• Graham Smith

Week 3 SSN Top 25 Ranking

A reactionary ranking that pays no heed to the preseason polls


#25 Washington (2-0)

The Huskies are rolling behind first year coach Kalen DeBoer and transfer QB Michael Penix. Though the competition hasn't been stiff through two games, Kent State and Portland State, UW has outscored them 101-26. The Kent State win looks more significant after watching Oklahoma struggle against them in the first half this weekend. Next up: Michigan State


#24 App State (1-1)

The Mountaineers bounced back from their heartbreaking loss to UNC last week in a tremendous win over #6 Texas A&M in College Station. A&M had 56 blue chip athletes on their roster compared to 1 for App; simply put, App State outperformed a top tier SEC program in every facet. Next up: Miami


#23 Penn State (2-0)

The Nittany Lions dominated Ohio in a second strong showing following the week 1 comeback victory over Purdue. Penn State is flying under the radar but has major darkhorse potential in the B1G East. Whether they can be a CFP contender all comes down to their date with Auburn. Next up: @ Auburn


#22 Utah (1-1)

The week 1 loss to Florida deflated the Utes Playoff hopes but they're far from out of it. With a regrouped offense, Utah laid 70 on hapless Southern Utah. Cam Rising will need to keep up the strong performances to make it back to the Pac 12 Championship. Next up: San Diego State


#21 UNC (3-0)

A series of what would otherwise be unimpressive G5 wins are now looking increasingly better given the strength of the Sun Belt. The defense remains very suspect, but Drake Maye is one of the hottest QBs in the entire nation. Next up: Bye


#20 Florida (1-1)

Billy Napier's Gators grabbed national attention when they shocked #7 Utah in The Swamp last week but came back down to earth this weekend. Kentucky beat Florida in back to back seasons for the first time since '76-77. Anthony Richardson still has a long way to go to meet the Cam Newton comparisons. Next up: USF


#19 Tennessee (2-0)

An overtime thriller against Pitt showcased the talent on this Vols team. Hendon Hooker has a chance to lead the best Tennessee team in a decade. The SEC East is wide open with everyone playing catch up to Georgia. Next up: Akron


#18 Baylor (1-1)

The Bears got stunned in 2OT in Provo thanks to some poor QB play down the stretch. While the loss will hurt in the national standings, Baylor's Big 12 odds are still very much alive. Thanks to the BU defense, the Bears should be able to overcome future offensive woes against the bottom half of the conference. To be a contender, Shapen needs to play as well as he did last year. Next up: Texas State


#17 Wake Forest (2-0)

The Demon Deacons returned star QB Sam Hartman just in time for their trip to Vanderbilt. In vintage fashion, Hartman lit up the scoreboard with 300yds passing & 4 TDs. The defense was also impressive, getting on the board with a pick six and forcing two more fumbles. A win over an SEC team, even Vandy, is a solid victory for the Deacs. Next up: Liberty


#16 Cincinnati (1-1)

The Bearcats lost a close fought week 1 game against Arkansas proving this team remains one of the best G5s in the country. Week 2 brought an easy victory over FCS Kennesaw State but week 3 will see Cincy take on the nation's longest home winning streak in the battle for the Victory Bell. Ben Bryant's improved play is crucial to Cincinnati earning a NY6 spot. Next up: Miami Ohio


#15 Oregon State (2-0)

OSU notched one of Saturday's best under the radar wins in a late night battle with Fresno State. After dominating Boise State in week 1, Oregon State has proven they can beat the best the Mountain West has to offer. The Beavs are shaping up to be one the biggest surprises in the Pac 12. Next up: Montana State


#14 Marshall (2-0)

In another stunning Sun Belt upset, Marshall went into South Bend and knocked off a top 10 Notre Dame just a week after Ohio State did the same. This was Marshall's first top 10 win since 2003. Coach Huff's Herd are thundering and momentum is building for a showdown between Marshall and App State in week 10. Marshall is now poised to make a run at the coveted G5 NY6 spot. Next up: @ Bowling Green


#13 Ohio State (2-0)

The defensive slugfest against Notre Dame last week has suddenly become a giant question mark regarding the Buckeye's offensive prowess. CJ Stroud was the preseason Heisman favorite but so far OSU hasn't looked nearly as lethal as we all expected them to be. Granted his top two receivers are out, Stroud will nonetheless need to carry Ohio State on his back if a CFP berth is in order. Next up: Toledo


#12 Texas (1-1)

