The opening week of the NCAAF regular season was chock full of excitement. While many of the results were of the blowout variety with FBS schools hammering away on FCS programs, there was more than a fair share of exciting contests which came down to the wire.
There still remains a clear separation between those at the head of the pack and the rest of College Football, but things get awfully interesting outside of that. Behind Clemson and Alabama, a case can be made for numerous teams to nab the final two spots in the College Football Playoffs.
As for the Top 25 in the nation, things really tighten up after the Top 6 or so. For the rest of the Top 10 all the way down to the mid-teens, it’s looking like the programs will be interchangeable for at least a few weeks.
The same applies for the rest of the rankings, as there are a number of programs on the outside looking in who are barely missing the cut. As the kickoff of Week 2 fast approaches, let’s take a look at our Top 25 power rankings.
1. Clemson Tigers, 1-0
The Tigers kicked off their season on Thursday night with a 52-14 win over Georgia Tech. Travis Etienne led the way on offense with a monster game of 205 rushing yards and three scores. The competition level kicks up quite a bit this week as Clemson pays host to Texas A&M. These two programs faced off last season with the Aggies giving the Tigers one of their toughest tests of the year.
2. Alabama Crimson Tide, 1-0
After one quarter of Saturday’s neutral site showdown with Duke, the game remained scoreless. Then the Crimson Tide rolled into action. Tua Tagovailoa and the rest of the offense came to life from that point, with the Heisman candidate tossing for 336 yards and four scores in a 42-3 rout. Next up. Alabama will play host to New Mexico State as huge favorites.
3. Georgia Bulldogs, 1-0
The Bulldogs opened up the season on the road at Vanderbilt, walking off the field with a 30-6 win. All told, the Georgia backfield ran for 323 yards and two TDs. D’Andre Swift led the way with 16 carries for 147 yards. The team will be home this weekend for a date with Murray State.
4. Oklahoma Sooners, 1-0
The Sooners kicked off the year at home with a Sunday night primetime affair versus Houston. Jalen Hurts had quite the memorable debut for Oklahoma in the win, putting up 508 total yards, three passing scores and three more on the ground. The team plays host to South Dakota on Saturday night.
5. Ohio State Buckeyes, 1-0
The Buckeyes also broke in a new signal caller this past weekend. Justin Fields had himself an electric debut of his own, throwing for four scores and running in another for good measure. Ohio State hammered Florida Atlantic by a score of 45-21. A home game with Cincinnati is up next.
6. LSU Tigers, 1-0
The Tigers boast another signal caller who had an outstanding opening week. Joe Burrow completed 23 of 27 for 278 yards and five TDs as LSU routed visiting Georgia Southern by a score of 55-3. The competition will be much tougher on Saturday as the team travels to take on Texas.
7. Texas Longhorns, 1-0
The Longhorns also won a laugher in Week 1, pounding visiting Louisiana Tech by a score of 45-14. Sam Ehlinger threw for 276 yards and four scores, while the ground game racked up 153 yards and two TDs. Texas is a home dog for the showdown with LSU, but they could be live ones.
8. Michigan Wolverines, 1-0
The Wolverines opened the season with a 40-21 home win over Middle Tennessee. Shea Patterson threw for 203 yards and three scores while Michigan rushed for a total of 233 yards and two more TDs. The team faces an interesting test this week as Army is coming to Ann Arbor.
9. Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 1-0
The Fighting Irish wound up having a tougher than expected time with Louisville on Monday night. The game was all tied up at 14 apiece after the first quarter, but Notre Dame managed to take control from there and pull away for a 35-17 win. The team is off till next Saturday when they welcome New Mexico.
10. Texas A&M Aggies, 1-0
The Aggies impressed in Week 1 with a 41-7 home victory over Texas State on Thursday night. Kellen Mond threw for three scores and ran in another for good measure to lead the way. The team has a daunting road trip up ahead as they’ll be at Clemson for one of Week 2’s biggest games.
11. Wisconsin Badgers, 1-0
While there were many impressive performances from top teams in Week 1, the Badgers may have topped them all. On Friday night, the team was on the road at South Florida and walked away with a 49-0 win. Jonathan Taylor accounted for 183 combined yards and four total scores in the rout.
12. Washington Huskies, 1-0
Jacob Eason made his debut behind center for Washington on Saturday night as the team played host to Eastern Washington. He threw for 349 yards and four TDs to lead the team to a 47-14 victory. Up next for the Huskies is a bit of a stiffer test as Cal comes to town on Saturday night.
13. Auburn Tigers, 1-0
Auburn’s showdown with Oregon was the featured matchup of Week 1, and the game certainly lived up to the hype. The Ducks were in control and looking like they were going to cruise to a win before the Tigers stormed back to steal the victory. The team is home in Week 2 to take on Tulane.
