SP1 Elite’s Top 25 Rankings After Week 2

 

 

  1. Arkansas Razorbacks (2-0)

After squeaking by Louisiana Tech 21-20, many were suspect about the Razorbacks. All of those doubts seemed to go away after a 41-38 OT win against 15th-ranked TCU. Quarterback Austin Allen had one heck of a night, throwing for 223 yards and 3 TD’s. For this team to continue its successes, it will have to lean heavily on Allen.

 

  1. LSU Tigers (1-1)

Image result for lsu tigers week 1

LSU experienced one of the farthest drops in the polls that College Football has ever seen, and despite a 34-13 win against Jacksonville State, they did nothing to show that belong back in the discussion of a Top 15 team. That loss against Wisconsin will continue to haunt the Tigers this entire season.

 

  1. Oregon Ducks (2-0)

Image result for oregon ducks 2016 virginia

A 44-26 victory over UVA is nothing to write home about, but the nucleus of the Ducks, Dakota Prukop and Royce Freeman, each played exceptionally well. Prukop was the big question mark entering this season, but the former Montana State quarterback looks to have found a home in Eugene. The Ducks have a tough mid-season, seeing Washington, USC, and Stanford, but through the first two weeks of college football, Oregon looks the part of a Top 15 team.

 

  1. Florida Gators (2-0)

 

It’s no doubt that the defense is the strong point of this, allowing 14 points through two games, but against SEC foe Kentucky, the offense shined bright, putting up 45 points versus the Wildcats. All of the Gator’s stars were on display. Luke Del Rio threw for 4 TDs and 320 Yards, Antonio Callaway reeled in 129 Yards and a TD through the air, and Jalen Tabor and Marcus Maye each picked off Drew Barker. This team has a legitimate shot to shake up the College Football world.

 

  1. Miami Hurricanes (2-0)

 

Miami is making it look easy. After putting up 70 points in Week 1, they responded with 38 in Week 2. Brad Kaaya is obviously the focal point of this offense, but he threw two interceptions. What I like, though, is that even with Kaaya struggling, running back Mark Walton picked up the slack. Rushing for 155 yards and an insane 4 TD’s. The Hurricanes will see a rough mid-season schedule, but for now, they look the part of a Top 25 team.

 

  1. Georgia Bulldogs (2-0)

Image result for jacob eason vs. north carolina

I have no idea what to think of this Georgia team. After beating a solid opponent in North Carolina, they completely fell flat against Nicholls State. Georgia is still undefeated, but the 26-24 result could be a sign of bad things to come. The offensive line looks bad, and if they didn’t have one of the best running backs in the country to pick up the slack, I’d imagine that we’re talking about an 0-2 team right now.

 

  1. Baylor Bears (2-0)

It must be refreshing for Baylor to finally be playing football after the wild offseason that they had. The Art Briles era is no more, but Baylor still has that uptempo offense that they have become famous for. The real test for Baylor comes midseason, when they face Texas, TCU, and Oklahoma in consecutive weeks. There isn’t much to go off of for this team yet after games against Northwestern State and SMU, but that stretch of three game will determine if this team is for real or not.

 

  1. Ole Miss Rebels (1-1)

 

A loss to Florida State (more on them later) is about the best loss that a team can take. They hung with the Seminoles up until the end, but this loss shouldn’t be as devastating as LSU’s loss to Wisconsin. There is still hope for Ole Miss, and they have a chance to pretty much jump, no teleport, up the rankings if they can pull off the Week 3 upset against Alabama. Don’t count out the Rebels. Ole Miss has beaten Alabama in Week 3 of the 2015 season and Week 3 of the 2014 season. Who says that they can’t make it a three-peat?

 

  1. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-1)

Image result for equanimeous st brown notre dame 2016

Yet another team that lost to a good team (if we’re ready to call Texas a “good” team yet”), Notre Dame is looking to get back into the picture by beating Michigan State this weekend. So far, the Fighting Irish have looked good, even in a loss to Texas, and DeShone Kizer looks like a perennial #1 overall pick in the 2017 draft, so it isn’t crazy to think that Notre Dame will be able to scratch and claw it’s way back into the playoff discussion.

 

  1. Oklahoma Sooners (1-1)

Oklahoma will be rooting for Houston for the rest of the season, because if Houston is truly an elite team, then that loss will look a lot better. Baker Mayfield isn’t what he was last year, and Semaje Perine still can’t seem to break into that top-echelon of running backs, but Joe Mixon has been picking up the slack and more. I think it would be safe to say that Mixon is the best back in Norman this season. The Sooners have a huge chance to regain their reputation with a win versus Ohio State this upcoming weekend.

