The Tigers have lived up to expectations so far as they asserted their dominance over a good Texas A&M team. The offense, led by Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne, has shown no signs of slowing down, even with a defense that isn’t exactly on brand for Dabo Swinney. The Tigers will have a chance to bolster their resume with a trip to Syracuse on Saturday.
Alabama is unsurprisingly in the top 10 in both total offense and total defense yet again. Tua and company have looked incredible as he begins his chase for a Heisman. The loss of Dylan Moses is substantial, but there hasn’t seemed to be any drop in production on the defensive side of the ball with the Tide ranking 3rd in the nation in that department. They will have a chance to start off their conference play 1-0 as they travel to South Carolina to take on the Gamecocks.
The Tigers jumped up the rankings with a victory over 10th ranked Texas in Austin. Joe Burrow was prolific in Joe Brady’s new offense that put up 471 air yards with 4 touchdowns. Like Clemson, the defense isn’t trademark this year, but it doesn’t have to be with an offense like that. As long as they can do just enough, that’ll do. LSU get a bit of a break against Northwestern State this week.
The Bulldogs fell in the rankings this week but it wasn’t due to anything they did or didn’t do, it’s just that LSU was impressive. Georgia ranks top 20 in both total offense and defense, marks that are products of two dominant victories to start the season. Jake Fromm and the offense look incredible out of the gate. Georgia will be visited by Arkansas State this week.
- Ohio State
The Urban Meyer-less Buckeyes haven’t seemed to notice the coaching change as they’ve started the year 2-0 in increasingly dominant fashion. OSU beat in-state rivals Cincinnati 49-0 on Saturday with a powerful run game and stifling defense. Justin Fields can be better but it’s still early in the season. OSU is at Indiana this week.
The Sooners somehow did better than their Week 1 performance with a 70-14 victory over South Dakota and sith 4th in the nation in offense. The team is averaging well over 300 yards in both modes of offense and Jalen Hurts is looking like he’ll be the 3rd Oklahoma Heisman in a row if he can keep up this production. The defense is, well, a Big 12 defense. They could get exposed against a good offense but can also probably outscore most teams in college football. They’re damn good. The Sooners travel to LA to play Chip Kelly’s UCLA this week.
Auburn owns one of the more impressive wins this year with a Week 1 victory over Oregon. That game saw Bo Nix lead an impressive comeback, particularly a final drive that won the game for the Tigers. Apart from being clutch, Nix hasn’t been that exceptional. Luckily the Tigers are super tough to score on and can make big time plays all over the field. Gus Malzhan has one of his more talented teams since the Cam years and he looks ready to challenge for the West. If Nix can play to the 5-star level he was recruited at then Auburn will be tough to stop. The Tigers host Kent State this week.
- Notre Dame
The Fighting Irish are coming off a bye week so we haven’t seen too much, but there doesn’t seem to be too many issues at first look. Ian Book seems alright and the run game is decent. The defense hasn’t had much competition as Louisville isn’t a huge challenge, but there are a ton of really talented guys up and down the defense. We’ll have a better idea of what this team is after their game with New Mexico.
The Gator’s defense came back to Earth after the war crimes they committed against the Miami offensive line, but were still very good. Felipe Franks seems to be taking the next step in the right direction and Dan Mullen is giving him a lot of freedom early on. Kadarius Toney going down in a hit but there’s plenty of guys who are capable of taking his place. The Gators are in great shape heading into a matchup at Kentucky on Saturday.
Utah has been a fun team to watch so far this season. The Utes aren’t really great in any facet but they’re good at everything. Quarterback Tyler Huntley doesn’t rack up the yards but he makes his throws count. The running game is phenomenal and combines with a devastating run defense to make a time-hemorrhaging nightmare. The team also doesn’t turn the ball over. 0 turnovers for compared to taking the ball from the opposition 4 times is a fantastic formula that will win games for you. They Utes host Idaho State this weekend.
Michigan fans were having flashbacks to the Appalachian State game when playing Army this weekend. The Wolverines had a difficult time on both sides of the ball and nearly suffered for it. If it weren’t for some poor decision making and an errant kick, Michigan might be a lot lower on this list. The team isn’t top 50 in total offense or defense and that will come back to bite them in a stacked Big 10 East. Harbaugh needs to use this bye week to sort his guys out before the gauntlet begins.
Wisconsin is currently top 10 in both total offense and total defense and lead the nation in points allowed (0). The offense is currently averaging 400 yards more than the defense is allowing. Jack Coan is throwing well and Jonathan Taylor is the best running back in the country. Now, Wisconsin hasn’t played top shelf competition all the way through, but giving up 0 points ion 2 games is really impressive. The defense is giving up less than 100 passing yards per game and less than 30 rushing yards per game. Yeah. Wisconsin hosts Michigan after a bye week.
- Penn State
The third Big 10 team in a row! Penn State has beaten Buffalo and Idaho so far and have looked good doing it. The Nittany Lions are 2nd in PPG and 15th in allowed PPG. Sean Clifford has been a solid dual threat quarterback and has yet to turn the ball over. The runners have been very efficient and are averaging just over 200 YPG. The defense is giving up less than 290 YPG and have excelled in stopping the run. John Reid has intercepted 2 passes, one for a touchdown, and has been the MVP on defense so far. Penn State hosts in-state rivals Pitt this weekend.
Texas played in one of the most exciting games of the year last week when they lost to LSU at home. Even though it was a loss and probably didn’t feel too good, it was a good indicator that Texas can compete. They’re probably a bit behind the pack of elite teams, but they’re really damn good. Sam Ehlinger is a legit passer, a strong runner, and has a ton of weapons at his disposal. The defense hasn’t been great, but that’s typical for the Big 12. If they want to become elite they’ll have to limit the yardage. The defense can turn over offenses, but they need stops too. Texas plays Rice this week.
