Each Saturday night, the Eye on College Football crew takes its best guess at what we’ll see on Sunday morning from the AP Top 25. Here’s where the poll stood entering this week, and here’s our Week 3 projection, which will be updated as results are finalized late Saturday (last week’s ranking in parentheses):
1. Alabama (1): Tide frankly did not look like the No. 1 team in the country, at one point early in the fourth quarter punting back to Colorado State while “clinging” to a 17-6 lead. Two late touchdowns made the score a little more aesthetically pleasing, but Nick Saban won’t be happy with anything but the check in the win column.
2. Oregon (2): Ducks took the week off, and after previous two weeks seem more likely to move up than down. (They won’t move up.)
3. Clemson (3): The Tigers maybe didn’t do what a No. 3 team would have done on the road at NC State, winning by less than two touchdowns. But in winning a game when their offense wasn’t clicking on all cylinders, they also did something many previous Clemson teams wouldn’t have done on the road at NC State.
4. Ohio State (4): Buckeyes obliterated Florida AM 76-0. Voters might move them up after Clemson’s performance, and they might move them down after Stanford’s strong outing. We’ll split the difference and keep them at No. 4.
5. Stanford (5): For three quarters, chewed up Arizona State and spit them out. For one quarter, took their foot off the pedal. Will it cost them a shot at moving up to No. 4?
6. LSU (6): Speaking of the chewing up/spitting out/foot off the pedal thing, the Tigers opened up a 21-0 lead on Auburn before the other Tigers fought back and came within 5 yards of making it a one-score game. Nonetheless: win at Georgia next week, and the top 5 beckons.
7. Louisville (7): FIU qualifies as “FBS competition” in only the very, very loosest sense of the term.
8. Florida State (8): Winstonwatch: 10/19, 148 yards, 2 touchdowns. Doubled his incompletions for the season. Still with an 8-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio, though.
9. Georgia (9): Score was less flattering to Bulldogs than the box score, where they outgained North Texas — not a bad team — by 400 yards. Special teams is a major issue, though.
10. Texas AM (10): Aggies took out frustrations on overmatched SMU.
11. Oklahoma State (11): The Cowboys had the week off.
12. South Carolina (12): And hey, so did the Gamecocks. Thrilling week we’ve had in college football.
13. UCLA (13): On it goes, since playing New Mexico State is the closest thing to a bye week this side of FIU. Bruins were up 31-0 at halftime.
14. Oklahoma (14): Yet another bye week. Hurry up, Week 5.
15. Miami (16): Bludgeoned poor, poor Savannah State.
16. Washington (17): Bludgeoned slightly less-poor Idaho State.
17. Michigan (15): Wolverines came back from 14-point second-half deficit to beat UConn, but after already dinging Michigan for narrowest of escapes vs. Akron, voters may punish Brady Hoke and Co. again. Three teams have gone to Storrs — FCS Towson, Maryland, and now the Wolverines — and Michigan was easily the least impressive of the three.
18. Baylor (20): Ho-hum, another 63-point win, this time against a decent ULM team that won at Wake Forest in Week 3. Is there a more intriguing team in the country? After facing Wofford, Buffalo and the Warhawks, is there one any more unproven?
19. Northwestern (18): Didn’t bludgeon Maine, but still, that’s another FCS patsy. Of the top 18 teams in last week’s AP poll, 10 either had a bye week, faced an FCS team or FIU.
20. Florida (19): Gators ended up beating Tennessee fairly comfortably and don’t look to have a steep drop-off with Tyler Murphy at the controls, but they also got a metric ton of first-half help from the Vols.
21. Ole Miss (21): Oh, hey, the Rebels had the week off.
22. Notre Dame (22): Brian Kelly has now won 10 of his past 11 games decided by 7 points or less. You might almost call it the luck of the something or other.
23. Wisconsin (24): Looked every bit the Big Ten contender in smashing Purdue. The Badgers’ visit to Columbus looks like maybe the game of the Big Ten’s season.
24. Texas Tech (25): Red Raiders took their time about putting Texas State away, but they got there.
25. Fresno State (NR): Flip a coin between the Bulldogs or the Yellow Jackets, but Fresno had edge in voting last week and beat a Boise team that still carries some name recognition.
Also under consideration: Georgia Tech.
Projected to fall out of rankings: Arizona State.
Post will update throughout Saturday evening. Teams marked with an asterisk have games ongoing still within a reasonable doubt. Projection assumes Stanford holds on to defeat Arizona State.