Three weeks in and we’re starting to get a better picture of how to rank the best teams in college football. OK, not a perfectly clear picture, but it’s certainly less fuzzy as the sample size for each team continues to grow.
We have learned, for example, that Alabama is as gritty as they come, erasing a 24-3 deficit to an Ole Miss team it had lost two straight to and pulling out a big road victory. And how about Ohio State? The Buckeyes just might be one of Urban Meyer’s best as they rolled into Norman and smoked Oklahoma.
Which leads us to some of the disappointments. The Sooners have now lost twice and are clearly not the team some expected (don’t go back and look at my preseason rankings). They lead the list of two-loss teams that tumbled from my rankings, including Notre Dame and Ole Miss while Oregon also dropped out after its loss at Nebraska. Pittsburgh fell out, too, after losing a tight game at Oklahoma State, but the Panthers were only at No. 25.
Iowa took a significant hit, as did Florida State, but I didn’t drop the Hawkeyes all the way out. They did lose at home to an FCS team, but North Dakota State happens to be the five-time defending national champion.
Some of the big movers on my ballot were Michigan State and Louisville. The Spartans were dominant at times in South Bend while the Cardinals absolutely destroyed a very good Florida State team.
This week sees some first-timers on my ballot as Nebraska, Miami, Florida and Arkansas move in while Oklahoma State is back. Again, a lot of close calls near the bottom as a case could be made for the likes of UCLA, Utah, San Diego State, North Carolina and even Western Michigan, which is 2-0 in the Big Ten West.
So that’s it for this week, but it’s college football. Just give it a few days and it will all change – again.
MATT CHARBONEAU'S AP BALLOT
2. Ohio State
7. Michigan State
13. Florida State
14. Texas A&M
15. Boise State
21. Oklahoma State