Week 2 starts now, but who are our top-25 teams as the games get underway?
Week 1 was one of the most entertaining weeks of college football in recent memory. Alabama once again appears to be the unquestioned No. 1 team in college football after dominating Florida State. Ohio State looked like it would be upset, but came on to dominate Indiana in the second half. Then there’s Texas getting upset by Maryland, UCLA’s ultimate 34-point comeback, and the double overtime thriller between Tennessee and Georgia Tech. Needless to say, it was quite the opening weekend. So where does that leave our rankings? Find out below.
Previous SQ Rank: Not Ranked
UCLA pulled off one of the most epic comebacks of all time in its opening week. Down 34 points in the second half, the Bruins came back in the final minutes of the game thanks to a stellar second half performance by quarterback Josh Rosen. Rosen completed just 9-of-23 passes in the first half for 114 yards, but came roaring back to complete 26-of-36 passes for 377 yards in the second half. The junior’s performance ignited Heisman conversations for him and put UCLA back in our top-25.
Previous SQ Rank: 19
USF is off to a 2-0 start, but the Bulls haven’t exactly dominated as expected. Through two games this year the offense has only averaged 4.9 yards per play compared to 7.11 yards per play against similar opponents last season. USF regressed against FCS opponent Stony Brook putting up just 339 yards of total offense this past week. The offense was projected to be the strength of this team heading into the season. However, if it doesn’t regain its explosiveness, this team might not be the cream of the crop from the American Athletic Conference.
23. Notre Dame
Previous SQ Rank: 24
Are the Fighting Irish back? That might be too early to answer, but Notre Dame put on a great opening act against Temple. The passing game left much to be desired after junior QB Brandon Wimbush completed just 17-of-30 passes for 184 yards. However, Wimbush made up for it with his ability as a dual-threat by adding 106 yards on the ground and averaging 8.83 yards per carry. The explosive rushing attack of Josh Adams and Dexter Williams combined for 285 yards on 25 carries and added three touchdowns. Their performance helped the Irish rush for over 400 yards for the first time since 2015.
Previous SQ Rank: Not Ranked
In its first game of the season, TCU looked like the Horned Frogs of the past, scoring often and playing great defense. Granted, this game was against FCS opponent Jackson State, but TCU did what it was supposed to in dominating the game 63-0. The offense hit on all cylinders, averaging 8.21 yards per play, while the defense barely even barged, giving up just 1.16 yards per play. Taking on Arkansas this week won’t be this easy. However, TCU showed that it still has plenty of firepower to once again compete with some of the top teams.
Previous SQ Rank: 14
Another big game, another disappointing result for the Florida Gators. Florida is now just 3-7 against top-25 teams under Jim McElwain, with wins over Ole Miss, LSU, and Iowa. Again, the offense failed to get anything going against Michigan, putting up just 192 yards of offense. Redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks did average 15 yards per completion in his debut but was yanked far too soon. With this week’s game being canceled due to the impending arrival of Hurricane Irma, the matchup with Tennessee next week is all the more important. If the Gators’ offense doesn’t show up for that game, expect offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier to be gone.
20. Kansas State
Previous SQ Rank: 20
Kansas State faced Central Arkansas, joining a host of other Big 12 teams in taking on FCS opponents in the opening weekend. The Wildcats also joined a host of Big 12 teams in scoring over 50 points this past weekend. Quarterback Jesse Ertz put on a fireworks show throwing for 333 yards over just 10 completions. This week should offer much of the same for the Kansas State offense as it faces off against Charlotte. Charlotte has not done well against the only two Power Five teams its played since moving up to the FBS in 2015, giving up a combined 128 points to Louisville and Kentucky.
19. Washington State
Previous SQ Rank: Not Ranked
Unlike most of the teams on this list before it, Washington State did not completely anhiliate its FCS opponent. The Cougars, however, did put together a 31-0 shutout against Montana State. Quarterback Luke Falk completed 84.6% of his passes for 311 yards, while running back Jamal Morrow averged 8.9 yards per carry and added a touchdown. Defensive end Hercules Mata’afa played as strong as his name implies, recording five tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 2.5 tackles for loss. After a thorough and dominating performance, the Cougars will take on Boise State in what figures to be one of the better under-the-radar games of Week 2.
18. Virginia Tech
Previous SQ Rank: 25
Virginia Tech came out with a solid win over Big 12 foe West Virginia in its first week, moving the Hokies up in our ranking. Quarterback Josh Jackson looks every bit like the quarterback head coach Justin Fuente likes to have run his offense. Jackson looked poised yet explosive, throwing for 235 yards and a touchdown, while adding 101 yards and another touchdown on the ground. The Hokies struck big in their first game of the season and should continue their winning ways with a matchup against FCS opponent Delaware this weekend.
