College Football Power Rankings for Week Three

1. Oregon (3-0, Last Week: 1st)
The Ducks continued their early season hot streak on Saturday, defeating Wyoming 48-14 to improve to 3-0.  QB Marcus Mariota led his offense on six consecutive scoring drives, completing 19 of 23 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns, and rushing for 71 yards on five attempts with two touchdowns.  The only negative from the game for the Ducks was that they trailed 7-0 after the first quarter, but they scored 41 unanswered points from through the next two quarters.  This week, the Ducks will travel to Spokane to play the Washington State Cougars, in a matchup they shouldn’t have too much trouble with.

2. Florida State (2-0, 2nd)
In preparation for their showdown this week against Clemson, the Seminoles were idle during Saturday’s action.  The ‘Noles remain ranked 1st in the AP Poll, and will host the Tigers, who have never beaten a top-ranked opponent, after beating them in Clemson 51-14 a year ago, when both teams were in the top five.  Following the matchup with Clemson, the Seminoles will travel to NC State next week.

3. Alabama (3-0, 3rd)
The Crimson Tide took care of business on Saturday, defeating Southern Miss by a 52-12 margin.  There are some concerns about Alabama’s defense after allowing four field goals to the Golden Eagles, after allowing 23 to West Virginia, although they shut out Florida Atlantic.  Non-conference play is done for the Tide until November 22, with seven straight conference games beginning this week.  Alabama hosts Florida in a rematch of the 2008 and 2009 SEC Championship Games, both of which featured the top two teams in the nation, and the first meeting between the two since 2011.

4. Oklahoma (3-0, 4th)
In a matchup of the Big 12 and the SEC, the Sooners defeated Tennessee handily on Saturday, 34-10.  The game was more even in the box score that the score of the game would indicate, but Oklahoma did a better job of getting the ball in the end zone.  The game with the Vols was their toughest test yet, after beating Louisiana Tech and Tulsa easily, but that may change Saturday.  The Sooners travel to West Virginia, a team that lost by only 10 to Alabama, and last year, despite a 4-8 record, upset then 11th-ranked Oklahoma State, and also gave the Sooners a test in a 16-7 defeat.  A win for Oklahoma in Morgantown will be a positive step in their quest for the College Football Playoff.

5. Auburn (2-0, 5th)
Auburn was idle on Saturday coming off their 59-13 beating of San Jose State, and took the week off due to a short week this week heading into a Thursday night game at Kansas State.  The Tigers are traveling to the “Little Apple”, Manhattan, KS, for the game, and come in ranked 5th while the Wildcats are ranked 20th.  While I don’t agree that K-State should be a ranked team, they are a solid football team playing a big, spotlight game on their home field, so Auburn will be facing a tough test.  And with three of the Tigers’ remaining four road games against teams currently in the top 13, Auburn is going to have to learn how to win in tough environments on the road if they want to be a playoff team.

6. LSU (3-0, 7th)
The Tigers (the ones further south) defeated UL-Monroe by a 31-0 margin, and while the score looks fairly one-sided, LSU struggled somewhat against the Warhawks, leading just 10-0 at half.  Defensively, however, the Warhawks were never truly a threat to the Tigers, as LSU held them to jut 93 total yards for the game.  This week, Mississippi State comes to Baton Rouge to begin SEC play for both teams, with the Bulldogs coming in after three blowout wins in their non-conference schedule, showing they could be a test for LSU, despite coming in as an unranked opponent.

7. Texas A&M (3-0, 8th)
The Aggies have looked strong ever since their 52-28 opening night win over South Carolina, and their game against Rice was no exception, as they defeated the Owls 38-10.  QB Kenny Hill continued the phenomenal start to his season by throwing for 300 yards and four touchdowns, leading the Aggies to an easy victory.  This week, while the Aggies do go on the road, it is for a game against SMU, a team that lost their head coach to resignation and their quarterback due to injury within the last two weeks.  Therefore, the Aggies are heavy favorites against the Mustangs as they prepare to resume conference play next week with a neutral site game against Arkansas.

8. Notre Dame (3-0, 9th)
The Fighting Irish were heavily favored as they headed to Indianapolis for a neutral site game against Purdue, coming off their 31-0 shutout of Michigan.  However, the Irish struggled with the Boilermakers, trailing 14-10 in the second quarter and leading 17-14 at half on their way to a 30-14 win.  After playing the closer than expected game with a team expected to be one of the worst out of the “Power Five” conferences, and their first relatively close game of the season, the Irish get a bye week that appears to be needed, after which they will travel to the Meadowlands for a neutral site game with Syracuse.

9. Baylor (3-0, 11th)
After convincing season opening stretch of wins over SMU and Northwestern State, Friday night the Bears began a stretch of three straight and four out of five on the road, and passed the first test with ease.  Baylor traveled to Buffalo and defeated the Bulls 63-21.  While Baylor has yet to be in a close game in even the second quarter of a contest, and they do currently lead the nation with 59.3 points per game, keep in mind that the toughest opponent they have played is SMU.  After playing these three easy games, the Bears have a week off, which is one of three bye weeks they get in the unique Big 12 schedule (with no conference championship game, there are regular season games in the conference as late as December 6, allowing teams an extra bye week).  After the bye, they play back-to-back road conference games, first at an Iowa State team that nearly beat Kansas State on the road, then at in-state rival Texas.

10. Ole Miss (3-0, 13th)
For the first time in the history of these rankings (which dates back to last year), the Rebels of Ole Miss crack the top 10.  They have been impressive in every game they have played thus far, starting with a 35-13 win against Boise State, then earning a 41-3 SEC win over Vanderbilt in Nashville, and on Saturday defeating Sun Belt Conference favorites Louisiana-Lafayette 56-15.  QB Bo Wallace tied Eli Manning’s school record of 10 300+ yard passing performances, leading the Rebels through stretches of 28 and 21 unanswered points.  After the win, the Rebels cracked the top 10 in the AP Poll for the first time since September 2009, and they will have a bye week to enjoy the fruits of their labor.  After the off weekend, next week Ole Miss will host Memphis in their last tune-up before back-to-back games against Alabama and Texas A&M.

11. Michigan State (1-1, 12th), 12. UCLA (3-0, 14th), 13. Georgia (1-1, 6th), 14. Arizona State (3-0, 15th), 15. South Carolina (2-1, 21st)
16. Stanford (2-1, 17th), 17. Penn State (3-0, 18th), 18. USC (2-1, 10th), 19. Wisconsin (1-1, 19th), 20. Clemson (1-1, 20th)
21. Ohio State (2-1, 22nd), 22. Duke (3-0, 24th), 23. BYU (3-0, 25th), 24. Missouri (3-0, unranked), 25. Virginia Tech (2-1, 16th)

Fell from rankings: Louisville (2-1, 23rd)

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