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State of Florida and Washington on the rise




There wasn’t that much college football drama like last week, and most of the top teams came out unscathed. However, there was still movement in our top 25 college football rankings. Who rose, who fell and who first joined the fray?

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

Despite Bryce Young Alabama threw three touchdowns to two interceptions and sent UL-Monroe 63-7. Six different rushers generated 30+ yards on the ground, Will Anderson Jr. added a pick-six to his resume and Brian Branch returned a 68-yard punt for a score.

2. Ohio State Buckeyes

CJ Stroud had more touchdowns (4) than incomplete points (2), Marvin Harrison Jr. exploded for six catches, 102 yards, and two scores, and that was all at halftime, with Ohio State ahead of Toledo 42-14. As with most top teams, the Buckeyes took little effort to push the Rockets aside. Wisconsin is next, who should provide a more rigid defense for OSU to sharpen their canines.

3. Georgia Bulldogs

Georgia rode to a 48-7 win in Week 3. Was it about an FCS school? Maybe a group of five program? No, it was on its way against SEC adversary South Carolina. Stetson Bennett continued his – dare I say – Heisman-combatant campaign, and the ever first-round defense provided Spencer Rattler in the first round with zero touchdowns, two picks and 4.7 yards per attempt.

4. Michigan Wolverines

In his first game as the undisputed starter, JJ McCarthy didn’t have to do much. He completed 15 of 18 passes for 214 yards, but RB Blake Corum batted in five TDs on just 12 rushes. The Michigan defense also did its job, holding UConn to nil and just 110 yards of offense.

5. Wolfpack in the State of North Carolina

NC State continues to roll, but questions about the crime remain. Devin Leary completed just 15 of 23 for 121 yards, and WR Thayer Thomas threw the Wolfpack’s only passing touchdown. RB Demie Sumo-Karngbaye is the gift that keeps on giving after picking up where Zonovan Knight left off. He produced 147 yards and two scores on 18 touches. Nevertheless, the defense was the brightest point, allowing no more than 400 yards or 20 points this season.

6. USC Trojans (Last week: 7)

Despite both programs going undefeated, I’ve seen enough of USC to put them above Clemson. The defense is opportunistic – a nice change from the Trojan defenses of recent years. But the offensive side of the ball is what every other team should be concerned about. Caleb Williams and Lincoln Riley pick up where they left off – if not even better. Both Travis Dye and Austin Jones had 100+ yards and a score on just over 10 carries each.

With defense holding their side and running play complementing the passing offense, USC is a force to be reckoned with.

7. Clemson Tigers (Last week: 6)

Played on the field for Clemson’s foul, but they still sent Louisiana Tech home with a 48-20 loss. DJ Uiagalelei completed just over 50% of his passes for 7.6 yards per attempt and two scores. But RB Will Shipley was the star of the show, running for 139 yards and two TDs on just 12 carries. Oh, and this is still a defensive unit of the caliber of the National Championship.

8. Oklahoma Sooners

Nebraska’s downward shift continued against Oklahoma, with the Sooners beating the Cornhuskers 49-14. Eric Gray posted 113 yards and two TDs on 11 carries, and Dillon Gabriel continued his streak of two plus TD, zero INT streak this season. Oklahoma has faced little resistance so far this year. But they can’t get complacent, with Kansas State and TCU on tap ahead of their Red River Showdown against Texas.

9. Kentucky Wildcats

Will Levis threw two picks, and La’Vell Wright lost a fumble, but beyond the turnover—which I know isn’t a throwaway statement—Kentucky was handling business against Youngstown State. Levis had the longest run of the day by both teams (24 yards) and averaged 10.8 yards per pass. Meanwhile, Dane Key caught six passes for 90 yards and a score. Northern Illinois may not prove to be a difficult task in Week 4, but Ole Miss will offer a challenge in Week 5.

10. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Last week: 11)

Oklahoma State lost 42 points to FCS-level Arkansas-Pine Bluff… with 11 minutes left in the SECOND quarter. So yes, all is well in Stillwater. Next week, however, they will face their first real test of 2022 against the defending Big 12 champ Baylor.

11. Minnesota Golden Gophers (Last week: 14)

The Golden Gophers continue to crush the competition, keeping Colorado on 10 out of 24 passing 90 yards. And on the other side of the ball, Mohamed Ibrahim took 22 tries for 203 yards and three touchdowns, tying Darrell Thompson for the fastest scores in a career in Minnesota history (40). Fresh off a 49-7 win, Minnesota will visit the state of Michigan in Week 4.

12. Ole Miss Rebels (Last week: 15)

Jaxson Dart completed 10 of 16 passes for 207 yards and an interception… and Ole Miss still beat Georgia Tech 42-0. That’s because Zach Evans (18-134-2), Quinshon Judkins (19-98-2) and Ulysses Bentley IV (8-27-2) dominated on the ground. In addition, the defense hindered Jeff Sims and Co., with only 13 first downs and a total of 214 yards. The Rebels aren’t quite tested yet, so it will be interesting to see how they perform against Kentucky in Week 5.

13. North Carolina Tar Heels (Last week: 16)

North Carolina had a week off, and it was a much needed one after two direct close calls against Group of Five programs. But they will be in every game as long as freshman phenoms QB Drake Maye and RB Omarion Hampton are in the backfield.