Previous SQ Rank: 16
Unfortunately Georgia’s season opener didn’t go as planned. Make no mistakes, the Bulldogs won their opening week matchup against Appalachian State by three scores, but they did incur a loss that was unexpected. Sophomore quarterback Jacob Eason suffered a sprained knee ligament after taking a late hit during the game. Freshman Jake Fromm was able to step in and complete 10-of-15 passes for 143 yards. He will make his first start this week as Georgia travels to Notre Dame.
Previous SQ Rank: 17
Lamar Jackson continued his stellar performance into this season by helping lead Louisville past an upset-minded Purdue team, 35-28. Jackson showed true star power by throwing for 378 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 107 yards. Louisville’s secondary looked really good against the Purdue air attack, picking off three passes and breaking up eight others. The Cardinals begin ACC play this weekend with a game against a struglling North Carolina team.
Previous SQ Rank: 18
The Hurricanes move up three spots in this week’s ranking after beating up on Bethune-Cookman last week. Miami struggled early on against the Wildcats, as both teams were deadlocked at three at the end of the first quarter. However the Hurricanes started to pull away in the second quarter thanks to the dominating run game featuring Mark Walton and Travis Homer. Walton and Homer combined to rush for 251 yards and two touchdowns. The pair averaged 9.29 yards per carry and showed home run potential with four total runs over 20 yards. Miami elected to cancel its away game at Arkansas State this weekend due to travel concerns with Hurricane Irma, so the team should stand pat this weekend.
Previous SQ Rank: 12
LSU put together a solid Week 1 performance after shutting out BYU, 27-0. Quarterback Danny Etling was efficient but unspectacular, completing 14 of 17 passes for 171 yards. Heisman contender Derrius Guice put together a great opening week performance by rushing for 122 yards and two touchdowns. However, it was the LSU defense that stole the show. The Tigers allowed just 14 yards to BYU rushers, while coming up with three sacks. The offense is going have its ups and downs this season, but the defense is going to be among the best in the nation.
Previous SQ Rank: 13
If you had to guess which Big Ten team would’ve scored the most points in the opening week of the season, you probably would’ve said a team like Ohio State or Penn State. In that case, you would be wrong as Wisconsin put up 59 points against Utah State. The last time Wisconsin put up 59 points was in 2014 against Nebraska. This Badgers offense fired on all cylinders in their opener, and tight end Troy Fumagalli looks to be the best in the country after racking up 105 receiving yards. Wisconsin looks to take on Lane Kiffin’s Florida Atlatnic squad this weekend and will probably have a repeat performance.
12. Florida State
Previous SQ Rank: 4
Florida State lost on multiple accounts to Alabama in the opening weekend of the season. Not only did Alabama crush the Seminoles, 24-7, but starting quarterback Deondre Francois was lost for the season after suffering a torn patellar tendon late in the game. Florida State had aspirations of winning a national title at the outset of the season, but losing its starting quarterback along with subpar offensive line play will make it a tough hill to climb.
Previous SQ Rank: 15
Just as Wisconsin surprised in its opener, Stanford put up a ton of offense in its season opener as well. Even without Christian McCaffrey the Stanford offense continued to run over its competition with running back Bryce Love totalling 180 yards on 13 carries. Cameron Scarlett contributed three touchdowns on the ground as well. Keller Chryst threw the ball well, passing for 253 yards and two touchdowns. Stanford faces a tough, early challege by taking on USC this week, meaning this could be an early preview of the PAC-12 title game.
Previous SQ Rank: 10
Playing without its top rusher and dealing with an injury to its second-best rusher during the game, Auburn did not let that stop it from crushing Georgia Southern. The Tigers were able to pound the ground for 351 yards, including 136 from both Kerryon Johnson (before his injury) and Kam Martin. Top rusher Kamryn Pettway was suspended for the season opener, but luckily will be available for this week’s matchup against Clemson. Auburn is going to need him especially since Johnson isn’t expected to play after injuring his hamstring. Jarrett Stidham looked alright in his debut tossing 14 completions for 185 yards, throwing for two touchdowns and rushing for another. He’ll need to be even better going up Clemson’s tough defense.
Previous SQ Rank: 9
Michigan absolutely manhandled Florida in its opener. The game may have seemed close early on, but it really wasn’t. Had Michigan not thrown a pair of pick-sixes, the game would’ve been a blowout. The thing is, Michigan didn’t even look like it was playing to its full potential. The defense was absolutely dominant, getting into the backfield like it was nothing. Michigan recorded six sacks and 11 tackles for loss, just absolutely abusing the Florida offensive line. If Michigan can get the offense up to par, this team has the chance to be pretty special.
