Last Word on College Football Top 25: Week 3

 

It was “Statement Saturday” in college football this weekend. Lost in the celebration of Week 1 was the importance of Week 3. This week had just as many big match-ups as opening weekend. And three weeks into the season, we have a better understanding of the impacts of each of these big games. As most teams will start conference play in earnest next week, this was the last big week of Inter-Conference play until bowl season rolls around.

So how did these statements affect how our voters see the national landscape?

Last Word on College Football Top 25: Week 3

Louisville made the biggest statement of the weekend with their demolition of Florida State. The Cardinals earned two first-place votes and moved from ninth to third in this week’s poll. Alabama showed that they could handle adversity and can win from behind. The Tide maintained their position atop the Top 25 with 14 of the 16 available first place votes. And Ohio State put the nation on notice that no matter how many starters they send to the NFL, they will compete for the national title every year with their own destruction of a demoralized Oklahoma team. The Buckeyes come in second in our poll. Michigan and Houston round out the top five. The Seminoles and Sooners paid dearly for their losses, dropping 11 and 12 spots, respectively.

The rest of the Top 10 includes Clemson, Stanford, Michigan State, Washington, and Wisconsin. Clemson seemed to get their offfense going agianst an FCS team. Stanford continued USC‘s early season downward spiral. And Michigan State quieted many doubters with another statement win over Notre Dame. Wisconsin survived a scare from a middling Sun Belt team in Georgia State.

Tennessee, Texas A&M, Florida State, Georgia and LSU constitute an obviously SEC-heavy 11 through 15 spots. The Aggies were big movers this week after an impressive win on the Plains. And Danny Etling has provided a spark for the LSU offense, although there are still many questions.

The biggest movement was at the bottom of the poll. Spots 16 through 20 consist of Miami, Baylor, Arkansas, Nebraska and Florida. Miami was having none of the upstart Appalachian State Mountaineers. Both the Hurricanes and Cornhuskers are eyeing their path to division titles. Both Arkansas and Florida have big conference match ups with higher ranked SEC foes this weekend.

Ole Miss, Boise State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Utah round out the Top 25. Both Ole Miss and Oklahoma are 1-2, with two losses to Top 10 teams. Do they still have a shot at the CFP?

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LAST WORD ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL TOP 25: WEEK 3

Rank


 Team


Points


Previous


1.

Alabama-Thumbnail-1

ALABAMA (14)

398 1
Alabama doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses. After spotting Ole Miss a big first half lead, Alabama scored on offense, defense and special teams to complete the comeback. -Mike Loveall


2.

2013_Ohio_State_Buckeyes_logo.svgOHIO STATE

377 2
After 90 minutes of a weather delay, the Ohio State Buckeyes passed their first real test of the year. J.T. Barrett led the Buckeyes offense with 226 total yards of offense. The Buckeyes will face Rutgers after a bye week. –Rob Gritzer


3.

louisville-cardinals-logoLOUISVILLE (2)

364 9
Louisville erased years of second half disappointed against Florida State and made their case as the best team in all of the land. With games against Houston and Clemson, Louisville controls their own path to the CFP. – Mike Loveall


4.

Michigan_Wolverines_Logo.svgMICHIGAN

345 4
Michigan fell behind early to Colorado team, but came up with a 48-28 win. Jabrill Peppers had a solid game defensively. He also entered his name into the heisman race with some plays on offense plus an electric 54 yard punt return to seal the win. This is a team capable of winning the Big Ten. -Scott Brouillard


5.

2000px-Houston_Cougars_Logo_(1999-2012).svgHOUSTON

332 6
Houston struggled in the first three quarters of a game that looked destined for Thursday night weirdness, but the Cougars pulled away late thanks to back-to-back pick-sixes. AAC play will be no picnic, but it’s hard not to look ahead to a November meeting with Louisville.. -Yesh Ginsburg


6.

Clemson_University_Tiger_Paw_logo.svgCLEMSON

319 5
Everything was clicking for the Tigers this week. A 59-0 shutout of South Carolina State proves that the offensive firepower from last year is back. Its a quick turn around for their next game against Georgia Tech on Thursday, but don’t expect any slow down as the Tigers get to rolling. -Justin Gordon


7.

Stanford_plain_block_-S-_logo.svg

STANFORD

315 7
Christian McCaffrey added to his personal USC demolition highlight reel with another display of versatility as the Cardinal defeated the Trojans. Stanford will attempt to beat UCLA for the ninth consecutive time next week. – Donald King


8.

Michigan-State-logo-block-s.svgMICHIGAN STATE

276 15
Gerald Holmes and L.J. Scott rushed for a combined 198 yards and added three TDs as the Spartans got a statement win in South Bend against Notre Dame. Next up is their conference opener at home against Wisconsin in what should be a sumptuous showdown between Big Ten heavyweights. -John Bava III


9.

University_of_Washington_Block_W_logo.svgWASHINGTON

265 8
The Huskies have dutifully eaten their cupcakes to start the season, but now things start to get real. Chris Petersen’s squad heads to the desert next week to take on a very inconsistent Arizona team in its conference opener. -Donald King


10.

wisconsin-badgers-logoWISCONSIN

233 13
The Badgers barely held off Georgia State on Saturday after a poor all-around effort by the offense. Wisconsin will have to put this behind them quickly before they travel to East Lansing next week to face the Spartans.   -Rob Gritzer


11.

