Uneven performances, close calls, breakout performances ... just another week of college football. Now with the calendar turning to September things will start to pick up a bit with the Pac-12 taking center stage. Stanford hosts USC in a key conference clash and Oregon hosts Michigan State in a game that could have big implications in the national playoff picture down the road. Michigan-Notre Dame and Virginia Tech-Ohio State are among the other interesting match ups.
In the season's opening week we learned that Florida State is going to have to work for a second straight national title and Alabama has some work to do before knocking helmets with the rest of the SEC. We also found out Kevin Sumlin's offense may be the biggest star at Texas A&M and that no FBS school should schedule North Dakota State for a season opener ... ever.
So with limited resumes we give you the season's first XN sports top-25 rankings. Familiar names are at the top, or in this case down at the bottom as we count from No. 25 down to the No. 1 Seminoles.
25 College Football Rankings
Top 25 college football rankings
1. Florida State (1-0) – Jameis Winston threw two interceptions and the Seminoles were outscored 31-20 after opening an early 17-0 lead but they survived and getting an early test could be a benefit in the long run. Florida State can set a school record with its 18th straight win Saturday night against The Citadel.
Last game: Beat Oklahoma State, 37-31
Next game: Saturday vs. Citadel
(Brandon Wade/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)
2. Oregon (1-0) — The Ducks scored nearly three points for every minute they had the ball in their opener (62 in 21 minutes). Led by QB Marcus Mariota, the offense is great, but it will be tested Saturday by No. 4 Michigan State.
Last game: Beat South Dakota, 62-13.
Next game: Saturday vs. Michigan State
(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
3. Auburn (1-0) – Heisman finalist running back Tre Mason is gone but the Tigers’ running game did not leave the Plains with him. The Tigers ran for 302 yards against Arkansas as Cameron Artis-Payne ran for 177 yards and a TD while Corey Grant added 87 yards and a score.
Last game: Beat Arkansas, 45-21
Next game: Saturday vs. San Jose State
(Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
4. Michigan State (1-0) – Connor Cook picked up where he left off from last season, completing his first nine passes and finishing 12 of 13 for 285 yards and three TDs in the season-opening romp. The Spartans will need more inspired play from Cook on Saturday if they want to come out of Eugene with a victory.
Last game: Beat Jacksonville State, 45-7
Next game: Saturday at Oregon
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
5. Georgia (1-0) — The Bulldogs made a statement in their win over Clemson behind an improved defense and Heisman candidate running back Todd Gurley who set a program record for all-purpose yards with 293 and added four touchdowns.
Last game: Beat Clemson, 45-21,
Next game: Sept. 13 at South Carolina.
(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
6. Oklahoma (1-0) – The Sooners should be 2-0 heading into their meeting with Tennessee. OU is 7-0 against Tulsa under Bob Stoops, winning by an average margin of 37.3 points and the Sooners have shut out the Golden Hurricane in three of those seven meetings.
Last game: Beat Louisiana Tech, 48-16
Next game: Saturday at Tulsa
(Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
7. Alabama (1-0) – The Tide have some kinks to work out but quarterback Blake Sims looked good and set new school records for most completions and attempts by any quarterback in a debut game at Alabama. Sims was 24-of-33 for 250 yards while Junior wide receiver Amari Cooper had 12 receptions for 130 yards. Cooper’s 12 catches were the second-most in a game in Alabama history.
Last game: Beat West Virginia, 33-23
Next game: Saturday vs. Florida Atlantic
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
8. Baylor (1-0) – QB Bryce Petty gets a lot of the pub and he did throw for two TDs in the opener but the big story for the Bears was the defense, which recorded nine sacks and posted its first shutout of an FBS team since 1995.
Last game: Beat SMU, 45-0
Next game: Saturday vs. Northwestern State
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
9. Stanford (1-0) – Stanford owns the nation’s longest active home winning streak at 17 games and will likely make it 18 if its retooled defense plays like it did in the opener. The Cardinals held the Aggies to 115 total yards, forced three turnovers and recorded four sacks. Last game: Beat UC Davis, 45-0 Next game: Saturday vs. USC
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
10. Texas A&M (1-0) – The Aggies showed they are more than ready to move on after the departure of Johnny Football as Kenny Hill threw for a school-record 511 yards and three TDs in an impressive victory on the road against the Gamecocks.
Last game: Beat South Carolina, 52-28
Next game: Saturday vs. Lamar
(AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
11. LSU (1-0) – The Tigers got off to a slow start and benefitted from some curious decisions by Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen. Les Miles’ crew won’t be tested much Saturday but the young talent needs to take the next step before the SEC wars start. Last game: Beat Wisconsin, 28-24 Next game: Saturday vs. Sam Houston State (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
12. Ohio State (1-0) – Getting over the shock of losing Braxton Miller for the season with a win over a pesky Navy team is a decent start. Virginia Tech will be a tougher test and the Buckeyes are going to need another solid outing from QB J.T. Barrett. In his first college game, Barrett was 12 of 15 for 226 yards and two touchdowns.
