That’s right, there’s a new No. 1 team this week in our college football power rankings.
The decision to crown a new No. 1 was not easy, as the previous top three in the rankings — Alabama, Oklahoma, and Clemson — had all proven themselves with at least one big win on the field so far. However, I think one team currently has an edge on the other two, so the call was made to move them up to the top spot.
Of course, it is still early in the season. A lot of things can change in perception of the top teams in both wins and losses. But for now, here is where we stand.
1. Clemson — ACC, 3-0
LW: 3 — Result: W, 47-21 at Louisville
The reigning national champions now own the top spot in the FanBuzz power rankings
Part of the reason I’ve moved Clemson here — at least for now — is that the win at Louisville was the most impressive of anything the top teams have put together so far, as I’d rate it above Alabama’s win over Florida State and Oklahoma’s win at Ohio State.
Clemson’s defense continues to look extraordinarily impressive, and is perhaps somehow better than last year, and even Deshaun Watson is showing the love for new quarterback Kelly Bryant. So far, things are looking good for the Tigers.
2. Alabama — SEC, 3-0
LW: 1 — Result: W, 41-23 vs. Colorado State
I mentioned Alabama’s big 24-7 win over FSU in the opener above this, and that game was a really great showing for the Tide. But there are times where Alabama just looks like they are sleepwalking through games, and this was definitely that. Not every game against a lesser-tier team needs to be a shutout, but Colorado State probably shouldn’t be putting the heat on Alabama like they legitimately were for a bit.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Alabama has a big game at Vanderbilt next week. Would be a great game for College GameDayoh wait, nevermind.
3. Oklahoma — Big 12, 3-0
LW: 2 — Result: W, 56-14 vs. Tulane
Tulane had a 14-7 lead at one point in the first quarter of this game. It didn’t last very long, as the Green Wave couldn’t muster up a score for the rest of the game while Oklahoma continued to put up touchdowns with ease.
Oklahoma might get a team that’s actually worse than Tulane next week: Baylor, who is 0-3 with losses to Liberty, UT-San Antonio, and Duke.
4. Penn State — Big Ten, 3-0
LW: 4 — Result: W, 56-0 vs. Georgia State
Penn State is better than Georgia State, and probably so by an extremely large margin. It was nice to see that reflected in the score here after we have seen some of the ranked teams get pushed by bad teams in recent weeks.
Also, Saquon Barkley is mean.
5. Oklahoma State — Big 12, 3-0
LW: 6 — Result: W, 59-21 vs. Pittsburgh
Oklahoma State beat Pitt so bad that Pitt tried to bribe their students with beverages in order for them to stay the entire game. After a couple of cupcake opponents in Weeks 1 and 2, this was Oklahoma State’s first test against a Power 5 team, and they passed with flying colors, dominating by opening up a 49-14 lead in the first half.
Also, poor Pitt having to play Penn State and Oklahoma State as non-conference games in back-to-back weeks. That had to hurt.
6. USC — Pac-12, 3-0
LW: 5 — Result: W, 27-24 vs. Texas
So USC is 3-0, but this is now the second of three games where they have looked less-than-stellar against mediocre competition. Some credit should be given to the Texas defense for keeping this game close enough for overtime, but also, this was the same Texas defense that gave up 51 to Maryland two weeks ago.
We will find out just how good USC is in coming weeks, though, as the Trojans have back-to-back road games against Cal and Washington State. If they get through those even with two sloppy wins, it will be much more impressive than what they’ve done so far at home.
7. Michigan — Big Ten, 3-0
LW: 7 — Result: W, 29-13 vs. Air Force
Michigan only led 9-6 at halftime, and Air Force was actually able to respond after Michigan opened the third quarter with a punt return from Donovan Peoples-Jones. Air Force eventually ran out of gas, though, as Michigan pulled away in the fourth quarter to get the comfortable win.