UT_Volunteers_logo.svgTENNESSEE

218 10
Tennessee had another lethargic win against Ohio. But the biggest story was the injury list. Cam Sutton and Jalen Reeves-Maybin, along with several othrs, left the game. That’s bad news going into Florida week.  -Mike Loveall


12.

Texas_A&M_University_aTm_logo.svgTEXAS A&M

205 18
The Aggies defense was incredibly effective again in a 29-16 win at Auburn. Trevor Knight continues to guide the offense while the running game has improved with Keith Ford and Trayveon Williams. They face undefeated Arkansas next. -Matthew Atkinson


13.

FSU_text_logo.svgFLORIDA STATE

203 2
Florida State had a tough outing against Louisville losing 63-20. The Seminoles will try to recover on Saturday against USF. -Jonathan Bailey


14.

UGA_logo.svgGEORGIA

164 16
The Jacob Eason era is underway at Georgia. The Bulldogs pulled out a tight one against Missouri on a late connection from Eason to Isaiah McKenzie. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel haven’t gone anywhere either so the offense is coming together for Kirby Smart. -Zach Jones


15.

Louisiana_State_University_(block_logo).svgLSU

159 17
LSU secured a 23-20 victory over Mississippi State after nearly blowing a 23-6 fourth-quarter lead. Danny Etling was great on third-down: 6-for-9 for 96 yards, a TD and five first downs. Les Miles better figure out how to score in the 4th quarter and keep Harris consistent…on the bench. -Lauren Beasley


16.


Miami_Hurricanes_logo.svgMIAMI

134 23
No one saw the whopping on App State coming. This was a huge win for Miami headed into a bye week before beginning conference play at Georgia Tech. Miami has turned the corner as it looks to return to its glory days. -Justin Gordon


17.

Baylor_University_Athletics_(logo).svgBAYLOR

128 21
Once again it took some time for Baylor to get going but once they did they ran away with it. Seth Russell and K.D. Cannon combined for 550 yards. Baylor’s defense held Rice scoreless in the second half of the 38-10 win. Now they head into Big XII play undefeated and in first place in the conference.  -Sean Garmer


18.

arkansas-razorback-logo-2001ARKANSAS

91 NR
Week three saw the Razorbacks cruise to victory over Texas State. They finally seem to be able to start a season strongly and have Texas A&M up next to start SEC play. -Matthew Atkinson


19.

Nebraska_Cornhuskers_logo.svgNEBRASKA

90 NR
Mike Riley faced an old nemisis in Oregon on Saturday, only this time as the Nebraska head coach. Nebraska was able to hold off the Ducks and have to avoid any trip ups until their next big test at Wisconsin in late October. -Mike Loveall

20.

Florida_Gators_logo.svgFLORIDA

67 NR
Florida’s defense is a dominant unit. Unfortunately, QB Luke Del Rio took a nasty hit to his knee against North Texas and his status is uncertain going forward. The Gators go for 12 in a row against Tennessee next week but the real question is Del Rio’s status; that will determine the Gators’ 2016 fate. -Zach Jones


21. (t)

Ole_Miss_rebels_Logo.svgMISSISSIPPI

63  20
Ole Miss is still in the rankings despite losing two games so far. The Rebels looked very strong for much of the game against Alabama; inopportune mistakes did them in. This is a quality team. –Yesh Ginsburg


21. (t)

bosu-15-mast-logoBOISE STATE

63  25
The Broncos had an early season bye in week three. They will travel to Corvallis to play Oregon State next. It will be the second straight against a Pac 12 opponent, having beaten Washington State last weekend. -Tony Siracusa


23. (t)

Oklahoma_Sooners_logo.svgOKLAHOMA

47  11
The Sooners end their non-conference slate with nothing to show for their hard scheduling. OU was overwhelmed by Ohio State in week three, their second loss in their first three games. They enter the conference season at 1-2, with their playoff hopes likely dashed already. -Brendan Dzwierzynski


23. (t)

Osu_ath_brandOKLAHOMA STATE

47  NR
After losing a heartbreaker to Central Michigan last week, the Cowboys rebounded with a big win against Pittsburgh. It will be interesting to see where the team goes from here.. -Connor Ferguson


25.

utah_utes_logo-svgUTAH

45  NR
After starting 2015 as a popular darkhorse CFP team, Utah is quietly 3-0 to start the 2016 campaign. With games against USC (Friday) and California in the next two weeks, the Utes have opportunities to prove themselves. -Mike Loveall

Others Receiving Votes: San Diego State (40), TCU (29), Texas (25), Pittsburgh (25), North Carolina (25), Georgia Tech (16), California (15), Iowa (13), UCLA (11), Notre Dame (7), Oregon (7), North Dakota State (7), Central Michigan (5), Navy (4), West Virginia (4), Western Michigan (2)


 

Conference play for most teams next week. We have more data points for comparing strength of conference than any in previous seasons. How will the new emphasis on scheduling quality teams affect one- and two-loss teams later in the season? And how will it affect overall impressions of conference strength? We’ll have to wait until Week 4 to find out the first parts of those answers.

Previous LWOS Polls:
Preseason Top 25
Week 1 Top 25
Week 2 Top 25

About the poll: Sixteen Last Word on College Football writers submit ballots and points are awarded on a inverse-scale (a first place vote receives 25 points, a 25th-place vote receives 1 point).

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