NCAA Football Rankings 2021: Week 2 Standings for College's Top 25 Teams
Week 1 of the college football season featured all the teams in last week's Associated Press Top 25 poll in action. For some of those teams, it was a promising start; for others, a couple of more results like that, and things could get interesting very quickly.
Eight of the Top 25 lost their openers, including five that fell to unranked teams. Of the five teams who played Top 25 foes in Week 1 and won, four of the five made jumps in rankings, and the fifth—Alabama—simply remained at No. 1.
Associated Press Top 25 Poll
*Note: Amway Coaches Poll rankings in parentheses if different
3. Ohio State
5. Texas A&M
7. Cincinnati (8)
8. Notre Dame (7)
9. Iowa State (10)
10. Iowa (12)
11. Penn State (13)
12. Oregon (11)
13. Florida (9)
17. Coastal Carolina (19)
18. Wisconsin (17)
19. Virginia Tech (21)
20. Ole Miss
21. Utah (18)
22. Miami (24)
23. Arizona State (25)
24. North Carolina (22)
25. Auburn (NR)
(Oklahoma State is not ranked in the AP poll but is ranked No. 23 in the coaches poll)
Week 2 Matchups to Watch
Like in Week 1, there are a number of good matchups featuring ranked teams, or teams receiving votes just outside the Top 25. But there are two particularly tasty matchups to set your alarm for on Saturday.
No. 10 Iowa at No. 9 Iowa State (4:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
It's been quite some time since the rivalry between the Cyclones and Hawkeyes had this much at stake when the two teams met. The teams didn't play in 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the schools to play conference-only schedules—the first time they haven't faced off since 1976.
So in addition to a little extra bad blood, this game could have huge College Football Playoff implications, especially for Iowa State. The Cyclones still have matchups with No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 15 Texas this season, and it's very unlikely that a Big 12 team will get into the CFP with more than one loss because of the weakness in their conference schedule. If ISU wins, it could theoretically still lose to Texas or OU and have a shot, but if not, it'd need to run the table and win the Big 12 Championship Game.
For the Hawkeyes, a similar situation awaits. Kirk Ferentz's squad still has two potential Top 25 matchups with Penn State and Wisconsin this season, and the Hawkeyes could lose one of those and still make the Big Ten Championship. But losing even one of those, in combination with a loss to ISU, all but eliminates their playoff hopes.
No. 12 Oregon at No. 3 Ohio State (noon ET, Fox)
Coming into 2021, the Ducks were considered by some to be the runaway favorite to win the Pac-12 and potentially make a run at the CFP. Although the former didn't necessitate running the table, the latter likely does considering the Pac-12's lack of depth.
But two weeks into the college football season, the Ducks are one of five ranked Pac-12 schools, along with No. 14 USC, No. 16 UCLA, No. 21 Utah and No. 23 Arizona State. Oregon is only scheduled to play two of them in the regular season, though, and neither one is likely to provide a signature win that could bump the Ducks into the CFP conversation.
Enter Ohio State. Saturday's matchup with the Buckeyes is the perfect chance for Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal to cement the Ducks as a national power and give major credibility to the rebuilding job he's done.
OSU returns a ton of talent from last year's team that made the national championship, but it has some questions at quarterback, where C.J. Stroud struggled a bit in its win over Minnesota. Oregon has its own QB questions, though, and star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux left last week's game against Fresno State in a walking boot.
Ohio State opened as a two-TD favorite, but if the Ducks can find a way to get after Stroud as Minnesota's defense did, they could have a massive opportunity for a signature win on their resume.
SEC Leads with 6 Teams
There have been years when the SEC had more ranked teams than it currently does (six), but rarely has any league had two teams that look to be as far ahead of everyone else as Alabama and Georgia do ranked at No. 1 and No. 2.
The Crimson Tide ran roughshod over then-No. 14 in Atlanta, while Georgia's defense completely stymied No. 3 Clemson in Charlotte, North Carolina, holding the Tigers to just two rushing yards on 23 carries.
The rest of the league might be significantly behind those two, but they're no slouches. Texas A&M moved up to No. 5, while Florida stayed at No. 13 and Ole Miss and Auburn entered the poll at No. 20 and No. 25, respectively. The six ranked teams are the most of any conference in the country, with the Pac-12 totaling five. The ACC and Big Ten tied with four, and the Big 12 followed with three.
For Alabama and Georgia, which each face a tough SEC schedule but won't face each other in the regular season, a showdown in Atlanta for the conference championship seems likely after Week 1. And if both enter that game undefeated, it's almost a certainty the SEC will again get two teams in the College Football Playoff.