AP Top 25 college football poll reaction


The AP Top 25 college football poll is out after a wild weekend of games.

Week 1 saw USC return three interceptions for touchdowns, Michigan and Ole Miss keep their quarterback competitions open, the return of the Backyard Brawl, a triple-overtime thriller, then-unranked Florida upsetting a then-top-10 Utah team and much, much more.

But what happens from here? We break down what’s next for each ranked team.

Previous ranking: 1

Week 1 result: 55-0 win vs. Utah State

What’s next: at Texas (Saturday, noon ET)

A 55-0 win to start the season is nothing to sneeze at. Neither is 278 yards rushing. But when you’re the Crimson Tide, you’re competing for a national championship and your coach is named Nick Saban, you nitpick. So 278 yards rushing is great — except 111 of those yards came on two carries, one of which was a scramble by quarterback Bryce Young. Looking at the push the line was able to create up front down in and down out, it wasn’t terribly impressive. The consistency, Saban said, “wasn’t what it needed to be.” And that was against Utah State. Set against the backdrop of the position’s struggles last season, it means the game at Texas is worth paying careful attention to. — Alex Scarborough


Previous ranking: 3

Week 1 result: 49-3 win vs. No. 11 Oregon

What’s next: vs. Samford (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET)

As good as Georgia’s rebuilt defense looked in a 49-3 rout of Oregon in the opener, there’s still plenty for the Bulldogs to clean up. Georgia didn’t have a sack against Ducks quarterback Bo Nix, but it did apply pressure. The secondary, with freshman safety Malaki Starks on the field, looks as dynamic as it has ever been. Kirby Smart said Starks was the team’s most productive defensive back in preseason camp, and Starks had one of the best interceptions you’ll see in his debut. Georgia’s linebackers missed some tackles and All-American Nakobe Dean is no longer there to erase mistakes. He was one of eight defensive players who were selected in the NFL draft. With FCS opponent Samford coming to Sanford Stadium on Saturday, the Bulldogs can focus on themselves the next two weeks before the SEC opener at South Carolina on Sept. 17. — Mark Schlabach


Previous ranking: 2

Week 1 result: 21-10 win vs. No. 5 Notre Dame

What’s next: vs. Arkansas State (Saturday, noon ET)

The biggest question for the Buckeyes coming into the season was the defense, and that unit made a statement against Notre Dame. Ohio State allowed only 72 total yards to go with zero points in the second half against the Irish and showed the changes they have been working on in the offseason under new coordinator Jim Knowles. The Buckeyes passed the first test and have Arkansas State and Toledo before facing Wisconsin at home. Judging by the first game, Ohio State is going to be a difficult matchup for the teams on its schedule. — Tom VanHaaren


Previous ranking: 8

Week 1 result: 51-7 win vs. Colorado State

What’s next: vs. Hawai’i (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET)

J.J. McCarthy is going to get the start in the next game against Hawai’i as he battles Cade McNamara for the starting job. McCarthy played sparingly in the second half of the first game against Colorado State, completing 4 of 4 passes for 30 yards and running for 50 yards and a touchdown. McNamara didn’t have his best start in the opener, and McCarthy has an opportunity to take the reins if he can perform in this second game. McCarthy brings a different element to the offense with his ability to make plays with his legs, but coach Jim Harbaugh has said the competition will go on. — Tom VanHaaren


Previous ranking: 4

Week 1 result: 41-10 win vs. Georgia Tech

What’s next: vs. Furman (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET)

DJ Uiagalelei wasn’t close to Heisman caliber in Clemson’s 41-10 Week 1 win over Georgia Tech, but when he struggled, Dabo Swinney never considered turning to freshman Cade Klubnik until the game was well in hand. Uiagalelei at least did enough to warrant more time to improve. The lack of consistent separation between the receivers was a problem, with Uiagalelei largely sticking to quick, short passes and relying on yards after the catch. With Clemson’s next two games coming against Furman and Louisiana Tech, there’s time for the offense to sand off the rough edges, but given the track record, it’s fair to wonder if there’s a markedly better unit hiding underneath. And if not, could we see more of the blue-chip Klubnik in bigger situations despite Clemson’s insistence that there’s no QB controversy? — David M. Hale


Previous ranking: 6

Week 1 result: 31-0 win vs. Sam Houston

What’s next: vs. Appalachian State (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET)