 

  1. Texas A&M Aggies (2-0)

Image result for myles garrett 2016

Why did the Aggies start the season unranked? They have a quarterback who has proven himself a capable starter, a scary receiving corps, an offensive line that is deep with talent, and that’s just the offense. The defense features, in my opinion, the best player in this year’s draft class in Myles Garrett, a great defensive tackle in Daylon Mack, and a solid secondary lead by Armani Watts and Justin Evans. Now, this team looks great on paper, but how have they performed? So far, they have knocked UCLA out of the Top 25 and won their next game, albeit against Prairie View A&M, 67-0. This team has showed no signs of slowing down.

 

  1. Texas Longhorns (2-0)

 

I don’t think that there is a bigger man on that Texas campus than Shane Buechele, the freshman quarterback who is putting Texas back on the map and putting Texas in the CFP discussion. Of course, he hasn’t done it alone. Jerrod Heard has been making big plays and Tyrone Swoopes played a huge part in the red zone against Notre Dame. The Big 12 is stacked this year, but Texas is atop that division and doesn’t seem to be looking back anytime soon.

 

  1. Tennessee Volunteers (2-0)

A lot of people will fault Tennessee for play Appaclahian State close, but what most fans don’t realize is that this isn’t the Appalachian State from seven or eight years ago. Appalachian State actually almost made the Top 25 preseason poll. With that in mind, Tennessee starts to look a lot better. The theme this year for the Volunteers might be starting slow, as they let Virginia Tech get way out in front of them early before Tennessee reeled them back in, and eventually pulled ahead for the 21-point win. This win will go a long way in determining Tennessee’s rankings throughout the season, and it jumps them way up in my poll.

 

  1. Iowa Hawkeyes (2-0)

 

Is Iowa for real? As good as the Hawkeyes were last year, I somehow still can’t answer that question. Iowa’s performance in Week 2 helped make that answer a little more clear. I really wondered if they would be able to put points up on the board in bunches, and they showed me that it wasn’t an issue, as they piled up 42 points versus in-state rival Iowa State. The trio of C.J. Beathard, LeShun Daniels, and Matt Vandeberg is slowly becoming one of the most feared in college football. Iowa has shown no reason for them to be outside of the Top 15, and next week’s game against North Dakota State could be a game that pushes them up the rankings even further.

 

  1. Wisconsin Badgers (2-0)

Image result for vince biegel 2016 lsu

The big win is obviously the win versus LSU, but as we know now, the Tigers aren’t what we thought they were entering the season. Wisconsin feels like they could lose a couple straight games and then we could end talk about them being one of the most overrated teams this season. On the flip side, there is so much time left in the season that they could be for real and come out of nowhere to reach elite status. Corey Clement is the best running back that no one is talking about, and Vince Biegel is the best linebacker that no one is talking about. While individual players are flying under the radar, this team certainly isn’t lacking any hype. My only issue with this team is their schedule. Wisconsin starts an absolutely brutal, and I mean brutal, four-game stretch in Week 4 that features Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, and Iowa, with the only home game coming against the Buckeyes. There is no way that the Badgers don’t come out of that with at least two losses. For now, the Badgers haven’t shown any reason for me to put them outside of the Top 15.

 

  1. Michigan State (1-0)

The Spartans didn’t play in Week 2, so I couldn’t move them up or down too drastically. However, there is still some fallout from their game against Furman, where they played them closer than they should have, only winning 28-13. I have no idea what to expect from this team, especially since they are entering the post-Connor Cook era, but they are still a contender. They just need to find their footing and then they will be off and running with the rest of the Big Ten.

 

  1. Washington Huskies (2-0)

 

Jake Browning is a legitimate Heisman candidate. Jump on the bandwagon now before it’s too late. The defense is something special, especially the secondary, led by Budda Baker and Sidney Jones. Washington should end up in the Top 10 of the final rankings, barring some major upset, as they really only have Stanford and Oregon as the big names left on their schedule. The Huskies are relatively new to the CFB big-time, so an upset could be more than likely.

 

  1. Louisville Cardinals (2-0)

Lamar Jackson is on his way to breaking records. He already has 13 TDs in his first two games. If Jackson kept up his current pace, he would shatter the previous record for most touchdowns in a season by about 21 scores. Obviously, the Louisville quarterback won’t keep that pace up, but it’s an interesting statistic. I am not completely on the Louisville hype train though, as I have seen former Heisman contenders fall flat on their face before (see Hill, Kenny and Smith, Geno). The defense, lead by Devonte Fields, is also a strength of this unit. Right now, the Cardinals are sitting pretty at No. 8 and depending on this weekend’s matchup against Florida State, they could either jump up to the Top 5 or drop out of my Top 12. This is the week where we finally get to know if this team is for real.

