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It was a wacky week in college football, one moment Oregon had a wide open receiver for a massive road win at Michigan State, the next they gave up the ball on downs. For 53 minutes Tennessee dominated Oklahoma and then the Vols collapsed down the stretch, leading to a huge Sooner road victory.
Every week at Outkick we try to rank the teams in college football based entirely on the on field results, not on the preseason expectations. At this point there are lots of undefeated teams, but the wins I value the most are FBS road or neutral wins against big five conference opponents. That’s why, for instance, Ole Miss, Georgia Tech, Clemson and USC, who have been four of the top teams this season, aren’t yet ranked.
So here we go.
1. Texas A&M
After two weeks the Aggies have been the best football team in the country. With a win coming next week against Nevada and Arkansas looking pedestrian this weekend in a loss to Toledo, it really appears there’s a good chance the Aggies are 5-0 when Alabama rolls into College Station.
2. Michigan State
The Spartans got the best out-of-conference win of the season so far against Oregon. With games at Michigan, at Nebraska, and at Ohio State, the Big Ten odds are still stacked against Sparty, but I’ll be damned if Mark Dantonio’s team isn’t rolling right now.
Ho hum, the Crimson Tide won another game, the 70th in a row that they’ve been favored to win. This was a blase effort from Alabama. What will give when Ole Miss’s explosive offense rolls into Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama’s big time defense? I think this will be the best game of next week.
Congrats to the Sooners on disemboweling Tennessee and its fans. Just a brutal loss and collapse by the Vols. But that’s a big time win in a road game for Oklahoma, which won’t face a more hostile environment all season.
5. Ohio State
The Buckeyes were mediocre against Hawaii, but that was to be expected coming off a five day turnaround on the road at Virginia Tech. Now comes the two month wait for the Michigan State game.
The Bruins weren’t great against UNLV, but the performance against Virginia looks a bit better given how well the Cavaliers played against Notre Dame. It’s early in the season, but I think UCLA and USC are the two best teams in the Pac 12.
For the second time in as many weeks the “Hail Joseph Smith” has been answered. With a road win over Nebraska and a home win over Boise State, UCLA better look out, third time’s the charm.
The Bulldogs are here because they won a road game at Vandy and Nick Chubb is a top ten team by himself.
(Confession: I had LSU ranked here until they almost gave the game away at Mississippi State.)
9. Notre Dame
I know Malik Zaire is injured and out for the season. And I also know that Virginia had this game won. Further, I happen to think Georgia Tech, who hasn’t yet been challenged in its first two games, wins on the road in South Bend this coming weekend. But for now Notre Dame has two big five conference wins over Texas and Virginia, something that no other school in the country can boast.
So the Fighting Irish are here.
Sure, I could be overvaluing TCU’s win over Minnesota in week one, but the Horned Frogs have the rarest of rare wins so far in college football this season, a road win over a big five conference team.
FYI, if your team isn’t ranked, it’s because I hate them.