We did not have the strongest slate of college football matchups last Saturday, but there were certainly wins and losses that shook up our Stadium Rant Top 25. Let’s take a look at how our ten Stadium Rant voters ranked these teams ahead of the first true weekend of conference matchups.
Top 25 Conference Breakdown: SEC (8), ACC (4), Big 12 (4), Big Ten (4), Pac 12 (4), Independent (1)
Stadium Rant’s Official Week Three College Football Top 25
1. Georgia Bulldogs (6)
Last Week: 48-7 Win at South Carolina
Georgia has clearly been the most dominant team in college football through three weeks. They impose their will with ease on both sides of the line of scrimmage. Stetson Bennett is a legitimate Heisman contender, and Brock Bowers is one of the best receiving targets in the nation.
2. Ohio State Buckeyes (1)
Last Week: 77-21 Win vs Toledo
The Ohio State offense finally hit its stride on Saturday as they put up 11 touchdowns on the Toledo Rockets. The balanced Buckeyes racked up 482 yards through the air and 281 yards on the ground. This is what we expected from Ohio State, and what I believe we will see going forward. Let’s see if they can continue this offensive momentum against the Jim Leonhard led Wisconsin Badgers defense.
3. Alabama Crimson Tide (2)
Last Week: 63-7 Win vs UL Monroe
Alabama “bounced back” after their narrow victory in Austin with a 56-point win over UL Monroe. I suspect the Crimson Tide will be towards the top of this poll all season long, but a reliable receiver must step up on the outside if the Tide want to finish this season as a National Champion.
4. Michigan Wolverines
Last Week: 59-0 Win vs UCONN
Michigan wrapped up the easiest non-conference schedule in the nation with a shutout victory over the UCONN Huskies. The major news to take away from this week is that JJ McCarthy has been named the full-time starting quarterback in Ann Arbor. In a weak Big Ten conference, the Wolverines’ annual matchup with Ohio State will go a long way when it comes to College Football Playoff implications.
5. Oklahoma Sooners
Last Week: 49-14 Win at Nebraska
Brent Venables’ squad was able to go into Lincoln, Nebraska, and impose their will on both sides of the ball. The Sooners outscored Nebraska 49-0 in just over a 30-minute span on the game clock. The Oklahoma offense is once again explosive, but the Venables led improved defense makes this Sooner team much different from those of the Lincoln Riley era.
6. Clemson Tigers
Last Week: 48-20 Win vs LA Tech
Clemson put up 48 points against a Division 1 team for just the second time in their last 17 games. Although DJ Uiagalelei was not perfect, he did not turn the ball over which has been a problem in the past. Will Shipley accounted for 153 total yards and two scores. He should be recognized as one of the best backs in the ACC. The Tigers have a massive trip to Winston-Salem this week.
7. USC Trojans
Last Week: 45-17 Win vs Fresno State
USC picked up a nice win late Saturday night against a formidable Fresno State team. The Bulldogs did lose starting quarterback Jake Haener, but regardless, the Trojan defense showed some signs of life. This offense is averaging 51 PPG; it will be up to the defense to keep up.
8. NC State Wolfpack
Last Week: 27-14 Win vs Texas Tech
NC State put together a solid win on Saturday night against Texas Tech. Although the offense struggled to get much going, four forced turnovers were enough for the Wolfpack to come out with a win. Preseason ACC Player of the Year Devin Leary will have to play better if NC State wants to win the conference this fall.
9. Utah Utes
Last Week: 35-7 Win vs San Diego State
Utah allowed just 173 total yards of offense in their dominant win over SDSU this weekend. This Aztec team is not nearly as strong as fans are accustomed to, but it was still nice to see the Utes fully control a G5 team. Utah should be towards the top of the Pac-12 all season long.
10. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Last Week: 63-7 Win vs Arkansas-Pine Bluff
The Cowboys had no trouble handling FCS Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday. They jumped out to a 49-7 halftime lead before the brakes were put on. Let’s see how Mike Gundy and Spencer Sanders handle their first Big 12 game of the year on October 1st in Waco.
11. Kentucky Wildcats
Last Week: 31-0 Win vs Youngstown State
Kentucky followed up their win in Gainesville by handling business at home against Youngstown State. Will Levis threw for 377 yards as the Wildcats have announced themselves as a top team in the SEC East.
12. Arkansas Razorbacks
Last Week: 38-27 Win vs Missouri State
Arkansas survived a scare from FCS Missouri State in what was a clear look-ahead spot for the Razorbacks. They were down 27-17 with 12 minutes left but were able to score three straight touchdowns to seal it. I expect a game like this to be an abnormality for a team that will finish towards the top of the SEC West.
13. Tennessee Volunteers
Last Week: 63-6 Win vs Akron
Tennessee did not have trouble handling one of the worst Division 1 teams in the country as they took down the Akron Zips by 57 points. There is not much to take away from this one, however, Tennessee has a test next Saturday against the Florida Gators. If Josh Heupel’s team is truly a top-15 team, they will handle the Gators in Knoxville.
