The Orange have Clemson coming next. Oof.