Previous SQ Rank: 7
Usually when a good team plays Rutgers it’s a challenge not to score more than 50 points. Well, either Rutgers got better or Washington was a little rusty in its opener as they only won 30-14. The running game was lacking, putting up only 99 yards between running backs Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman. Quarterback Jake Browning was good but not great, completing just 56.7% of his passes. The Huskies will have a chance to fine tune the offense this week as they take on Montana.
7. Oklahoma State
Previous SQ Rank: 11
Mason Rudolph looks to be an early Heisman contender and is one of the best passers in the country. His performances against both Tulsa and South Alabama have already put him over 600 yards passing. As long as he stays healthy, Rudolph should be able to throw for over 3,000 yards again. Oklahoma State’s defense has seemed to pick up the slack thus far this season, racking up nine tackles for loss in its first game against Tulsa.
Previous SQ Rank: 6
In his first game as head coach for Oklahoma, Lincoln Riley kept the winning tradition alive beating UTEP, 56-7. The offense did not miss a beat with Heisman front-runner Baker Mayfield completing 19-of-20 passes for 329 yards and three touchdowns. Mayfield is the most efficient and explosive quarterback in the nation with his high rate of completions and ability to complete passes for big gains. He’ll need to be just that as the Sooners travel to Columbus to take on Ohio State this weekend. A win here could set Oklahoma up for a run at a national championship.
Previous SQ Rank: 3
Western Michigan is a good Group of Five team, but was it good enough to hang with USC for the whole game? USC let the Broncos hang around for far too long, and made it a little too interesting. Highly touted QB Sam Darnold was productive with 289 yards, but was a bit sloppy throwing two picks and no touchdowns. Luckily Ronald Jones II and Stephen Carr toatled five touchdowns on the ground to go along with a combined 228 rushing yards. Darnold will need to be better this weekend when he faces a tough Stanford secondary.
Previous SQ Rank: 8
Newsflash! Clemson is still one of the best teams in the country despite losing a lot of the talent from last year’s squad. Dabo Swinney knows how to coach and develop talent, and showed as much last week in the team’s season opener. Taking over for Deshaun Watson is not an easy task, but Kelly Bryant did a great job in his first start of the season. Bryant was both efficient and productive, completing 72.7% of his passes, while averaging 14.75 yards per completion. The best part of this team is the defense. Clemson allowed just 120 yards of total offense against Kent State, for an average of 2.45 yards per play. With FSU losing its starting quarterback, the ACC may be Clemson’s to lose now.
3. Penn State
Previous SQ Rank: 5
Penn State is the juggernaut everyone thought it would be prior to the start of the season. Running back Saquon Barkley is a far cry from a dark horse Heisman contender and should be on the short list for the award at this point in the season. Barkley averaged 12.29 yards per carry against Akron and totaled 172 yards. He broke three runs for over 20 yards, which included one run for 80 yards. His home run ability is what makes him so dangerous. Barkley and co. take on rival Pitt this weekend, and you can bet that he’ll get plenty of touches.
2. Ohio State
Previous SQ Rank: 2
Ohio State’s opener was a tale of two teams. In the first half of the game, the Buckeyes looked every bit like the team that got shut out, 31-0, by Celmson in the College Football Playoff. However, Ohio State’s offense turned it around and outscored Indiana 36-7 in the second half. Running back J.K. Dobbins broke a freshman record by rushing for 181 yards in his debut. J.T. Barrett looked a bit rocky in the first half throwing for just 95 yards, forcing new offensvie coordinator Kevin Wilson to make some adjustments before the second half. Barrett caught fire after that, throwing for 209 yards and three touchdowns. If those adjustments stick, this weekend’s matchup with Oklahoma could be a shootout.
Previous SQ Rank: 1
Surprise, surprise. Alabama is yet again the No. 1 team in our ranking, and it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon. The Crimson Tide absolutely dismantled Florida State and made the Seminoles feel every painful minute of that 24-7 loss. Alabama’s offense was not particularly spectacular, but it was efficient and phsyical just as you’d expect from a Nick Saban coached team. Running back Damien Harris averaged 8.11 yards per carry, while receiver Calvin Ridley finished with an average of 11.71 yards per reception. However, the defense is what really won the game for Saban’s bunch. The defensive line absolutely punished Florida State’s offensvie line, getting into the backfield constantly. Alabama racked up three sacks and nine tackles for loss en route to allowing a talented Florida State offense just 250 total yards.
Edited by Jeremy Losak.
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