College Football Week 1 is in the books. Alabama proved its mettle by beating then 3-ranked Florida State. Penn State came up huge. Clemson doesn’t look to have missed a beat although the greatest player in their history, DeShaun Watson, is now in the NFL. Keep reading for my College Football Top 20 Rankings for Week 2!
2017 College Football Top 20 Rankings Week 2
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
The Tide beat Florida State 24 to 7. It was a brilliant performance by Alabama’s defense, which, again, appears to have a solid front 7 although Bama lost DT Jonathan Allen and LB Rueben Foster to the NFL. Alabama got some bad news as they’ll be without 2 outside linebackers, Christian Miller and Terrell Lewis, for the season. That might affect Alabama down the road. For now, it’s hard to find a better team in college football.
2. Penn State Nittany Lions
Still not sure why Ohio State is ranked above Penn State. I watched the second best team in the nation beat Akron 52 to 0 this past Saturday. Saquon Barkley was incredible. He racked up an amazing 172 rushing yards on only 14 carries. Barkley also scored 2 TDs. The kid should be the top RB drafted in April.
Penn State’s defense truly impressed. That’s why I like the Nittany Lions to win the Big Ten. If the D can play like that way every week, Michigan and Ohio State should be in trouble.
3. Clemson Tigers
The story at Clemson was QB Kelly Bryant. Bryant threw for 236 yards. He threw a TD pass. He also rushed 7 times for 77 yards. He rushed for a TD. Bryant must prove that he can be as consistent as DeShaun Watson was. He won’t be better than Watson. He just must be as consistent.
Week 1 was a good start. Clemson beat Kent 56 to 3.
4. Washington Huskies
I put more stock in Washington’s road win over Rutgers, a Big Ten squad, than I do into USC’s win over Western Michigan. That’s why Washington gets a top 4 spot on my rankings while USC is out of the Top 10.
The Huskies didn’t cover the -28 spread versus Rutgers. They still put a nice 31 to 14 beating on the Scarlet Knights. Washington’s defense might need a game or two to truly gel. Once the D gels, though, forget it. The Huskies project to be the best, or second best, team in the Pac 12.
5. Oklahoma Sooners
Coach Lincoln Riley had the Sooners in midseason form on Saturday. Oklahoma absolutely trounced UTEP 56 to 7. The Sooners managed to cover a -43 spread. It was impressive. QB Baker Mayfield signaled that he’s the man to beat for this year’s Heisman Trophy. The real key is the road game this week versus Ohio State. Can Oklahoma pull off the upset? We shall see.
6. Ohio State Buckeyes
I’m giving Oklahoma the benefit of the doubt just because in the first half of their 49 to 21 win over Indiana last Thursday, the Buckeyes didn’t look like a Top 10 team. Ohio State isn’t going to get a chance to turn it on in the second half versus every opponent they face.
The acid test is this Saturday versus an experienced Oklahoma team. If the Buckeyes cover a -7 spread against Oklahoma in Week 2, they are the second best team in the nation.
7. Stanford Cardinal
Stanford beat Rice 62 to 7 as a -29.5 road favorite in Week 1. Cardinal QB Keller Chryst threw for 258 yards. He also threw 2 TD passes. Chryst wasn’t the real story of the game, though. Stanford’s defense allowed a ridiculously low 95 passing yards. So far, most college football handicappers, 71%, believe Stanford is a great play at L.A. Memorial Coliseum as a +7 dog to Pac 12 rival USC.
Right now, I’m part of the 71%.
8. Oklahoma State Cowboys
The 59 to 24 win over Tulsa was fantastic. Oklahoma State was only favored by 19.5 points. Sure, the Cowboys’ D allowed Tulsa to score 24 points. No worries. Tulsa has one of the fastest offenses in the nation. We’re talking Chip Kelly Oregon fast.
I think both Oklahoma schools deserve a Top 10 ranking going into Week 2.
9. LSU Tigers
Many believed BYU would hang with LSU in Week 1. Not so. The Tigers from the bayou dominated the Cougars 27 to 0 as a -14.5 favorite. LSU’s defense was ultra-impressive as it held BYU to 97 total yards. What else was impressive? LSU QB Danny Etling completed 14 of 17 passes for 171 total yards.
LSU is, again, the biggest danger to Alabama in the SEC West Division. The Tigers looked like a completely different team from the ones that Les Miles coached.