 

  1. Stanford Cardinal (1-0)

 

While maybe not the most convincing win, the 26-13 win over Kansas State highlighted Stanford’s strengths, pretty much just playing through Christian McCaffrey. Quarterback Ryan Burns won’t be asked to do much this season, and if he ever gets into trouble, he always has No. 5 to dump it off to. Even though they only won by 13 points, I’m still on the hype train for Stanford. Peter Kalamabayi looked fantastic at the outside linebacker position in Week 1, posting 6 tackles and 2.5 sacks. After only playing one game, I can’t see enough to move this team up or down too drastically.

 

  1. Houston Cougars (2-0)

 

Everyone will talk about the win against Oklahoma, but I think that the game against Lamar showed a lot about this Houston squad too. With superstar quarterback Greg Ward Jr. out with an injury, the Cougars started Kyle Postma behind center. Him going 14 of 25 for 125 yards and 1 INT is not a good sign for this team, but the running game picked up all of the slack, with four different running backs combining for six touchdowns. I was a big believer that this team wouldn’t be the same without Greg Ward playing, but Houston has proved me wrong. The defense was amazing, shutting out Lamar. I know it’s Lamar, but credit where credit is due for this squad. If Houston is for real is a question that will be answered on November 17th against Louisville, assuming that the Cardinals are still a Top 10 team by then, but for now, I can’t any reason not to put the Cougars way up on this list.

 

  1. Ohio State Buckeyes (2-0)

Image result for jt barrett 2016

It’s okay Buckeyes fans! Don’t get mad at me for putting you guys out of the Top 4. It was a coin flip between you and Michigan and I was really just splitting hairs with the decision to put Michigan ahead. I should have a lot more clarity on this after next week, when Ohio State faces off against Oklahoma. The Buckeyes are an extremely young team, and some say that it is a rebuilding year for the Urban Meyer-coached squad, but remember last time the Buckeyes had a “rebuilding” year?

 

  1. Michigan Wolverines (2-0)

 

Finally, after so long, the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry will actually decide something beyond just bragging rights. Michigan has scored 63 points and 51 points in their first two games, respectively, and have allowed a grand total of 17 points through the first two weeks of the season. In two weeks, they face the Wisconsin Badgers, and I know that Wisconsin looks good, but watching this Michigan team so far, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Badgers get beat by four or five touchdowns. That’s how well-rounded this Wolverines team is this year. The receiving corps is fantastic, and the defense is one of the best that college football has to offer. If I had to put my money on it, I would say that the Wolverines will be in the CFP.

 

  1. Clemson Tigers (2-0)

 

Don’t overreact too much everybody! Every team has their close games, and while Deshaun Watson may not be playing like a Heisman contender, this Clemson team is JUST FINE. JUST….FINE. They have superstars all over their squad, from Cordrea Tankersley to Deshaun Watson to Mitch Hyatt to Mike Williams. Geez, how far can I go with this. Clemson just needs to find it’s footing and then it will regain its reputation as one of the best in college football. Just don’t overreact to the close game against Troy.

 

  1. Florida State Seminoles (2-0)

Image result for demarcus walker vs. ole miss

Deondre Francois looks like the star of this team when I watch the Seminoles play. Sure, Dalvin Cook is still amazing, but he has yet to rush for over 100 yards in a game yet, so Francois is the real impetus behind this team’s success. Of course, the defense is spectacular. Derwin James (Get well soon!) is a potential Top 10 pick who has to be stuck in college football for two more years, while DeMarcus Walker just can’t be stopped rushing off of the edge. This may not be the best team in college football, but it is the most fun team to watch.

 

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide (2-0)

Image result for jalen hurts

Alabama would be the most fun team to watch if they didn’t just blow out every opponent that they played. A 52-6 victory against a solid USC team felt like an NFL team versus a College team. Not Fair. Alabama continues to be the best team in college football, but Week 3 has not been their friend for a while now. The last two seasons, Alabama has lost Ole Miss in Week 3, and guess who they are playing this weekend! Now, Alabama has the talent to beat Ole Miss by four touchdowns, but at this point, it’s all a mental thing. If Alabama can get over this barrier that is the Ole Miss Rebels, then we might as well hand them the CFP Trophy right now.
Photo Credits:

http://www.scout.com/player/186194-jalen-hurts

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/florida-state-seminoles/os-fsu-demarcus-walker-transforms-in-second-half-against-ole-miss-20160907-premiumvideo.html

http://buckeyextra.dispatch.com/content/stories/2016/01/12/0112-looking-ahead-cfb.html

http://www.scout.com/player/148470-vince-biegel

Draft analyst: Myles Garrett brings to mind Von Miller

http://newsok.com/article/feed/1071160

Georgia QB Jacob Eason to make first start vs. Nicholls State

http://photos.oregonlive.com/oregonian/2016/09/oregon_ducks_against_the_virgi_127.html

http://www.buckys5thquarter.com/2016/9/3/12751654/lsu-wisconsin-preview-brandon-harris-bart-houston

 

 

 

 

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