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

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2021

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

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    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    After picking up a marquee win on the road in Week 2, both the Oregon Ducks and Iowa Hawkeyes have surged in B/R's latest Top 25 for the 2021 college football season.

    Oregon never trailed during a 35-28 victory at Ohio State, which entered Saturday with an undefeated record against the Ducks in the all-time series. Later on, Iowa's defense propelled the Hawkeyes to a 27-17 win over rival Iowa State.

    But as Oregon and Iowa soared in the rankings, Texas had a miserable day at Arkansas and exited the Top 25 along with USC.

    Bleacher Report's college football crewDavid Kenyon, Adam Kramer, Kerry Miller, Morgan Moriarty and Brad Shepardeach cast a ballot after Week 2's results. A first-place vote is worth 25 points, followed by 24 points for second, 23 for third, etc.


    B/R's Week 2 Top 25

    1. Alabama (Last week: 1)
    2. Georgia (2)
    T-3. Oklahoma (4)
    T-3. Oregon (T-9)
    5. Iowa (13)
    6. Cincinnati (5)
    7. Clemson (6)
    8. Ohio State (3)
    9. Florida (14)
    T-10. Coastal Carolina (15)
    T-10. Penn State (11)
    12. Texas A&M (7)
    13. UCLA (17)
    14. Notre Dame (T-9)
    15. Ole Miss (25)
    16. Michigan (19)
    17. Virginia Tech (18)
    18. Iowa State (8)
    19. Arkansas (NR)
    20. Wisconsin (21)
    21. UCF (NR)
    22. Liberty (23)
    23. Kentucky (NR)
    24. Arizona State (22)
    25. Auburn (NR)

    Others receiving votes: BYU, USC, Texas, Maryland, North Carolina

Who's Hot: Iowa Hawkeyes

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    Matthew Putney/Associated Press

    More specifically, this defense is scorching.

    In the battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy, the Hawkeyes locked down Iowa State for a 27-17 win. Iowa surrendered only 339 yards and created four turnovers, including Jack Campbell's fumble return for a touchdown. Overall, the Hawkeyes turned the takeaways into a game-defining 20 points.

    Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy finished 13-of-27 for 138 yards and three picks. It was such a struggle for the senior that the Cyclones turned to backup Hunter Dekkers in the fourth quarter.

    Iowa's fantastic performance comes on the heels of a dominant showing in Week 1, too.

    Last Saturday, the Hawkeyes rolled 17th-ranked Indiana 34-6. Riley Moss returned two of Iowa's three interceptions for touchdowns, and the defense ceded just 233 yards.

    And as a result, the Hawkeyes climbed to No. 5 in B/R's poll.

Who's Not: Texas Longhorns

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    Michael Woods/Associated Press

    Debut? Good!

    Encore? Bad. So very bad.

    In Week 1, Texas knocked off Louisiana in Steve Sarkisian's first game as the head coach. Given Sark's reputation as a brilliant play-caller, it was encouraging to see rising star Bijan Robinson amass 176 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns, too.

    But on Saturday, all that optimism and excitement vanished. Texas mustered just 256 yards of offense in a 40-21 loss.

    Arkansas held Robinson to 73 yards on 20 touches, and quarterback Hudson Card averaged 4.1 yards per attempt on 15 throws. Sarkisian ended up bringing in backup Casey Thompson, who led a couple of touchdown drives and may have created an in-season battle at the positionwhich is rarely an ideal development.

    Texas will attempt to bounce back in Week 3 against Rice. In the meantime, the Longhorns dropped out of B/R's Top 25.

Fun Fact: Oregon Finally Beats Ohio State

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    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    Oregon first played Ohio State in the 1958 Rose Bowl. But the Buckeyes won that contest, along with four regular-season games during the 1960s. Ohio State then won two meetings in the 1980s, the last matchups between the programs until recently.

    Ohio State defeated Oregon in both the 2009 season's Rose Bowl and 2014's national championship game. Through nine all-time clashes, the Buckeyes held a perfect 9-0 record.

    Tenth time's the charm, apparently.

    Behind a couple of timely defensive stops, the short-handed Ducks stunned third-ranked Ohio State 35-28 in Columbus.

    Star edge-rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux and top linebacker Justin Flowe were among the Oregon players unavailable. Nevertheless, running back C.J. Verdell piled up 195 yards from scrimmage and scored three times, and Anthony Brown's touchdown pass to Moliki Matavao early in the fourth quarter stood as the winner.

    While snapping the streak is entertaining, Oregon picked up a nonconference victory thatif the 2-0 Ducks keep winningshould be very influential in College Football Playoff rankings.

What to Watch For: Showdowns at Florida, Penn State

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    Week 2's biggest games featured Big Ten programs, but that honor shifts to the SEC in Week 3.

    In the mid-afternoon, Alabama heads to Florida (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS) for a rematch of last season's SEC Championship Game.

    Although the teams hold 2-0 records, they're still settling into the season. Alabama had a slow offensive start and nine penalties against Mercer, and Florida has a quarterback dilemma. Emory Jones has struggled so far, and Anthony Richardson excelled in Week 2 but seemed to injure himself on a touchdown run.

    Ultimately, the showdown in The Swamp has the most national implications of any Week 3 game.

    Then, the prime-time matchup is a Top 25 clash between Auburn and Penn State (7:30 p.m., ABC). It's the first-ever regular-season meeting between the programs, which otherwise have only played in the 1996 Outback Bowl and 2003 Capital One Bowl.

    Both teams will enter the contest at 2-0. Auburn overcame an uninspiring first half to crush Alabama State 62-0 in Week 2, and Penn State toppled defending MAC champion Ball State 44-13.