8. Washington — Pac-12, 3-0
LW: 9 — Result: W, 48-16 vs. Fresno
Ever since that awkward performance in Week 1 where Rutgers was sort of keeping up, Washington has taken care of business. That business may be against bad teams, but Rutgers is a bad team, too, and Washington let that game be closer than it should have been.
The schedule more than heats up next week for Washington; they’re at Colorado next week.
9. Ohio State — Big Ten, 2-1
LW: 10 — Result: W, 38-7 vs. Army
Two big highlights of the game: J.T. Barrett broke a Big Ten touchdown record that was previously held by Drew Brees, and Army had an 18-play, 99-yard touchdown drive. Sure, it was their only touchdown of the game, but it was GLORIOUS option football.
On a serious note, it was good for Ohio State to get back on track after their loss to Oklahoma. They will also have pretty much a month to continue to figure things out, as they have UNLV, Rutgers, Maryland, and Nebraska as their next opponents before they get to Penn State.
10. Florida State — ACC, 0-1
LW: 8 — Result: DID NOT PLAY
I hate dropping Florida State since their game against Miami was postponed as the state continues to deal with damage from Hurricane Irma. I still believe they are a good team that’s on the same tier as the team around them, but some shuffling as the other teams around them have more games to judge from at this point.
11. Georgia — SEC, 3-0
LW: 11 — Result: W, 42-14 vs. Samford
Easy win for Nick Chubb and Georgia, although Samford quarterback Delvin Hodges did look pretty good tossing the ball around at times against the Bulldogs defense.
Georgia will get Mississippi State next week in what is suddenly a premier matchup of what may be the second and third best teams in the SEC.
12. Wisconsin — Big Ten, 3-0
LW: 13 — Result: W, 40-6 vs. BYU
Goodness, BYU is bad. And it’s been a long time since they’ve been this bad, too, as they are working on a streak of ten consecutive winning seasons. BYU is already 1-3 on the season, and things don’t get easier with Boise State and Mississippi State coming up soon.
As for Wisconsin, quarterback Alex Hornibrook was nearly perfect, throwing 18-of-19 for 256 yards and four touchdowns. He and the rest of the Badgers pretty much did whatever they wanted against BYU, as this one was over pretty quickly.
13. Virginia Tech– ACC, 3-0
LW: 15 — Result: W, 64-17 vs. ECU
So there was some concern for Virginia Tech for a while, as East Carolina took a 17-7 lead by the end of the first quarter. That was it for ECU’s scoring, though, as Virginia Tech scored the final 57 points of the game to put up an impressive number on the scoreboard.
Virginia Tech has Old Dominion next week, which should serve as their final warmup before taking on Clemson.
14. Mississippi State — SEC, 3-0
LW: NR — Result: W, 37-7 vs. LSU
You can put this one up there with some of the biggest jumps in the history of the FanBuzz power rankings. Going from unranked to this high doesn’t usually happen.
Mississippi State was a popular upset pick of LSU, but I can’t imagine anyone thought that a 37-7 beatdown would take place. It was LSU’s worst ever loss to Mississippi State, and the Bulldogs didn’t just do it on one side of the ball; they dominated on offense and defense and legitimately looked like one of the best teams in the SEC.
15. TCU — Big 12, 3-0
LW: 16 — Result: W, 56-36 vs. SMU
SMU appears to have a decent squad this year, and they took TCU to the limit by keeping this as a one-score game through three quarters. Kenny Hill and the Frogs eventually prevailed, though, as TCU prepares for their toughest test of the season next week: Oklahoma State in Stillwater.
16. Auburn — SEC, 2-1
LW: 14 — Result: W, 24-10 vs. Mercer
This was much closer than it needed to be, as Mercer was competitive with Auburn throughout the entire game on the scoreboard. Of course, part of that was by Auburn’s own doing; they turned the ball over five times, and only won by two scores even though they out-gained Mercer 510-246.
I still believe in Auburn for now, but at some point they have to put the pieces together on offense. Missouri is one of the worst defenses is the FBS and they are next on Auburn’s schedule. If Auburn can’t put up points in that game… then there is trouble afoot.