14. Penn State Nittany Lions
Last Week: 41-12 Win at Auburn
James Franklin and the Nittany Lions rode onto the Plains and absolutely handled the Auburn Tigers. Nick Singleton rushed for 124 yards and two scores. He has proven himself as a top back in the nation through three games. The Penn State defense forced three turnovers and proved they would not back down from the SEC physicality. Can the Nittany Lions compete with Big Ten East foes Michigan and Ohio State?
15. Oregon Ducks
Last Week: 41-20 Win vs #12 BYU
The Oregon Ducks imposed their will against #12 BYU from start to finish on Saturday. The Ducks balanced offensive attack picked up 227 yards through the air and 212 on the ground. Bo Nix accounted for 257 total yards and five touchdowns. Oregon, after getting blown out in Week One, got a much-needed win over a quality opponent in BYU.
16. Ole Miss Rebels
Last Week: 42-0 Win at Georgia Tech
The post Matt Corral era in Oxford is off to a 3-0 start. The Rebels’ offense is paced by the two-headed monster of Zach Evans and Quinshon Judkins. The duo has combined for over 600 rushing yards and six scores through three games. The defense is also the best it’s been in a while. The Yellow Jackets managed just 214 total yards of offense on Saturday.
17. Baylor Bears
Last Week: 42-7 Win vs Texas State
The Baylor Bears bounced back very nicely from their loss in Provo as they handled Texas State on Saturday afternoon. The Bears picked up 293 yards on the ground while averaging 7.9 YPC. Quarterback Blake Shapen must improve his decision-making, but these Bears will be a major player in the Big 12.
18. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Last Week: 37-36 Win vs Liberty
Wake Forest escaped Liberty by the skin of their teeth on Saturday. The Demon Deacons used 17 fourth-quarter points to eke out a one-point win over the Flames. If Wake wants to be considered a real ACC contender, they need to establish a rushing attack. They carried the ball 26 times for 21 yards against Liberty.
19. Texas Longhorns
Last Week: 41-20 Win vs UTSA
After getting down 17-7, the Longhorns rebounded and outscored the frisky Roadrunners 34-3 in the final 36 minutes of the game. Without starting quarterback Quinn Ewers, Texas used 298 rushing yards on 8.3 YPC to balance their offense. This team showed a resilience that they lacked in years past and should be right at the top of the Big 12 all season long.
20. BYU Cougars
Last Week: 20-41 Loss at #25 Oregon
BYU was never in this game in Eugene. The Cougars were dominated on both sides of the ball against an Oregon team that played with something to prove. It is back to the drawing board for Kalani Sitake’s after getting punked on both lines of scrimmage.
21. Washington Huskies
Last Week: 39-28 Win vs #11 Michigan State
Washington absolutely dominated the Spartans on Saturday, holding a 39-14 lead midway through the fourth quarter. Quarterback Michael Penix Jr proved the doubters wrong with 397 yards and four touchdowns. The Huskies’ defense allowed just 1.4 YPC. Washington has announced itself as a top team in the Pac-12.
22. Texas A&M Aggies
Last Week: 17-9 Win vs #13 Miami
Jimbo Fisher made the quarterback switch to Max Johnson and it paid off for the Aggies as they bested the Hurricanes on Saturday night. A&M was out-gained through the air and on the ground but was able to dominate the special teams battle. A&M has a very tricky start to SEC play as they take on Arkansas, Mississippi State, and Alabama over the next three weeks.
23. Pittsburgh Panthers
Last Week: 34-13 Win vs Western Michigan
Pittsburgh bounced back after their tough loss to Tennessee with a convincing victory over Western Michigan. The Panthers rushed for 240 yards and were helped out by three Bronco interceptions. Nate Yarnell did a fine job stepping in for the injured Kedon Slovis at quarterback, but without the aforementioned Slovis, the Panthers’ ceiling is drastically limited.
24. Florida Gators
Last Week: 31-28 Win vs South Florida
I believe the Week One upset of Utah was an abnormality for this Florida team. Anthony Richardson is too inconsistent for this team to win more than eight games. He has thrown four interceptions over his last 37 pass attempts. Coach Napier will have to ride the run game and defense to wins this season.
25. Michigan State Spartans
Last Week: 28-39 Loss at Washington
The Spartans got crushed this weekend in Seattle. Two late touchdowns salvaged the scoreline, but this one was not close at any point. Michigan State could not get the ground attack going on offense and could not stop the pass on defense. Personally, I think this team was wildly overrated in the preseason and that will show with a mediocre finish in Big Ten play.
Others Receiving Votes: Miami, Florida State, Marshall, Oregon State, Appalachian State, Mississippi State, Minnesota, Kansas, Kansas State, Wisconsin, Cincinnati