14. Utah Utes, 1-0
Last Thursday, Utah began the year with a rivalry game versus BYU. Zach Moss ran for 187 yards and a score while the Utes defense would take two picks to the house in an impressive 30-12 victory. Utah will be home on Saturday for an afternoon visit from Northern Illinois.
8. Stanford, 2-0
Heisman hopeful Bryce Love will miss this week’s game due to injury, but the Cardinal likely won’t miss him all that much with UC Davis on the docket. Tougher matchups await over the next two weeks, as Stanford travels to Oregon in Week 4 and follows that up with a jaunt to Notre Dame to close out the month.
15. Florida Gators, 1-0
Way back on August 24, the Gators faced off with Miami to open up the regular season. The Hurricanes were up 13-7 at the half, but Florida managed to rally to escape with a 24-20 win. Florida should have an easier time this weekend when they play host to UT Martin.
16. UCF Knights, 1-0
UCF opened up the season at home last Thursday, pounding Florida A&M by a score of 62-0. Notre Dame transfer threw for 168 yards and two TDs in his debut performance for the Knights. UCF is on the road this week as they head to Florida Atlantic for a primetime affair.
17. Penn State Nittany Lions, 1-0
Idaho came to town on Saturday, and the Nittany Lions responded by having a field day at their expense. Sean Clifford threw for 280 yards and two scores while the backfield posted 331 yards and seven TDs in a 79-7 domination. Penn State plays host to Buffalo on Saturday night.
18. Iowa Hawkeyes, 1-0
Miami-Ohio was in Iowa on Saturday and gave the Hawkeyes a fight in the early going, trailing only 10-7 at the half. It was all Iowa from that point as the team cruised to a 38-14 win behind 252 yards and three TDs from Nate Stanley. Another home game is up next as Iowa plays host to Rutgers.
19. Michigan State Spartans, 1-0
The Spartans defense was as stout as normal as the team picked up a 28-7 home win over Tulsa on Friday night. The offense remains a work in progress. Brian Lewerke threw for 192 ards and a score while Michigan State ran for a combined 108 yards. The team welcomes Western Michigan on Saturday.
20. Stanford Cardinal, 1-0
The Cardinal opened up the year with a challenging test as they welcomed Northwestern last Saturday. It turned into a defensive-minded affair with Stanford getting a late defensive TD to pull away for a 17-7 victory. The team will be at USC this weekend to face a Trojans team which suddenly has a new QB.
21. Boise State Broncos, 1-0
The Broncos faced a tough test of their own on Saturday as they travelled cross country to face off with Florida State. After trailing by a score of 31-19 at the half, Boise State took control and rallied for a 36-31 win. The team gets to spend this weekend at home for a date with visiting Marshall.
22. Syracuse Orange, 1-0
The Orange also opened the year on the road as they visited Liberty. Defense ruled the day as Syracuse controlled the game and walked away with a 24-0 win. Tommy DeVito had a tough day with two picks, but the ground game pounded out 192 yards and three scores. A trip to Maryland is up next.
23. Washington State Cougars, 1-0
The Cougars were among the numerous teams debuting new signal callers this week. Anthony Gordon went out and had himself a day, completing 29 of 35 for 420 yards and five scores in a dominating 58-7 win. Washington State will be home again this week for a meeting with Northern Colorado.
24. Oklahoma State Cowboys, 1-0
The Cowboys went to Oregon State last Friday and put on a show. Spencer Sanders threw for 203 yards and three scores, while Chuba Hubbard ran for 221 yards and three TDs in a 52-36 win over the Beavers. The team will be at home this week for a Saturday evening tilt with McNeese.
25. Nebraska Cornhuskers, 1-0
There was a lot of buzz surrounding Nebraska in the offseason. The team responded with a 35-21 victory over South Alabama. The Cornhuskers defense and special teams accounted for three of the team’s scores in the win. The program travels to Colorado for a Saturday afternoon showdown.
NCAAF Teams knocking on the Door
- Iowa State
- Mississippi State
Oregon lost a heartbreaker to Auburn by a score of 27-21. It was a stinging defeat, but the team still looks like one of the top squads in the Pac-12. Naturally, we’ll have to see if the tough loss has any kind of a hangover effect for the Ducks.
Iowa State needed overtime to handle business with visiting Northern Iowa, an FCS program. Mississippi State pulled out s 10-point road win over Louisiana, while Memphis won a 15-10 decision over Ole Miss. Virginia traveled to Pittsburgh and walked away with a 30-14 win.
Beyond these five squads, there are several other teams which can be in the conversation with another impressive performance or two. While the season may have just begun, it’s not a reach to suggest that it’s looking like it will be a real good one.