1-Alabama: Bryce Young threw for 344 yards and four TDs. Saban’s annual routine is a wash-rinse-repeat deal. After hosting Mercer, Young will make his first career road start at The Swamp in Week 3.
2-Georgia: A Herculean defensive effort delivered UGA a huge win vs. Clemson. With that said, the offense is limited without WR George Pickens, WR Dominick Blaylock, TE Darnell Washington and TE Arik Gilbert. Blaylock and Washington should be back soon, though.
3-Ohio St.: The Buckeyes didn’t look like world beaters at Minnesota, but they emerged with a double-digit road win in Week 1.
4-Oklahoma: There was lots to like about what the Sooners showed in the second and third quarters. The first and fourth? Not so much.
5-Texas A&M: Hopefully for Jimbo, QB Haynes King got most of his interceptions out of his system in Week 1. He threw three against Kent St. If he throws two against Alabama on Oct. 9, the Aggies won’t be knocking off the Crimson Tide.
6-Clemson: The good news is the defense was spectacular vs. UGA. The bad news is that the offensive line was abysmal. Check that, everybody involved with the offense was atrocious. If the Tigers just avoid the game-changing pick-six when they were in field-goal range, they probably win that game.
7-Florida: After UF fielded its worst defense in more than four decades last season, the fan base was elated to see FAU held scoreless for 3.5 quarters. If not for a couple of stupid penalties in the fourth quarter, the Owls would’ve only scored 3-6 points. Oh, and that dude Anthony Richardson is FOR REAL!
8-Texas: Sark gets big ups from this space for a super-solid debut. That was an outstanding football team that’s extremely well coached that the Longhorns beat by a 38-18 count. The game was a little closer than the final score indicated, but it would’ve been really close if not for some excellent play-calling in several crucial third-down situations.
9-Cincinnati: With a trip to Indiana looming in Week 3, UC’s College Football Playoff hopes took a hit when Iowa smoked the Hoosiers. But a loss by Notre Dame (the Bearcats go to South Bend on Oct. 2) at FSU on Sunday night would’ve been disastrous.
10-Iowa St.: Matt Campbell’s team is now 3-3 straight up and 1-5 against the spread in season openers on his watch. All three wins have come against a feisty FCS foe, No. Iowa, and the Cyclones needed three overtimes in 2019 and a fourth-quarter rally this past Saturday to edge the Panthers. Two of the three defeats came by double-digit margins, and one was against NIU.
11-Penn St.: It wasn’t pretty. The play-calling in the red zone was poor. The field-goal kicker can’t be trusted. James Franklin’s clock-management wasn’t good. But the defense was terrific and the Nittany Lions have a win at Camp Randall on their resume — and a five-game winning streak since starting last year 0-5.
12-Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish handled adversity, an electric atmosphere in Tallahassee, a feel-good story for the ages and overtime to get a walk-off win at FSU on Jonathan Doerer’s game-winning field goal. Oh, and Jack Coan looked vastly improved in his Fighting Irish debut, throwing for 366 yards and four TDs. And finally, chill out people. Brian Kelly was making a joke. The delivery was awkward, but get over it.
13-Iowa: The only reason I had this team at No. 24 in My Preseason Rankings were my reservations about QB Spencer Petras. Those reservations remain, but the Hawkeyes’ running game and defense got the job done in a 34-6 win over Indiana as four-point home favorites.
14-Utah: With Charlie Brewer at QB, the Utes have more offensive firepower than usual.
15-USC: Although it was a misleading final, the Trojans don’t have to apologize for beating the reigning MWC champs by a 30-7 score, especially when considering that San Jose St. was on a 9-1 run both straight up and against the spread in its last 10 games.
16-UCLA: The Bruins blasted LSU and now get two weeks off before hosting a dangerous Fresno St. squad.
17-Oregon: The Ducks were fortunate to slip past Fresno St., 31-24
18-Ole Miss: Matt Corral threw for 381 yards and one TD without an interception. He also ran for 55 yards and one TD. Most importantly, the Rebels looked improved on defense.
19-Arizona St.: ASU hosts UNLV in Week 2 before a tough trip to Provo to face BYU in Week 3.
20-Auburn: Tank Bigsby ran for 119 yards and two TDs in a 60-10 win over Akron.
21-Kentucky: Sure, it was ULM, but Will Levis looks like he’s got a big arm. He threw for four TDs and his interception came off a drop by his WR. Nebraska transfer WR Wan’Dale Robinson gives UK’s passing game some pop. This team looks dangerous.
22-North Carolina St.: The Wolfpack is one of the ACC’s power hitters these days, and the league sure could use a solid road win over an SEC opponent. NC St. played Thursday, so it has extra rest going into Starkville.
23-Boston College: I’m not there yet and won’t be until I see BC against a decent team in Week 4 when it hosts Missouri. But I will say this: Clemson better not be flat at home on Oct. 2 when the Eagles come to town. If NC St. is the second-best team in the ACC, that makes Oct. 2 a letdown spot for the Tigers, who are in Raleigh the previous weekend.