Playing the #1 team in the country to 1 point requiring a walk off kick is deserved of being ranked this high. The loss to Alabama was better than nearly any other team's win this weekend. The game could've been much different had QB Quinn Ewers not been injured, however, the message was loud and clear: Texas is definitely back. Next up: UTSA


#11 Clemson (2-0)

The Tigers remain thoroughly bland throughout week 2. Yes they've dispatched Georgia Tech and Furman handedly, but that's one of FBS's worst and an FCS team. DJ Uiagalelei is on the QB hot seat still, forever cursed by the impossibly high standard he set for himself vs Notre Dame in 2020. This Clemson team is a contender on paper but is still missing a spark. Next up: Louisiana Tech


#10 Michigan State (2-0)

The Spartans pitched a shut out in week 2 against lowly Akron after defeating WMU the week prior. The offense is still trying to find its way post Kenneth Walker, and QB Payton Thorne hasn't performed up to par. 2 Ints are forgivable against Akron, but not against B1G foes. The defense remains stellar and the run game behind Jalen Berger is on track for a big year. Keeping up with the red hot Huskies will show where MSU stacks up nationally. Next up: @ Washington


#9 Oklahoma (2-0)

Things got dicey this week for the Sooners as they entered halftime up 7-3 against Kent State. A massive 24 point 3rd quarter put the game away but mustering 33 points against a MAC opponent is definitely not the OU of days past. Dillon Gabriel is still learning the offense but is showing significant improvement. When the offense is clicking, this team will be hard to beat. Whether they can string together 4 quarters of it is still yet to be seen. Next up: Nebraska


#8 Oklahoma State (2-0)

Oklahoma State took down a solid Arizona State team in Stillwater this weekend in a well rounded effort. Despite several late pushes from the Sun Devils, this game was never really in question. Spencer Sanders remains efficient in leading this vastly improved offense and the defense is still one of the best in the conference. OSU is on a revenge tour this season and hoping to claim the Big 12 title they were a yard away from claiming last year. Next up: UAPB


#7 BYU (2-0)

One of week 2's most impressive showings was BYU knocking off Baylor despite missing their top 2 receivers. The Cougars have one of the country's most difficult schedules ahead of them but look primed to make a run. A CFP berth is certainly attainable for BYU, and they may just have the team this year to do it. Next weeks game vs Oregon will show how BYU stacks up against Georgia via mutual opponent. Next up: @ Oregon


#6 Kentucky (2-0)

This was the UK team we were hoping to see in week 1. Kentucky played hard-nosed football and defensively dominated Florida in the Swamp. The Cats hadn't beaten Florida in back to back seasons in nearly 50 years and now, thanks to the victory, stand as potentially Georgia's only competition in the East this year. Getting Will Levis in the groove will be key. Next up: Youngstown State


#5 Arkansas (2-0)

The Hogs may have the best resume of any team 2 weeks in. Downing both Cincinnati and South Carolina have shown Arkansas' dominance on both sides of the ball. KJ Jefferson is massive. Teams will continue to struggle containing him and RB Raheim Sanders, who together make up the heaviest QB/RB combo in the nation. Sam Pittman is working wonders in Fayetteville, and with Alabama showing cracks, Arkansas will have a chance to reach the SEC Championship for the first time in a decade. Next up: Missouri State


#4 USC (2-0)

Lincoln Riley has wasted no time getting USC back on track. Caleb Williams is electric for the Trojans and it's hard to point to a better looking offense in the country right now. Utah began the season as the Pac 12 favorite for the CFP but USC has definitely usurped them. This is my new favorite CFP darkhorse. Next up: Fresno State


#3 Michigan (2-0)

The Wolverines are excelling no matter who the QB is. Michigan has now put up over 50 points in back to back weeks while only allowing 17 points. With this combination of offense and defense, the Wolverines look like the new favorite in the B1G ahead of even Ohio State. Expect a 50 piece threepeat this week. Next up: UConn


#2 Alabama (2-0)

Nick Saban said last year's team was a rebuilding year; well this year may be rebuilding year #2. The Tide needed a walk-off FG to beat Texas by 1 point, and were it not for a missed Texas FG would've lost the game. The offensive line was horrendous and the receiving core needs help. Bama played uncharacteristically chippy too, racking up the most penalties of the Saban era. This kind of sloppy play will come back to bite them if it's not corrected.


#1 Georgia (2-0)

The Bulldogs are far and away the best team in the nation. Despite losing key pieces to their historic defense, somehow the Dawgs look even better this year. Stetson Bennett IV has emerged from a feel good story about a walk-on game manager QB to a legit Heisman contender. With Bama's shaking performance against Texas, Georgia is smelling a title repeat. Next up: @ South Carolina


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