17. Utah — Pac-12, 3-0
LW: 20 — Result: W, 54-16 vs. SJSU
You don’t often see Utah put up a 50 spot on the board, as the 54 here was the most for the Utes since they hung 62 on Oregon a couple of years ago. Sophomore quarterback Tyler Huntley is looking like the real deal so far, and things seems like they should get better as he continues to learn more and more on the job.
18. Miami — ACC, 2-0
LW: 21– Result: DID NOT PLAY
Unlike FSU earlier in the rankings, Miami actually moved up this week with their cancelled game. That was thanks to several teams ahead of them losing more so than any dramatic opinion change on Mark Richt’s squad here.
19. Vanderbilt — SEC, 3-0
LW: NR — Result: W, 14-7 vs. Kansas State
ALERT: Vanderbilt is a very good team and they could legitimately compete in the SEC East. 2017 is weird, right?
Vanderbilt has just allowed 13 points in their first three games of the season, as head coach Derek Mason has really established this team as a defensive power in his fourth year in Nashville. Taking down Kansas State was a big win, but things don’t get easier next week: Alabama will be in town.
20. Washington State — Pac-12, 3-0
LW: 23 — Result: W, 52-23 vs. Oregon State
Death, taxes, and a Mike Leach team participating in a game where at least 75 total points were scored by the two teams involved. Seriously, that’s not an easy thing to do, but it’s happened for Washington State now nine times dating back to 2015.
Quarterback Luke Falk had six touchdown passes in this game, as he shook off an injury that he suffered last week against Boise. He will have another week of prep time against Nevada before he gets USC on the following Friday.
21. Memphis — AAC, 3-0
LW: NR — Result: W, 48-45 vs. UCLA
Memphis has been a consistent program in recent years, but after former coach Justin Fuente got plucked away by Virginia Tech, there was thought that the program may fall down a bit before picking back up. 2nd year coach Mike Norvell has prevented a decline though, as the Tigers went blow-for-blow with Josh Rosen and UCLA, and picked up the win in what was the classic four-hour game that started at noon and would never end.
On the plus side, I really enjoy the striped end zone, Memphis. I think I’ve said this before in a blurb on their power ranking, but still, that is a fantastic look.
22. Colorado — Pac-12, 3-0
LW: 24 — Result: W, 41-21 vs. Northern Colorado
This wasn’t exactly the prettiest win, but Colorado continues to get the job done as they get ready for Pac-12 play coming up. Steven Montez threw for a career-high 357 yards and four touchdowns in this one, which is a great performance heading into a conference title game rematch next week with Washington. The Pac-12 has several ranked teams as of now, but the true contenders in the conference will sort themselves out quickly in the next few weeks.
23. Louisville — ACC, 2-1
LW: 18 — Result: L, 21-47 to Clemson
This wasn’t exactly the thriller that last year’s game was…
Clemson forced eight punts from Louisville and also turned a pick-six in what was one of the premier defensive performances of the year. Clemson jumped out to a 33-7 by the third quarter, and anything from there was just an afterthought at what was already established as a dominate performance by Clemson.
24. San Diego State — MWC, 3-0
LW: NR — Result: W, 20-17 vs. Stanford
The lights went out in San Diego… and the Aztecs used the blackout to freshen up the troops and score a game-winning touchdown with under a minute to go. The win legitimized San Diego State as a legitimate Group of 5 contender, as San Diego has a football team to root for after the Chargers left in the offseason.
25. Florida — SEC, 1-1
LW: 25 — Result: W, 26-20 vs. Tennessee
That was an UGLY game… with an amazing finish with Feleipe Franks throwing the 63-yard bomb to Tyrie Cleveland to win the game with time expired. The biggest news out of this game will be in the SEC East standings, as Florida gets a big leg up as they try and go to their third consecutive SEC title game.
DROPPED FROM THE RANKINGS: LSU (12), Stanford (17), UCLA (19), Kansas State (22)