As week 3 proved, we were spoiled with great games in the opening couple of weeks. Although, we did get to see a tremendous ACC matchup.
Heading into the week, it was safe to say that Lamar Jackson was the Heisman favorite. Everyone tuned in to see how he would perform against Clemson’s front 7, arguably the best unit in the nation. Clemson ran away with a convincing victory and Jackson was held in check. This solidifies Clemson’s #2 spot in the rankings, and now Louisville has some climbing to do.
Aside from that, USC squeezed their way to a 2OT thriller against Texas as they remain to hoover in the top 5. LSU was dominated in conference play as Mississippi State debuts in the rankings. Stanford was upset on the road against San Diego State who also debuts in the rankings.
This week, the money matchup of the week is #19 TCU visiting #7 Oklahoma State in Stillwater. Mason Rudolph looks to gain more hype for his Heisman campaign in what is sure to be a Big 12 shootout.
1.) Alabama Crimson Tide
The Crimson Tide handled a feisty Colorado State team and now face an up-and-coming Vanderbilt squad in their conference opener. Jalen Hurts comes off a showing of 248 passing yards, 103 rushing yards and 3 TDs.
2.) Clemson Tigers
In perhaps the biggest ACC matchup of the year, Clemson dominated Lamar Jackson and Louisville as they now have a firm grasp on the #2 spot in the rankings.
3.) Oklahoma Sooners
Baker Mayfield had another Heisman-esque performance during Oklahoma’s rout of Tulane. This week they visit Waco to take on a depleted Baylor team.
4.) USC Trojans
It wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but Sam Darnold looked like the #1 pick that he’s been billed as during USC’s 2OT victory over Texas. When he’s playing like that, the Trojans are a likely playoff squad. They face their 2nd conference foe this week against Cal.
5.) Penn State Nittany Lions
The Nittany Lions come off their second 50+ shutout win of the season. This week they open Big Ten play against Iowa, by far their biggest test yet. Trace McSorley has put up big numbers under center and Saquon Barkley will likely be a Heisman finalist this year.
6.) Washington Huskies
With an average margin of victory at 34.6 points, the Huskies have steamrolled through the competition thus far. They open conference play against a physical Colorado team- their toughest matchup yet.
7.) Oklahoma State Cowboys (+1)
Mason Rudolph has put on a clinic each week and sits at 1,135 passing yards and 11 TDs to just 1 interception. He’ll look to strengthen his campaign this week against a ranked TCU team, a game in which should be a shootout.
8.) Michigan Wolverines (-1)
It’s been less than stellar for the Wolverines the past two weeks, but their defense has remained stout and they’ve gotten wins. They’re on upset alert this week in their conference opener against Purdue.
9.) Georgia Bulldogs
The question lingering Athens is when will Jacob Eason return? While freshman Jake Fromm has impressed, Kirby Smart would feel more relief with Eason under center. It would be timely for Eason to return this week as the Bulldogs open conference play against a tough Mississippi State team.
10.) Ohio State Buckeyes
Following their crushing loss to Oklahoma, the Buckeyes dominated against Army. Now they look to climb back into playoff contention. A home game against UNLV is their next task.
11.) Florida State Seminoles
It’s been two weeks and we’ve anxiously waited to see Florida State’s new quarterback James Blackman under center. We finally get to see him this week as the Seminoles host N.C. State.
12.) Wisconsin Badgers (+2)
The Badgers have clawed their way through easy competition to start the year, although they have looked dominant. This week they get their first taste of Big Ten action against Northwestern.
13.) Virginia Tech Hokies (+2)
Virginia Tech has steadily built steam since their opening win against West Virginia. They come off a 64-17 wallop over East Carolina. The Hokies should continue to cruise this week against Old Dominion. QB Josh Jackson has been phenomenal and looks like a future Heisman contender.
14.) Louisville Cardinals (-1)
You can’t fault any team for losing to Clemson. Then again, that was likely Louisville’s biggest game of the regular season. With Lamar Jackson under center, the Cardinals remain a constant threat this season. They should bounce back fine against Kent State this week.
15.) Miami Hurricanes (+1)
Like Florida State, we haven’t seen Miami in two weeks. They’re on upset alert this week against a loaded Toledo offense, although their defense should get the job done.
16.) Washington State Cougars (+5)
After a shaky win against Boise State, the Cougars rebounded well in their 52-23 rout of Oregon State. Most importantly, Luke Falk looked back in his groove as he tosses for just short of 400 yards and 6 TDs.
17.) Florida Gators (+6)
It was a Hail Mary from Feleipe Franks to Tyrie Cleveland which lifted the Gators over conference rival Tennessee. Franks looked solid under center. Whenever Jordan Scarlett and Antonio Callaway return from suspension, they will provide a huge boost to the offense.
18.) South Florida Bulls (+3)
After a postpone in week 3, the Bulls bounced back with a dominant win over Illinois. They have to prove themselves with a strong game on Thursday night as they open AAC play against Temple.
19.) TCU Horned Frogs (+5)
In perhaps the biggest game of the week, TCU will travel to Stillwater to take on the highly ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys. The Horned Frogs have some momentum after a huge win over SMU.
20.) Mississippi State Bulldogs (NR)
The nation took notice in Mississippi State’s blowout win over LSU. They face tough SEC opponents the next two weeks in Georgia and Auburn. If the Bulldogs can scrap their way to wins in those games, they could rise into the top 10. Nick Fitzgerald is a major Heisman sleeper.
21.) Auburn Tigers (-4)
Following a loss to Clemson, the Auburn Tigers beat Mercer 24-10, not as big of a win margin as many expected. Not an appealing two weeks of football. The Tigers open conference play this week on the road against Missouri.
22.) LSU Tigers (-10)
Just as you started to gain hope with LSU, they look miserable in a conference loss to Mississippi State. If the Tigers want to remain in the rankings, they need a strong showing this week as they host Syracuse.
23.) San Diego State Aztecs (NR)
With consecutive wins against Pac 12 opponents, San Diego State rises into the rankings this week after an upset over Stanford. Rashaad Penny has been phenomenal. The Aztecs could run the MWC this year.
24.) Oregon Ducks (NR)
An explosive offense has returned to Eugene headlined by Justin Herbert and Royce Freeman. After dominating Josh Allen’s Cowboys, the Ducks open Pac 12 play on the road against Arizona State.
25.) Duke Blue Devils (NR)
I may be premature ranking Duke, but it’s hard not to love what they’ve done so far. Their offense has popped in large part due to QB Daniel Jones. Coming off big wins over Northwestern and Baylor, they open conference play against rival North Carolina.
Dropped Out: Stanford, South Carolina, Kansas State, Tennessee
On the Bubble: Colorado, Maryland, Notre Dame, Utah, Vanderbilt, West Virginia