With Week 1 complete and college football season officially underway, The Associated Press released its latest rankings less than 24 hours after Florida State’s comeback win over Ole Miss.
As it was said by colleague Ryan Cooper when the preseason poll came out, the summer thoughts of 61 sportswriters doesn’t always amount to much for the actual season, but now that everyone has had a chance to observe exactly what these 2016 teams can accomplish, this ranking looks to fit the 2016 version of the teams a bit better.
As many fans could have guessed, much changed from the preseason poll, and this shouldn’t shock fans after the amount of upsets Week 1 produced.
The Alabama Crimson Tide crashed through USC’s defense and drowned the Trojan offense, kicking them out of the top 25 and securing Bama’s position at the top of the poll. As the reigning national champions and the No. 1 ranked team in the preseason poll, the outcome of the game probably didn’t surprise too many fans. Now, the Crimson Tide moves on to face some smaller FBS teams around its visit to Ole Miss, so unless Week 3 holds a similar upset count to Week 1, the Crimson Tide looks to stay high for weeks to come.
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However, Clemson’s steady position at No. 2 might confuse some Auburn fans. Yes, Clemson was able to defeat the Tigers sporting navy blue and burnt orange but only by a sinle touchdown. Auburn wasn’t ranked within the top 25 in both the Week 1 poll or the preseason poll. Still, Clemson is likely to hold onto its No. 2 spot for at least another few weeks as they go on to face smaller programs as well.
As the season goes on, however, Clemson’s spot may be over taken by the new No. 3 FSU. After defeating Ole Miss, knocking the Rebels from No. 11 to No. 19, in Orlando, FSU looks to be unstoppable. The two high-power offenses battled, but FSU was able to come back from a hefty deficit to win. With first-week jitters out of the way, the Seminoles look to attempt to climb up the rankings.
A win over Bowling Green on Saturday bumped Ohio State up a couple of slots to No. 4, which shouldn’t surprise too many since the Buckeyes have had consistently solid seasons the past few years, and the 77-10 win over Bowling Green simply reminds fans that the Buckeyes can play some football. However, watching them defeat an unranked team might not have impressed many, but the Falcons did go 10-4 last year, defeating Purdue, Massachusetts and Kent State. Still, the Buckeyes may not hold this position for more than a few weeks as they go on to face Oklahoma in Week 3 and Wisconsin in Week 6.
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Michigan jumped up in the rankings after a 77-3 win over Hawaii.
Michigan at No. 5 may surprise some, especially after only defeating Hawaii, who went 3-10 last year, and lost to Cal by 20 about a week before. But, the Wolverines were ranked seventh in the preseason poll, and with a win of plus-60 points, they showed that when they go to face tough opponents their offense should post plenty of points.
Movin’ on up (or down)
Houston, Wisconsin and Texas all saw a major jump in rankings after major upset victories over Oklahoma, LSU and Notre Dame, respectively. Wisconsin and Texas were both unranked and now rest within the top 15, whereas Houston jumped up 10 spots. Reciprocally, Oklahoma, LSU and Notre Dame all saw major drops in rankings, the biggest drop being LSU, which went from No. 5 to No. 21.
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Louisville, Miami (Fla.) and Washington also saw a large advancement in their rankings after solid wins over unranked FBS teams. Louisville showed fans the true talent the team holds being led by Lamar Jackson, which led to their improved rank. The Hurricanes also showed what they can do under the direction of Mark Richt, achieving a rank within the top 25 for the first time since 2013. Texas A&M joined the rankings after a win vs. previously No. 16 UCLA.
Georgia, after a win over formerly ranked North Carolina, jumped up from No. 18 to No. 9. North Carolina was narrowly defeated by Clemson last year for the ACC title and remains a fairly stable program this year, so the jump looks to make sense. However, Georgia’s SEC rival, Tennessee, saw a drop in its ranking to No. 17 after barely beating Appalachian State on Thursday. The Volunteers showed that the hype around them might have not been totally warranted. However, with tougher teams to face, the Vols have a chance to turn that sentiment around.
Watch for Auburn
As a team that consistently gains some votes to be within the Top 25 and almost defeated Clemson, Auburn should be the team to watch climb up to the top 25. As for the others receiving votes, teams like Florida, UCLA, and North Carolina were once among the top 25, and with a few key losses from other teams, they could easily make their way back into the top 25.
Overall, these rankings seem to be fitting after the interesting outcomes of Week 1. However, look to see the rankings of teams under the top three to move around in the weeks to come.