College Football Rankings 2020: Overview of Week 3 Standings for NCAA's Top 25

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2020

FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2020, file photo, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence passes against LSU during the second half of a NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game, in New Orleans. Clemson is preseason No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, a poll featuring nine Big Ten and Pac-12 teams that gives a glimpse at what’s already been taken from an uncertain college football fall by the pandemic. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

The Clemson Tigers are expected to be on top of the college football rankings for at least a few more weeks.

Dabo Swinney's program rolled through its opener with Wake Forest and is expected to have an easy Saturday against The Citadel.

Until the SEC begins play next week, the Tigers can lay claim to the title of best team in the nation. They can reinforce that status with an impressive showing against a much weaker opponent on a weekend when two of the top 10 teams hit the gridiron.

Saturday night's ACC showdown between Louisville and Miami will teach us the most about teams in the Top 25 in Week 3, and the winner of that matchup could make a significant leap ahead of Week 4.

                    

Week 3 AP Top 25

1. Clemson (1-0)

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2. Alabama

3. Oklahoma (1-0)

4. Georgia

5. Florida

6. LSU 

7. Notre Dame (1-0)

8. Auburn

9. Texas (1-0)

10. Texas A&M 

11. Oklahoma State

12. North Carolina (1-0)

13. Cincinnati

14. UCF

15. Tennessee

16. Memphis (1-0)

17. Miami (1-0)

18. Louisville (1-0)

19. Louisiana (1-0)

20. Virginia Tech 

21. BYU (1-0)

22. Army (2-0)

T23. Appalachian State (1-0)

T23. Kentucky

25. Pittsburgh (1-0)

              

Overview

Clemson headlines a Week 3 slate that predominantly features ACC programs.

The Tigers will play their lone nonconference game against The Citadel and should follow up Week 2's 37-point performance against Wake Forest with an overwhelming win.

The real tests for Clemson begin in October, when it faces Virginia, Miami, Georgia Tech, Syracuse and Boston College. All of those contests will help the Tigers prepare for their November 7 showdown with Notre Dame, which is the only other Top 10 program in action Saturday.

Brian Kelly's Fighting Irish will also play outside of the ACC versus South Florida, which knocked off The Citadel 27-6 in Week 2.

Notre Dame did not look as impressive as Clemson last time out because quarterback Ian Book was searching for chemistry with a wealth of new offensive skill players.

Running back Kyren Williams produced 112 yards and two scores on the ground and added two receptions for 93 yards. Joe Wilkins looked like the best replacement for Chase Claypool at wide receiver, as he posted 44 yards off four catches.

If Book discovers more comfort with Wilkins, Williams and others, the Fighting Irish could eclipse their 27-point outing against Duke and look like a more worthy adversary to Clemson.

Louisville and Miami are among the cluster of teams in the second tier of the ACC behind Clemson and Notre Dame.

Since the two teams directly above 17th-ranked Miami are not in action Saturday, the winner of that clash could leap a few positions. After Week 2, three programs jumped three or more spots into the top 15 of the AP Top 25 because of the removal of Big Ten teams and the SEC's absence from the field until September 26.

A trio of squads between Notre Dame and Miami are slated to take the field. Oklahoma State opens its season against Tulsa, UCF visits Georgia Tech and Cincinnati welcomes Austin Peay.

Oklahoma State could be the most intriguing member of that trio since it returns the offensive threesome of Spencer Sanders, Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace.

Hubbard is coming off a 2,000-yard rushing season and could be in the Heisman Trophy mix if he comes close to replicating those numbers.

The Cowboys could also be a factor in the Big 12 title race, and they could be motivated by the dominant performances of Oklahoma and Texas in Week 2 to put in a masterful showing of their own before they embark on the conference schedule.

              

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.