The UCF Golden Knights have stayed in the state for all their games this year, but have had no issues blowing the competition out of the water. They have 3 quarterbacks that all have starting talent and are currently averaging 634 yards per game. 634. The defense is also incredible and is only giving up only 205 yards per game and 7 points per game. More turnovers would be nice but it’s ignorant to ask for more when UCF is playing like this. UCF has one of their bigger challenges this week with Stanford coming to town.
- Texas A&M
TAMU played Clemson last week and did extremely well all things considered. Holding that offense to 24 points is a super accomplishment and something that was actually unexpected considering how good the offense was supposed to be. And the offense isn’t bad, they’re just not up to where Jimbo Fisher wants them to be. Mond has been good and threw pretty well against Clemson, even scoring a touchdown. The run game was what failed. 27 attempts yielded 53 yards. While Clemson has a tremendous run stop, that just isn’t enough. Look for that to improve against Lamar.
Oregon had an amazing 3 quarters against Auburn and then completely lost control in the 4th. It was an embarrassing end to the game in which a true freshman drove down and demolished a team that was touted as one of the best in the country. The Ducks actually don’t have terrible stats, but that last quarter was a bit marring. They’re 15th in the country in offense and 38th in defense and Justin Herbert has been really good. The defense has already forced 6 turnovers and are keeping their opposition under 300 yards per game. There’s a lot to work with if they can keep it under control. Oregon play Montana this weekend.
- Boise State
Boise State haven’t been very amazing in terms of stats coming in at 84th on offense and 43rd on defense, but they’ve done what they needed to do. True freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier led an amazing comeback against FSU in Tallahassee and has a boatload of potential. They pass for a lot of yards and the run game isn’t too far behind. They have 2 100 yard rushers and 3 100 yard receivers already. The defense has forced 4 turnovers and have looked strong when it matters. That’s what counts. The Broncos play Portland State this weekend.
That Hawkeyes have been good to start the year with Nate Stanley running the offense. He’s been accurate and knows how to score the ball. The run game has been outstanding. They’ve been averaging 5.1 yards per game and have a bunch of trucks up front to block for him. The pass defense is good and have picked off 3 passes while limiting opposing quarterbacks to 113 yards per game. The run defense has also been outstanding and allow only 70 yards per game. The team has a ton of talent all over the field and should be looked at as one of the leading candidates to win the Big 10 West.
- Washington State
Washington State defines the Air Raid Offense. Mike Leach is the father of it and he runs it to perfection. Anthony Gordon and the Cougar offense is averaging 494 yards per game in the air while adding another 112 on the ground. They also have 9 passing touchdowns already to only a single pick. 9:1 is acceptable. The defense is also acceptable, not having to be great to keep the opposition under their offenses numbers. They have a ton of guys who fly around for tackles and create a ton of turnovers. This is one of the most fun teams to watch on the planet. They play Houston this weekend. Watch ‘em.
Maryland has been unreal on offense this year. The passing game is going for 301 YPG and is BEHIND their run game. The rushers are going for 335 YPG. Holy smokes. They have the best offense in the country and the 14th best defense. They score faster than anyone and do it more efficiently too. Syracuse was supposed to be an ACC challenger and got blown out at home. I don’t want to put Maryland in the upper echelon of the Big 10 just yet but they’re well on their way. The Terps look to demolish Temple this weekend.
- Michigan State
New year, same Michigan State. It seems like every year Michigan State lingers in the back end of the top 25 and don’t leave. They’re super disciplined and don’t really excel at too many things. I don’t want to offend anyone but they’re kind of boring. Ben Lewerke is decent, the rest of the offense is decent, the defense is nuts. The pass defense is okay but the rush stop is ridiculous. -3 yards per game right now. Holy smokes.They also are pretty good at turning offenses over. If the offense was better they could be a really, really good team. I’d love to see that but Dantonio is too bland for that. The Spartans play host to ASU this weekend.
The Huskies were a mess onSaturday night. They lost to Cal after a long delay because they lost power to their stadium. Jacob Eason and the offense were Dr. Jekel and Mr. Hyde from game 1 to game 2. If game 1 Washington can show up every week with 570 yards and 7 touchdowns they’ll be one of the best teams in football. The defense was also very different, allowing nearly 150 more rushing yards from week 1 to 2. The secondary is lockdown but the front 7 need to pull it together. Overall, they need more turnovers. 2 through 2 gomes won’t get you very far. The Huskies have Hawai’i coming to town on Saturday.
The Trojans had a great 2nd week as they beat their rivals, the Stanford Cardinal, 45-20. JT Daniels did tear his ACL which is a huge hit, but backup Kedon Slovis has been more than adequate. He can sling it around and is super accurate. The run game could be better but they need to be better running the ball. This team, including the defense, has a lot of tools, but you have to have a good run game to be successful in college football. They also need to get the fumbles down. The defense already has 2 players with 18 tackles and a ton of guys who can penetrate the line. This is a really solid group and could end up winning the Pac-12. The Trojans head to Utah to play BYU this weekend.
- Mississippi State
This pick is a bit up in the air and could have a bunch of different teams here, but I feel that Mississippi State is the best fit for the spot. Tommy Stevens has been a good passer and has even added a bit of surprise with a score on the ground. Kylin Hill has also been unreal and already has 320 yards and 2 scores. Osirus Mitchell and Stephen Guidry have also been key in the offense. The defense has playmakers and has turned the ball over 7 times, 4 of them being picks. They could get more sacks but that’s not a big deal if they’re turning the offense over with regularity. As long as the offense can take a small step up, Mississippi State can return to being a dominant football team. They host Kansas State this week.