25. Fresno State Bulldogs (3-0) ▲NR
Last Week: Defeated Arizona State, 29-0
Up Next: vs. Kent State
Let’s get this out of the way — the Arizona State team that Fresno State blanked is not good. Still, the Bulldogs shutout a Pac-12 team on the road. The dominant victory comes two weeks after Fresno traveled to West Lafayette and knocked off Purdue. Jeff Tedford’s team absolutely decimated the Sun Devils. Fresno forced eight turnovers — five interceptions and three fumbles — and recorded five sacks. The Bulldogs should win 10 games this year.
24. Kansas State Wildcats (2-1) ▼15
Last Week: Lost to Missouri, 30-27
Up Next: vs. UCF
Last year’s Big 12 champions let one slip away on Saturday. The Wildcats trailed the host Missouri Tigers 17-14 at halftime, but outscored Mizzou 10-0 in the third quarter to seemingly take control of the game. However, K-State surrendered 10-straight points to start the final quarter and once again trailed. Following a game-tying field goal with a little over five minutes remaining, overtime appeared imminent. Instead, the Wildcats lost as the clock hit zero courtesy of a 61-yard field goal off the leg of Harrison Mevis.
23. Iowa Hawkeyes (3-0) ▲24
Last Week: Defeated Western Michigan, 41-7
Up Next: @ Penn State
Iowa scored 25 points! Scoreboard watchers across the country have been following Iowa’s season with more intrigue than normal, and the Hawkeyes finally delivered on offense. Michigan transfer Cade McNamara was not good — 9-of-19 for 103 yards, two TDs and two INTs — but the running game was clicking. Leshon Williams torched Western Michigan for 145 yards on 12 carries, and Kamari Moulton added 50 yards and two scores on eight carries.
22. UCLA Bruins (3-0) ▲25
Last Week: Defeated NC Central, 59-7
Up Next: @ Utah
UCLA wrapped up its non-conference slate with a dominant victory over NC Central. At one point early in the game, UCLA had scored five touchdowns and only run 12 plays. The Bruins led 35-0 after 15 minutes, and could have approached 80 points if their first or second-string players remained in the game. Overall, UCLA 404 yards and six touchdowns on 39 carries. The Bruins will open Pac-12 play with a huge matchup against Utah — the back-to-back Pac-12 champs.
21. Washington State Cougars (3-0) ▲23
Last Week: Defeated Northern Colorado, 64-21
Up Next: vs. Oregon State
Washington State followed up its huge victory over Wisconsin by taking care of business against an overmatched Northern Colorado team. Behind five Cam Ward touchdowns in the first half, the Cougars raced out to a 43-0 lead. In one half of play, Ward finished 20-of-26 for 327 yards and five total touchdowns (4 pass, 1 rush). This week, Wazzu plays host to the Oregon State Beavers — one of three ranked matchups this week in the Pac-12.
20. Miami Hurricanes (3-0) ▲20
Last Week: Defeated Bethune, 48-7
Up Next: @ Temple
Two weeks ago, Miami impressed the nation by taking down Texas A&M with relative ease. Other than that showdown, Miami’s non-conference schedule has been rather soft — Miami (OH), Bethune, Temple. The Canes dispatched Bethune quickly, building a 34-0 lead entering halftime. QB Tyler Van Dyke tossed a pair of touchdowns, Xavier Restrepo led the team with 120 receiving yards, and the defense held Bethune to 165 total yards.
19. Colorado Buffaloes (3-0) ▲21
Last Week: Defeated Colorado State, 43-35
Up Next: @ Oregon
There is no denying that Colorado has been the biggest story in college football through the early stages of the season. With two legit stars in Travis Hunter and Shedeur Sanders and Coach Prime at the helm, the Buffaloes have captivated the nation with their big wins and bravado. On Saturday, however, we saw that the Buffs might be a bit overrated. Colorado State looked like the better team for much of the game, and Colorado needed a late — and very impressive — drive to send the game into overtime. Sanders was terrific down the stretch, but the next two weeks will be incredibly difficult for Colorado. Hunter is set to miss three weeks of action following an illegal hit he absorbed, and the Buffs must face Oregon and USC the next two weeks.
18. Oklahoma Sooners (3-0) ▲19
Last Week: Defeated Tulsa, 66-17
Up Next: @ Cincinnati
The Sooners look like an improved team through their first three games, but it remains to be seen how big of a jump they’ve made. Including last week’s 66-point explosion against Tulsa, Oklahoma has topped the 60-point mark twice — 73-0 in the season opener. Dillon Gabriel put up absurd numbers against Tulsa, completing 90.3% of his passes (28-of-31) for 421 yards and five touchdowns. The Sooners open up Big 12 play with a trip to Cincinnati.
17. North Carolina Tar Heels (3-0) ▲18
Last Week: Defeated Minnesota, 31-13
Up Next: @ Pittsburgh
Three games, three wins for the Tar Heels. A week after surviving an overtime battle with Appalachian State, North Carolina handled the visiting Minnesota Golden Gophers. Drake Maye threw for over 400 yards on the day, with 15 of his 29 completions going to Nate McCollum. A transfer from Georgia Tech, McCollum had just one catch on the season entering the game. Maye has done enough for UNC through three weeks, but he will need to take better care of the ball as his team enters conference play. Maye threw two interceptions against Minnesota and now has four overall.