The Aggies face an Appalachian State team that scored 61 points against North Carolina — including 40 in the fourth quarter — and lost. The defense will be tested, but the Aggies are confident in the talent they’ve stocked there. The return of senior Ainias Smith has been huge, however, for the offense. He had six catches for 164 yards and two touchdowns and will be a go-to for an offense in a youth movement. — Dave Wilson


Previous ranking: 9

Week 1 result: 45-13 win vs. UTEP

What’s next: vs. Kent State (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET)

The newcomers — head coach Brent Venables, quarterback Dillon Gabriel, etc. — looked good for Oklahoma on Saturday in a 45-13 win over UTEP. Gabriel completed 15 of 23 passes for 233 yards and two scores and blew his way in for a rushing touchdown as well. They should be able to handle Kent State in Week 2, as well, but their next two games, at Nebraska on Sept. 17 and home vs. Kansas State on Sept. 24, will indicate how seriously they should be taken as both Big 12 and College Football Playoff contenders. — Bill Connelly


Previous ranking: 5

Week 1 result: 21-10 loss vs. No. 2 Ohio State

What’s next: vs. Marshall (Saturday, 2:30 p.m. ET)

The first test of the Marcus Freeman era was a loss against Ohio State, but it wasn’t a bad showing. The defense limited a high-powered Ohio State offense to just seven points in the first half and kept it close for most of the game. There are some things to work on, especially on offense, but the Irish now have Marshall and Cal before taking on North Carolina, BYU and Stanford. This early test against the Buckeyes could prepare them well for the more challenging teams on the schedule, and if the team can work out some of the issues in this first game, Notre Dame could be a team to watch down the stretch. — Tom VanHaaren


Previous ranking: 10

Week 1 result: 69-10 win vs. Albany

What’s next: at BYU (Saturday, 10:15 p.m. ET)

Dave Aranda’s Bears cruised to an easy win over Albany to start the season, establishing a lovely rhythm for quarterback Blake Shapen (17-for-20 for 214 yards), receiver Monaray Baldwin & Co. Now the real challenges start: This coming Saturday, Baylor heads to Provo to face a BYU team that has won 22 of its past 26 games and put USF away in about three minutes Saturday. It might be the most physical game of Week 2; it could be one of the best, too. — Bill Connelly


Previous ranking: 14

Week 1 result: 66-14 win vs. Rice

What’s next: at Stanford (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET)

All the goodwill from Riley’s debut in the opener will be tested by USC’s first conference game. The early game at Stanford always seems to be a tough matchup for the Trojans, and even though the Cardinal seem to be going through a down phase, this one should be no different. Going on the road to Palo Alto isn’t exactly heading to Death Valley, but USC has often had trouble with the matchup. A win, even if it doesn’t involve over 60 points and four interceptions, will go a long way toward proving Riley’s USC is different and setting the tone for the rest of the season. — Paolo Uggetti


Previous ranking: 12

Week 1 result: 58-44 win vs. Central Michigan

What’s next: vs. Arizona State (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET)

OSU’s offense was brilliant in its first game of the season: Spencer Sanders threw for 406 yards and four touchdowns, rushed for two more scores and completed as many passes of 40-plus yards (four) as he did all of last season. But the defense got gashed, particularly in garbage time, in a 58-44 win. Is the defense actually a problem, or was CMU’s success more of an attention span problem? We’ll learn a lot more when Emory Jones, Xazavian Valladay and a transfer-heavy Arizona State squad visit Stillwater. — Bill Connelly


Previous ranking: unranked

Week 1 result: 29-26 win vs. No. 7 Utah

What’s next: vs. Kentucky (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET)

It is no surprise to see the Gators enter the Top 25 after their 29-26 upset of Utah thanks in large part to the spectacular play of quarterback Anthony Richardson. After the way last season ended, nobody quite knew what to expect out of him or first-year head coach Billy Napier. But as Napier said after Richardson scored three rushing touchdowns, including the winner: “I think we’re figuring out here that this guy’s a pretty special player.” There is plenty for Florida to clean up — especially on defense — and there’s little time, too, with Kentucky looming in Week 2. — Andrea Adelson


Previous ranking: 7

Week 1 result: 29-26 loss vs. Florida

What’s next: vs. Southern Utah (Saturday, 1:30 p.m. ET)