24-Wisconsin: QB Graham Mertz has to play better — much better.
25-Tulane: It’s no secret that Willie Fritz is a helluva coach. After Oklahoma’s escape in Week 1, it’s no longer a secret that Fritz has a helluva QB in Michael Pratt. After hosting Morgan St., the Green Wave get another shot at a ranked foe in Oxford.
26-Va. Tech: Lane Stadium remains one of the elite atmospheres in all of college football. For a HC on the hot seat like Justin Fuente, that was a monster season-opening victory over UNC.
27-Liberty: Malik Willis accounted for two TDs and 272 yards. The Flames are at Troy in Week 2
28-Louisiana: Don’t let that 38-18 final score at Texas mislead you. The Ragin’ Cajuns had their chances, and they’re still going to have an outstanding season.
29-Miami: Alabama humbles a lot of teams, with the ‘Canes being the latest victim. They better get over it quickly because the Mountaineers will be out for blood Saturday in South Florida.
30-Coastal Carolina: Grayson McCall and the Chanticleers dealt out woodshed treatment in their opener, but they drop a couple of spots only because a few teams below them deserved to be elevated after wins over tougher opponents.
31-TCU: Ditto for the Frogs moving down several spots. Gary Patterson’s bunch hosts Justin Wilcox’s Cal Bears on Saturday.
32-LSU: Nothing has gone right since Joe Burrow stepped off that campus. If the Tigers don’t learn how to tackle ASAP, it’s going to be a long season in Redstick.
33-FSU: Lots of optimism for the ‘Noles coming out of that OT loss. When you’re a football player, you’re a flippin’ football player. McKenzie Milton is a football player (!). He’s also won 25 consecutive starts and looked like he’d been out 3-4 weeks instead of 34 months. I think Mike Norvell should hand him the keys for the opening snap Saturday vs. Jacksonville St.
34-Michigan: If the Wolverines can beat Washington convincingly on Saturday, they’ll make a big jump in my rankings next week.
35-UCF: Dillon Gabriel led a furious rally from a 21-point deficit to give Gus Malzahn a win in his UCF debut vs. Boise St.
36-Nevada: Solid win at Cal to get the season started. After hosting Idaho St., the Wolf Pack go on the road to face Kansas St.
37-UNC: The Tar Heels didn’t want it nearly as much as the Hokies this past Friday night.
38-Appalachian St.: The Mountaineers took a Pimpslap from Miami in Boone several years ago. They get their chance for revenge Saturday in South Florida.
39-Mississippi St.: Mike Leach’s team barely dodged what would’ve been a horrible home loss to La. Tech in its opener. Now the Bulldogs host the Wolfpack, which has two extra days of rest and preparation after playing last Thursday.
40-San Jose St.: The Spartans played USC much tougher than the 30-7 final suggested. They’re still 9-2 both SU and ATS in their last 11 games.
41-Boise St.: Tough loss in Orlando, but the Broncos can get that one back if they can beat Oklahoma St. on the smurf turf in Week 3.
42-Army: The Black Knights smashed Georgia St. as a short underdog from start to finish. Now they get a tough challenge in The under-the-radar Game of the Week vs. Western Ky.
43-Arkansas: Rice gave the Hogs fits for awhile, but they pulled away and actually covered the number. Here come The Hook ‘Ems.
44-Kansas St.: When Skylar Thompson is healthy, this team is dangerous. Just ask Lincoln Riley.
45-Western Ky.: I’ve talked about this team a lot in recent weeks. QB Bailey Zappe is a game changer for the Hilltoppers. He transferred from Houston Baptist to WKU along with three of his favorite WRs to play for Tyson Helton, who also hired Zappe’s OC from Houston Baptist. Zappe, who threw for 10,004 yards and 78 TDs in 36 starts at the FCS level, had a dazzling debut for the ‘Tops. He completed 28-of-35 throws for 424 yards and seven TDs compared to one interception.
46-Maryland: Nice home win over West Virginia. The Terps might be able to start 4-0 going into a Friday night home game vs. Iowa.
47-Rutgers: Outside of Nick Saban and Steve Spurrier, Greg Schiano is the only person on the planet who can win at Rutgers.
48-Wake Forest: WR Jacquarii Roberson is a legit All-American candidate.
49- Fresno St.: The Bulldogs had their chances in last week’s 31-24 loss at Oregon. Nevertheless, they’re still poised for an excellent season and they face UCLA in Pasadena on Sept. 18.
50-Michigan St.: RB Kenneth Walker exploded for 264 rushing yards and four TDs on just 23 carries in Sparty’s 38-21 win at Northwestern.
BEST of the REST: SMU, Memphis, Missouri, Texas Tech, UAB, BYU, UTSA, Marshall, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Oklahoma St. and Indiana.