16. Duke Blue Devils (3-0) ▲17
Last Week: Defeated Northwestern, 38-14
Up Next: @ UConn
Duke has maintained a solid level of play through the first quarter of its season. Following a big win over Clemson to open the year, Duke has handled its last two opponents by a combined 59 points. Last week, the Blue Devils were led by quarterback Riley Leonard’s legs. In addition to throwing for 219 yards, Leonard gashed Northwestern for 97 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. After taking on Jim Mora’s UConn Huskies this week, Duke will host Notre Dame in a rare ranked-showdown.
15. Ole Miss Rebels (3-0) ▲16
Last Week: Defeated Georgia Tech, 48-23
Up Next: @ Alabama
Quarterback Jaxson Dart almost single-handedly beat Georgia Tech last weekend. The former Southern Cal QB threw for 251 yards on only 10 completions, and rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. A Georgia Tech touchdown early in the fourth quarter cut Ole Miss’ lead to seven, but the Rebels responded by scoring 17-straight points to put the game away. Now, the Rebels have a huge opportunity to knock off Alabama…
14. Alabama Crimson Tide (2-1) ▼9
Last Week: Defeated South Florida, 17-3
Up Next: vs. Ole Miss
The Tide are vulnerable. For the first time in nearly 15 years, Alabama looks like an average football team. Nick Saban has a lot of problems to figure out ahead of this weekend’s showdown with Ole Miss. Against USF, Alabama trailed 3-0 deep into the second quarter and led by just one score until it found the end zone with 33 seconds to play. Tyler Buchner and Ty Simpson were miserable at QB in place of Jalen Milroe — combining to go 10-of-23 for 107 yards. Milroe has been announced as the starter for this week’s game, but it remains to be seen whether it will matter against a team of Ole Miss’ quality.
13. LSU Tigers (2-1) ▲20
Last Week: Defeated Mississippi State, 41-14
Up Next: vs. Arkansas
It’s very early in the season, but LSU looks like the second-best team in a underwhelming SEC. By manhandling Mississippi State in Starkville, the Tigers looked much more like the top-5 team they were pegged to be than what we saw in their opening loss to Florida State. Jayden Daniels was electric in the win, completing 30-of-34 passes for 361 yards and two touchdowns to go along with 64 yards and two scores on the ground. Malik Nabers was Daniels’ main target in the passing game — Nabers caught 13 passes for 239 yards and two TDs.
12. Oregon State Beavers (3-0) ▲14
Last Week: Defeated San Diego State, 26-9
Up Next: @ Washington State
It wasn’t pretty, but Oregon State did enough to defeat San Diego State by 17 points. DJ Uiagalelei wasn’t always comfortable against the Aztecs, and his numbers matched what we saw on the field. DJU completed less than 50% of his attempts (14-of-30) and threw two interceptions. However, Damien Martinez controlled the game on the ground by rushing for over 100 yards. Defensively, the Beavs recorded six sacks and yielded less than 10 points for the second game in a row. DJU will need to play much better if the Beavs want to knock off Washington State this weekend.
11. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (4-0) ▲13
Last Week: Defeated Central Michigan, 41-17
Up Next: vs. Ohio State
The Irish have been waiting for this weekend for a long time. Notre Dame has scored at least 40 points in all four games it has played so far, but its fifth game is the first true test of the year. The Irish are playing host to Ohio State — and ESPN’s College Gameday — in a game which could heavily influence the College Football Playoff. Last year, Ohio State won, 21-10, at home. This time around, Notre Dame certainly has the edge at quarterback and will have an extra boost from playing at home. A win here could push Notre Dame into the top-5.
10. Oregon Ducks (3-0) ▲11
Last Week: Defeated Hawai’i, 55-10
Up Next: vs. Colorado
Oregon avoided a letdown last week against Hawai’i. Coming off a big win at Texas Tech and with a showdown with Coach Prime’s Colorado Buffaloes looming, the Ducks could have come out flat against the Rainbow Warriors. Instead, Oregon scored 24 points in the first quarter before cruising to victory. Bo Nix had another strong performance to enhance his Heisman campaign — 21-of-27 for 247 yards and three touchdowns — and the defense surrendered just 201 total yards. Oregon should have plenty of motivation this weekend.
9. Utah Utes (3-0) ▲10
Last Week: Defeated Weber State, 31-7
Up Next: vs. UCLA
There are three massive showdowns in the Pac-12 this week, and an argument can be made that Utah-UCLA deserves the top billing. The Utes have dealt with a ton of injuries through three weeks, but have managed to beat the likes of Florida and Baylor despite playing without some of their best players. One of those players, Cam Rising, might be back this week. Rising is one of the nation’s best quarterbacks. However, he hasn’t played since tearing his ACL in the Rose Bowl. The Utes aren’t back-to-back Pac-12 champions by accident — this team shouldn’t be overlooked.