After its loss to Florida, the Utes’ long night got even longer as they were forced to stay at the Gainesville airport because of their plane’s mechanical issues. That probably provided time to think about missed opportunities, but there were plenty of positives to take away from the game headed into Week 2 against Southern Utah. Despite the loss, the Utes remain a tough team with enough physicality to match up against anyone. Their offensive line and tight ends dominated at times. Cleaning up the mistakes that cost them in the red zone should absolutely be a point of emphasis moving forward. — Andrea Adelson


Previous ranking: 15

Week 1 result: 35-13 win vs. Western Michigan

What’s next: vs. Akron (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET)

Sophomore running back Jalen Berger’s 120 rushing yards highlighted a 197-yard collective effort on the ground. Whether it be Berger or Colorado transfer Jarek Broussard, Mel Tucker’s team is looking to replace the production lost with Kenneth Walker III‘s departure to the Seattle Seahawks. With two more nonconference games before a matchup with Minnesota, the Spartans’ progress in the running game will make things easier for junior quarterback Payton Thorne. — Blake Baumgartner


Previous ranking: 16

Week 1 result: 70-13 win vs. Bethune-Cookman

What’s next: vs. Southern Mississippi (Saturday, noon ET)

Warm-up No. 1 went spectacularly for Mario Cristobal and the Hurricanes, who crushed Bethune-Cookman 70-13. Warm-up No. 2 is a step up in competition (Southern Miss) before Miami heads to College Station for a showdown with Texas A&M. There’s probably not much the Canes can take from the opener that would say much about their chances against the Aggies, but the strong day on the ground (six rushing TDs) despite the absence of lead back Jaylan Knighton was encouraging, and quarterback Tyler Van Dyke looked sharp and efficient, completing 13 of 16 passes for two TDs. Southern Miss will be a better test, and given Miami’s history of lackadaisical play surrounding big games, simply continuing to treat lesser opposition seriously might be the biggest mark of a genuine step forward. — David M. Halle


Previous ranking: 19

Week 1 result: 31-24 win vs. No. 23 Cincinnati

What’s next: vs. South Carolina (Saturday, noon ET)

The Razorbacks’ transfer class came up big against Cincinnati, adding some oomph to a roster that already proved to be a tough out last season and boosting their confidence with South Carolina coming to town. Dwight McGlothern (LSU) got the Arkansas scoring started, intercepting a pass and returning it 51 yards to set up a first-quarter score. Georgia Tech transfer defensive end Jordan Domineck had a strip sack in the fourth quarter and recovered it. Two plays later, KJ Jefferson threw a 32-yard touchdown to Trey Knox for a 31-17 lead with 9:26 left. Landon Jackson (LSU) and Drew Sanders (Alabama) both had sacks and Jadon Haselwood (Oklahoma) caught a touchdown. — Dave Wilson


Previous ranking: 17

Week 1 result: 38-31 win vs. West Virginia

What’s next: vs. Tennessee (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET)

The Panthers pulled out a come-from-behind win against West Virginia, but they know there is plenty to clean up from their performance. Coach Pat Narduzzi specifically called out their run defense in his postgame news conference. One of the others is the offensive line and run offense. This was a major point of emphasis during the offseason, but the veteran Pitt offensive line struggled to open holes, and the Panthers only finished with 76 yards rushing — averaging 1.9 yards per carry. — Andrea Adelson


Previous ranking: 13

Week 1 result: 21-20 win vs. East Carolina

What’s next: vs. Charleston Southern (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET)

Even though the Wolfpack came out of East Carolina with a 21-20 win thanks to multiple special teams miscues by the Pirates, there is plenty of room for improvement for a team that went into the season with as much hype as they did. For starters, they struggled up front on both the offensive defensive lines and had some major issues gaining yards in short yardage situations. Devin Leary, whom the school has touted as a Heisman Trophy contender, struggled at times, going 17-of-33 for 211 yards with a touchdown, an interception and a quarterback rating of 33.6. — Andrea Adelson


Previous ranking: 18

Week 1 result: 38-0 win vs. Illinois State

What’s next: vs. Washington State (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET)