Last game: Beat Navy, 34-17
Next game: Saturday vs. Virginia Tech
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
13. USC (1-0) – The Trojans warmed up for an early-season showdown with the Cardinal by racking up 701 yards of total offense in coach Steve Sarkisian’s USC debut. Cody Kessler was the star, throwing for 394 yards and four TDs with another TD on the ground. Last game: Beat Fresno State, 52-13 Next game: Saturday at Stanford
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
14. UCLA (1-0) – The Bruins got lucky plain and simple. You can’t count on three defensive touchdowns per game (two pick-sixes and a fumble return) and the offensive line showed it has a lot of work to do. Last game: Beat Virginia, 28-20 Next game: Saturday vs. Memphis
(AP Photo/Andrew Shurtleff)
15. Notre Dame (1-0) – The defense is still searching for an identity and the cloud of an academic scandal is still hovering over the Golden Dome but the Irish have no doubts about who their leader is. QB Everett Golson makes Notre Dame much more dangerous on offense as he showed against Rice with two TD passes while becoming just the third Notre Dame quarterback to run for three touchdowns. Last game: Beat Rice, 48-17 Next game: Saturday vs. Michigan
(AP Photo/Joe Raymond)
16. Ole Miss (1-0) – The Rebels struggled on offense for most of their opener before pulling away late. Ole Miss got some of the good Bo Wallace as well as some of the bad as the QB threw three interceptions but bounced back to finish with 387 yards passing with four touchdowns. The Rebels will need a lot more of the good Bo to be a factor in the SEC. Last game: Beat Boise State, 35-13 Next game: Saturday at Vanderbilt
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
17. Arizona State (1-0) – The Sun Devils opened with a dominant win against a team they should have dominated. D.J. Foster ran for 147 yards and three touchdowns and Jaelen Strong added 10 catches for 146 yards for the Sun Devils. We will really find out about Arizona State in a few weeks. After trips to New Mexico and Colorado, the Sun Devils face UCLA, USC and Stanford.
Last game: Beat Weber State, 45-14
Next game: Saturday at New Mexico
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
18. Nebraska (1-0) – McNeese State is an FCS power but Nebraska has one of the best running backs in the country in Ameer Abdullah, who racked up a career-high 232 yards in a little more than two quarters last week.
Last game: Beat Florida Atlantic, 55-7 Next game: Saturday vs. McNeese State
(Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
19. Kansas State (1-0) – In a battle of Big 12 teams that have recently most season-openers to defending FCS champ North Dakota State (the Wildcats last year, the Cyclones last week), look for K-State to roll to a second straight win before a showdown with Auburn on Sept. 18.
Last game: Beat Stephen F. Austin, 55-16
Next game: Saturday at Iowa State
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
20. Wisconsin (0-1) – QB Tanner McEvoy, who played safety last season, was ineffective and running back Melvin Gordon had only four carries in the second half as the Badgers blew a 24-7 lead in a tough loss to LSU. This week should be a gimme but Wisconsin needs Gordon to recover from a slight hip flexor — the excuse coach Gary Andersen gave for Gordon’s limited carries –and McEvoy to evolve as the leader of the offense.
Last game: Lost to LSU, 28-24
Next game: Saturday vs. Western Illinois
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
21. South Carolina (0-1) – The Pirates are no gimme and with Georgia coming to town next week, the Ol’ ball coach and his bunch face a must win. The Gamecocks gave up 680 yards of offense to the Aggies in the opener and the defense will have to be better or it will get shredded again. East Carolina won 10 games a year ago and quarterback Shane Carden set a school record with 4,139 yards passing last season.
Last game: Lost to Texas A&M, 52-28
Next game: Saturday vs. East Carolina
(AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
22. Clemson (0-1) – Clemson failed to score in the second half last week against Georgia but should find these Bulldogs easier to handle. Clemson has won both all-time meetings against South Carolina State, including last season’s 52-13 victory in which Cole Stoudt completed a school record of 19 of 20 passes for 143 yards and three TDs in relief of Tajh Boyd.
Last game: Lost to Georgia, 45-21
Next game: Saturday vs. South Carolina State
(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
23. North Carolina (1-0) – The Tar Heels will have to take care of the ball better — four turnovers in their opener — but the defense is off to a good start. North Carolina had just 20 takeaways last season but forced six turnovers against Liberty, the most forced by the Tar Heels since 2009.
Last game: Beat Liberty, 56-29
Next game: Saturday vs. San Diego State
(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
24. Penn State (1-0) – Being a ranked team was a dream just two years ago when the NCAA hit the Nittany Lions with huge scholarship reductions and a bowl ban. But after Christian Hackenberg went 32-for-47 for 454 yards and helped set up Sam Ficken’s fourth field goal of the game, this one at the buzzer, Penn State is back among the best…. at least for a week.
Last game: Beat UCF, 26-24
Next game: Saturday vs. Akron
(AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
25. Missouri (1-0) – Tigers coach Gary Pinkel is the all-time winningest coach at Toledo. He went 73-37-3 from 1991-2000 before heading to Missouri.
Last game: Beat South Dakota State, 38-18
Next game: Saturday at Toledo