8. Ohio State Buckeyes (3-0) ⭤ 8
Last Week: Defeated Western Kentucky, 63-10
Up Next: @ Notre Dame
The Buckeyes put together their best performance of the year in their 53-point win over Western Kentucky. After officially being named the starting quarterback a few days before the game, Kyle McCord had a great showing against the Hilltoppers — completing 19-of-23 pass attempts for 318 yards and three touchdowns. Ohio State has a lot to prove this weekend against Notre Dame. An impressive win would put OSU towards the top of the College Football Playoff conversation. Conversely, an ugly loss could drop the Buckeyes into the 15-20 range.
7. Penn State Nittany Lions (3-0) ⭤ 7
Last Week: Defeated Illinois, 30-13
Up Next: vs. Iowa
Penn State began Big Ten play with a solid road victory over Illinois. It wasn’t a great day for the offense overall — quarterback Drew Allar completed less than 50-percent of his passes (16-of-33) for 208 yards and zero touchdowns. The backfield found the endzone twice, but was limited to 164 yards on 40 carries. However, the Nittany Lions shined defensively. Four different players intercepted a pass, and an early fumble recovery led to the game’s opening score. Overall, Penn State scored 20 points off of the takeaways.
6. Washington Huskies (3-0) ⭤ 6
Last Week: Defeated Michigan State, 41-7
Up Next: vs. California
We were very close to putting Washington above USC. Through three games, Washington has arguably been the nation’s most dominant team. The Huskies beat Boise State by 37, thumped Tulsa by 33, and smacked around Michigan State for 60 minutes last weekend. Heisman frontrunner Michael Penix Jr. threw four touchdown passes in the first half and finished with 473 yards in just three quarters. The Huskies outgained Sparty 713-261. Dominant.
5. USC Trojans (3-0) ⭤ 5
Last Week: Bye Week
Up Next: @ Arizona State
The Trojans have obliterated three opponents in as many weeks. The Stanford team which USC beat last week is one of the weakest teams in the Pac-12, but that doesn’t take away from USC’s performance. Caleb Williams threw for 281 yards and three touchdowns (and rushed for a fourth) in the first half. Sensational freshman Zachariah Branch returned yet another punt for a touchdown. Southern Cal took a 49-3 lead into halftime, and easily could have scored 70+ points if it wanted to.
4. Texas Longhorns (3-0) ⭤ 4
Last Week: Defeated Wyoming, 31-10
Up Next: @ Baylor
If you didn’t watch any of Texas’ game against Wyoming, you’d probably think it cruised to victory given the final score. However, the 31-10 final is very misleading. The Longhorns struggled to separate themselves from the Cowboys for a majority of the game. The game was tied 10-10 entering the fourth quarter — and then Texas scored three touchdowns in less than six minutes. The offense scored on back-to-back possessions, and a pick-six resulted in the final score. Quinn Ewers struggled (11-of-21 for 131 yards and two TDs) mightily. It wasn’t a good showing for Texas, but it was likely caught sleeping following its huge win over Alabama.
3. Florida State Seminoles (3-0) ⭤ 3
Last Week: Defeated Boston College, 31-29
Up Next: @ Clemson
The Longhorns weren’t the only top-5 team to struggle last week. Before Texas’ win in Tuscaloosa, Florida State had the biggest win of the season by thumping LSU in the opener. On Saturday, the Seminoles opened ACC play with a trip to Boston College. A touchdown run by DJ Lundy increased the ‘Noles lead to 31-10 with 11:20 remaining in the third quarter. The game appeared to be a wrap, but two costly fumbles allowed BC to get back into the game. Leading 31-29 with four minutes to play, Florida State’s defense closed the door on BC’s comeback attempt by forcing a fumble on 4th down. Up next, Florida State hits the road again for its huge battle with Clemson.
2. Michigan Wolverines (3-0) ⭤ 2
Last Week: Defeated Bowling Green, 31-6
Up Next: vs. Rutgers
Jim Harbaugh is set to return to the sidelines following his three-game absence. Saturday’s win over Bowling Green wasn’t pretty, and quarterback J.J. McCarthy had a very poor showing. McCarthy had been lights out in Michigan’s first two games, but the star QB struggled to deal with the Falcons on Saturday. Overall, McCarthy threw three interceptions and finished with 143 yards. The Wolverines led by just eight points at halftime, but outscored Bowling Green 17-0 in the third quarter to put the Falcons away. Michigan will now face a Rutgers team that has easily won its first three games.
1. Georgia Bulldogs (3-0) ⭤ 1
Last Week: Defeated South Carolina, 24-14
Up Next: vs. UAB
After one half of football Saturday afternoon, the Bulldogs looked like they were in some serious trouble. The two-time defending National Champions scored three points in the first half and entered the break trailing South Carolina, 14-3. Georgia’s offense was lifeless, and the Gamecocks were oozing with confidence. The final 30 minutes of action were dominated by Georgia, however. The Bulldogs looked much more like themselves coming out of halftime. The offense scored three touchdowns, and the defense completely stifled South Carolina’s attack. Georgia remains the team to beat.
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