Have you ever looked at the AP Poll or another college football ranking and wondered how they came up with their rankings? I certainly have. Here at RotoBaller, we have a feature this year where we provide a weekly rundown of the NCAA college football power rankings. This ranking is similar to a top-25 poll you’d find elsewhere, but with a twist – I watch a lot of football, so you can trust my judgment.
Our approach to ranking teams is different from traditional polls. Instead of considering what’s expected from a team, we focus solely on their on-field performance thus far in the season. While these rankings may seem a bit unusual in the early months, they will normalize as the season progresses. I also give a bit more weight to teams I had ranked highly in the preseason, meaning I won’t penalize a team too harshly for dominating weaker opponents.
Most teams have already faced Power Five opponents, which carries more weight than beating lesser teams like McNeese State or Ball State.
Let’s dive into the rankings:
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25. Oklahoma State (2-0) (NR)
Last week, Oklahoma State secured a victory against Arizona State with a 27-15 score. While their offense hasn’t been exceptional, their defense made timely fourth-down stops to earn this spot.
24. Iowa (2-0) (NR)
Iowa defeated Iowa State 20-13, but the matchup lost some excitement due to issues surrounding Iowa State. Iowa’s offense and Cade McNamara may not be impressive, but their elite defense keeps them in the game.
23. Oklahoma (2-0)
The Oklahoma defense shone in their 28-11 win against SMU, holding them to just 11 points. Dillon Gabriel’s strong performance is a positive sign for the team.
22. Cincinnati (2-0) (NR)
Cincinnati earned their spot with a tough road win against Pittsburgh, with Emory Jones finding an offense that suits him.
21. Minnesota (2-0)
Minnesota moved up, mainly because other teams lost. Despite some skepticism about their schedule, they continue to rise.
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20. Oregon State (2-0)
Oregon State’s 55-7 victory against UC-Davis allowed them to maintain their position and leave the game injury-free.
19. Kansas State (2-0)
Kansas State moved up after ending Troy’s 12-game winning streak with a convincing 42-13 win.
18. Georgia (2-0)
Georgia, much like Michigan, secured a win against an inferior opponent (Ball State). They continue to prove their strength.
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17. Michigan (2-0)
Michigan, too, dominated UNLV with a 35-7 victory. Their schedule will balance out soon, putting them where they belong in the top five.
16. Miami (FL) (2-0) (NR)
Miami’s win against Texas A&M at home was a positive, although some expected more from the Aggies. The attendance in South Florida’s stadium was impressive.
15. Tennessee (2-0)
Tennessee struggled against an inferior opponent, Austin Peay, winning 30-13. Their victory over a Power Five school came at home, allowing others to move ahead, for now.
14. Oregon (2-0)
A road win against Texas Tech helped Oregon start their climb up the rankings.
13. USC (3-0)
USC excelled on both offense and defense in their 56-10 win against Stanford. Stanford might not be a strong team, but USC did what they should.
12. Penn State (2-0)
Penn State dominated Delaware with a 63-7 victory, showing they won’t take weaker opponents lightly.
11. Washington (2-0)
Washington’s 43-10 win against Tulsa sets them up for a chance to move up the rankings, especially with their upcoming game against East Lansing.
10. North Carolina (2-0)
North Carolina survived a thrilling 2OT game against Appalachian State, suggesting Appalachian State might be a formidable opponent. This game adds excitement to the season.
9. Ohio State (2-0)
Despite their early struggles, Ohio State maintains its position after a 35-7 win against Youngstown State. Kyle McCord’s performance earned him the starting quarterback role.
8. Notre Dame (3-0)
Notre Dame moves up thanks to their neutral win against a service academy and a road victory against an ACC team. They continue to impress.
7. Utah (2-0)
Utah holds its ground with a win on the road against Baylor. The return of Cameron Rising is eagerly awaited.
6. Mississippi (2-0)
Mississippi’s road win against a ranked Tulane team boosts their ranking. Michael Pratt’s injury might have impacted the game’s outcome.
5. Duke (1-0)
Duke maintains its position despite playing an FCS school, Lafayette. Colorado and Washington State’s road victories against Power Five teams slightly overshadow Duke’s performance.
4. Washington State (2-0) (NR)
Washington State’s Cameron Ward is an exciting player to watch, and their victory against Wisconsin deserves recognition.
3. Colorado (2-0)
Colorado remains in third place after a home win against Nebraska.
2. Florida State (2-0)
Florida State holds the second spot with an impressive win against Southern Mississippi.
1. Texas (2-0)
Texas claims the top spot after an impressive win against Alabama, making a strong case for their ranking.
These rankings provide a fresh perspective on college football teams’ performance based solely on their on-field results, free from preseason expectations. Stay tuned for weekly updates to see how teams rise and fall as the season unfolds.