14. Tennessee Volunteers (Last week: 17)

63-6. Akron gave it their all, but they were just no match for Tennessee. The speedy Jalin Hyatt took over for the receiver, taking in five passes for 166 yards and two scores. There’s not much else to take from this game, but with Florida ahead, the Vols must stay on their game to remain undefeated in the SEC.

15. Arkansas Razorbacks (Last week: 18)

It was almost a shock to Missouri State after rising 17-0 early, but Arkansas came back 38-27. All the talk is about KJ Jefferson, and rightly so, but Raheim Sanders is an absolute game-changer. He only needed 24 touches to score 242 touches and two finish points. Still, both backfield-mates lost fumbles, so they’ll have to improve ball security for the rest of the year.

16. Oregon State Beavers (Last week: 19)

I didn’t get Oregon State to score 68 points in a game this year, but here we are. And although it was against an FCS program, Montana State battled for the title last year. No Beaver rushed over 65 yards, but five ran into the end zone.

Chance Nolan practically ran the offense downfield every ride, completing 19 of 25 attempts for 276 yards and four TDs. The secondary is one of the best in the Pac-12 and Rejzohn Wright is one of the best corners in the conference – if not the nation.

17. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (Last week: 20)

The return of Sam Hartman raises the floor and ceiling of Wake Forest, but their performance on the ground against Liberty is a concern. They couldn’t get anything going – literally. The Demon Deacons averaged 0.8 yards per carry. Zero. Point. eight. That can’t happen again if they want to stay competitive.

18. Florida Gators (Last week: 21)

What’s Wrong With Anthony Richardson? He’s got all the physical talent in the world, and he’s been setting up stinkers one after the other. The latter was his worst, as it came against South Florida. He completed just over 50% of his passes for 112 yards, no touchdowns, and two picks. The Gators’ quick offense led the team to victory, with 30 tries for 217 yards and three scores. It was a real commission approach, with no rusher earning more than eight carries.

19. Utah Utes (Last week: 22)

Midway through the third quarter, San Diego State completed just 3 out of 10 passes. The Aztecs are not known for their aerial attack, but credit to the Utes’ stifling defenses. Cameron Rising also kept the ball moving against a solid secondary SDSU, throwing four TDs en route to 35 points to three-quarters.

20. Pittsburgh Panthers (Last week: 23)

Kedon Slovis took the field for the warm-ups, but in the end it was Nate Yarnell who started as third attacker against Western Michigan. He threw only 12 passes, but hit on nine for 179 yards and one TD. Israel Abanikanda took over on the ground, rushing to 133 yards and a score of his own. Either way, the Panthers will go as far as Slovis takes them. And if he’s not fit for a few more matches, Pitt could slip down the rankings.

21. Baylor Bears (Last week: 24)

After dropping to BYU last week, Baylor recovered with a 42-7 win over Texas state. It was an expected win, but a win is a win is a win. While Blake Shapen has yet to take the passing game to new heights, true freshman Richard Reese gave new life to the hasty attack. He generated 156 yards and three TDs on 19 attempts, even taking his only catch for 17 yards. Still, 4 out of 11 in third place won’t make it against a tougher competition later on.

22. Florida State Seminoles (Last Week: Unranked)

Hello, Florida State, welcome to the top 25! It may have taken me a few weeks to get used to you, but now? I’ll do the tomahawk heel next to you! This team has grit and Jordan Travis looks like a legit NFL Draft prospect for 2023. After surviving LSU last week and knocking my ACC dark horse Louisville off me in week 3, I can’t ignore the Seminoles anymore.

Jared Verse left with an alarming leg injury, and any missed moment from the star edge rusher would be hard for FSU to overcome. Treshaun Ward is as elusive as they come with the ball in his hands, and 6’7″ Johnny Wilson is a defense mismatch nightmare.

23. Miami Hurricanes (Last week: 12)

In Week 3, Miami suffered a demoralizing loss of 17-9 to Texas A&M. Still, the Aggies were a top-10 ranked team last week. There is talent scattered all over the roster, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Henry Parrish Jr. (16-85) and Jaylan Knighton (14-77) were prolific on the ground, but Tyler Van Dyke must improve the passing game for the Hurricanes to stay in the top 25 long term.

24. Washington Huskies (Last Week: Unranked)

As with the state of Florida, it’s time to put some respect on Washington’s name. These are not the same Huskies from years past. The offense actually has some legs – figuratively and literally – with Michael Penix in the middle. He threw four touchdowns and nearly 400 yards against a solid Michigan state defense, with three TDs and 153 yards to freshman Ja’Lynn Polk.

25. BYU Cougars (Last week: 10)

Although BYU lost to an Oregon team, many wrote off after Week 1, being in the top two for receivers and two defensive linemen. The conditions weren’t ideal, but Jaren Hall and Co. showed heart to the end. I’m not taking the Cougars out of the top 25 just yet, but another loss would increase their chances until other teams falter before them.

Teams from the outside looking in

  • Penn State Nittany Lions
  • Washington State Cougars
  • Michigan State Spartans
  • Texas Longhorns
  • Marshall Thundering Herd

James Fragoza is a writer and news editor at Pro Football Network. You can be . read other work here and follow him on Twitter @JamesFragoza.




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