Acclimating quarterback Graham Mertz with new offensive coordinator Bobby Engram was important, and Mertz had only two incompletions on 16 attempts. Having Mertz gain confidence in his decision making and giving him play calls to succeed is going to help when Wisconsin has to play Ohio State in the fourth game of the season. Mertz having consistency this season could be the key for the Badgers to make it back to the Big Ten title game. — Tom VanHaaren


Previous ranking: 20

Week 1 result: 37-13 win vs. Miami (Ohio)

What’s next: at Florida (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET)

After tying Bear Bryant for the most career wins in Kentucky school history (60) in the Wildcats’ season-opening 37-13 win over Miami (Ohio), Mark Stoops gets a chance to break the record this Saturday against Florida. Passing the legendary Bryant is one thing, but doing it on the road against Florida (a win that would be huge for Kentucky in the SEC East Division race) would only further cement the job Stoops has done in elevating the program into the SEC’s upper echelon. — Chris Low


Previous ranking: 25

Week 1 result: 50-21 win vs. South Florida

What’s next: vs. Baylor (Saturday, 10:15 p.m. ET)

Now comes the hard part. Over the next six games, the Cougars’ schedule includes Baylor, Oregon, Notre Dame and Arkansas. It’s one of the most difficult stretches for any team in college football and an opportunity to establish BYU as one of the best teams in the sport. Realistically, two wins from those four would be a success and build momentum as their time as an FBS independent winds down ahead of Big 12 membership. — Kyle Bonagura


Previous ranking: 21

Week 1 result: 28-10 win vs. Troy

What’s next: vs. Central Arkansas (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET)

Lane Kiffin isn’t ready to settle on a starting quarterback and may not for the next couple of weeks. That’s how close the competition has been between Jaxson Dart and Luke Altmyer, he said. Dart started Saturday’s 28-10 win over Troy, and Altmyer will get his shot in Week 2 against Central Arkansas. The Rebels will again be a heavy favorite in that game and will also be a big favorite in Week 3 against Georgia Tech and Week 4 against Tulsa. In other words, Kiffin has some time to figure out which quarterback gives the Rebels the best chance to navigate their way through the SEC schedule. Kiffin’s teams have always run the ball well, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change with this team. — Chris Low


Previous ranking: 22

Week 1 result: 44-10 win vs. VMI

What’s next: at Vanderbilt (Saturday, noon ET)

There’s still no timetable for when Sam Hartman might be ready to return to action after he was sidelined by what the school called a non-football injury last month. That leaves Mitch Griffis as the heir apparent, and he looked sharp in his debut in Week 1 against VMI, completing 21 of 29 passes for 288 yards and three touchdowns. The job gets tougher with a Week 2 trip to Vanderbilt, and Wake might need to rely a bit more on its defense, which held VMI to just 3.9 yards per pass in Brad Lambert’s debut as head coach. Vandy hung 63 on Hawaii in Week 0, and as good as Griffis looked, Wake can’t count on winning a shootout without Hartman at QB. — David M. Hale


Previous ranking: unranked

Week 1 result: 59-10 win vs. Ball State

What’s next: at Pittsburgh (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET)

Tennessee had chances a year ago in Josh Heupel’s first season to pad its win total, but couldn’t pull out close games against Pittsburgh or Ole Miss. The Vols get another shot against Pitt on Saturday, this time on the road. Heupel is looking for his second win as Tennessee’s coach over a nationally ranked team after going 1-4 a year ago, and the big difference this season is that Hendon Hooker is the established starter at quarterback and unquestioned leader of the Vols’ team. He didn’t start the Pitt game a year ago, but came off the bench in the second quarter and was Tennessee’s starter the rest of the season. A win over Pitt would be another big step for the Vols, especially with three of their next four games coming against SEC foes Florida, LSU and Alabama. — Chris Low


Previous ranking: 24

Week 1 result: 37-35 win vs. UTSA (3OT)

What’s next: at Texas Tech (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET)

Houston survived an absolute slugfest at UTSA on Saturday, scoring on six straight possessions (including overtime) to overcome a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit and prevail 37-35 in triple OT. The schedule doesn’t ease up for Dana Holgorsen and the Cougars, however: They now have a week to catch their breath before going across the state to face future Big 12 mates Texas Tech. This is a veteran-heavy, battle-tested Houston team, but this is a rough way to start. Can they score a second straight in-state win? — Bill Connelly


Dropped out: Oregon (11), Cincinnati (23)





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