10. Michigan Wolverines
Michigan came on in the second half of their 33 to 17 win over Florida. I thought the Wolverines played exceptionally well. But, I must see consistency from this young Michigan team before putting them any higher than 10. Michigan’s next game is versus Cincinnati where they’re a -34.5 home favorite. If the Wolverines cover that insane spread, I’ll move them up a ranking or 2 for sure.
11. USC Trojans
As a -28 home favorite, USC was expected to demolish the Western Michigan Broncos in Week 1. Not only did USC not demolish the Broncos, but they failed to cover the spread by 10 points in their 49 to 31 win. I believe USC settles down and become one of the better teams in the Pac 12.
I’m not sure if they’re better than either Washington or Stanford, though. As I suspected, the Trojans’ offensive line appears less than stellar. How else to explain QB Sam Darnold throwing 2 picks without throwing a TD pass?
12. Miami Hurricanes
Miami only beat Bethune-Cookman 41 to 13. The Canes were favored by 50 points. It wasn’t a stunning performance by any means. But, I believe Miami gets better. QB Malik Rosier was great when throwing for 217 yards. Rosier threw 3 TD passes. He also rushed 4 times for 41 yards.
13. Auburn Tigers
Although Auburn only pushed a -34 spread versus Georgia Southern, I was still impressed with the Tigers performance. The defense played much better than it has in the past couple of seasons. That’s why Auburn beat Georgia Southern 41 to 7. If there’s one thing to worry about, it’s Tigers starting QB Jarrett Stidham. The former Baylor gunslinger only completed 58% of his passes. He threw 2 picks. He also threw for only 185 yards.
Auburn did rush for 351 yards. Being Georgia Tech isn’t going to win you the SEC this season.
14. Wisconsin Badgers
I thought Utah State might have a shot to cover the spread vesus Wisconsin. Not so. As a -27 dog, the Aggies were supposed to only lose by what? 30 points? Instead, the Badgers whipped Utah State 59 to 10. Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook threw for 244 yards. He tossed 3 TD passes. He completed over 65% of his passes. That’s great because Hornibrook was a liability for Wisconsin last season.
15. Virginia Tech Hokies
Virginia Tech beat a solid West Virginia team 31 to 24 as a -5 home favorite in Week 1. The Hokies’ defense allowed West Virginia to score more points than I thought it would. Then again, the Mountaineers offense is led by a good quarterback in Will Grier. It was a nice performance by VA Tech.
16. Washington State Cougars
If there’s 1 team in the Pac 12 that could beat USC, Washington, and Stanford for the championship, it’s the Washington State Cougars. QB Luke Falk, a likely Round 1 NFL Draft Pick, was 33 of 39 for 311 yards with 3 TD passes in Week 1. Washington State beat Montana 31 to 0. The margin of victory could have been much higher. If Washington State has a defense, which the team might have, the rest of the Pac had better watch out.
17. Louisville Cardinals
Louisville’s offense looked great in Week 1. Last year’s Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson threw for 378 yards. He tossed 2 TD passes. He also rushed for 107 yards. Jackson led the Cardinals to 35 points. But, the L’Ville D played well below expectations. The Cardinals were favored by 25.5 points over Purdue. They could only beat the Boilermakers by 7 in a 35 to 28 game.
18. Georgia Bulldogs
Sure, I picked Appalachian State over the Georgia Bulldogs. Yes, Georgia covered the spread against App State in a 31 to 10 win as a -12.5 home favorite. But, Georgia is in trouble. Starting QB Jacob Eason is out indefinitely with an ankle injury. Also, RB Nick Chubb only rushed for 96 yards versus the App State defense.
Up next is Notre Dame. I don’t see the Bulldogs beating the Irish in a road tilt this Saturday.
19. Kansas State Wildcats
Kansas State has an outside shot to win the Big 12 this season. The Wildcats were fantastic in a 55 to 19 win over some team called CARK. QB Jessee Ertz threw 4 TD passes. He also threw for 333 yards.
20. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame beat a solid Temple squad 49 to 16 in Week 1. Temple’s D had no answer for a Notre Dame rushing offense that averaged 9.6 yards per carry. The Irish must prove that they belong in the Top 20. A battle versus Georgia ensues in Week 2. If Notre Dame beats Georgia straight up as a +4.5 home dog, ND’s going to march up my rankings.