These rankings are all about rating teams against their conference brethren, but we are also ranking the conferences based on quality wins and bad losses against cross-conference competition.
Check out the TL;DR chart below and use the navigation bar to get full details on why we ranked teams how we did.
At the top of the SEC, the powers-that-be handled their business.
Things got more interesting in Week 2, however, farther down the food chain. A couple new coaches made good impressions: Joe Moorhead landed his first big win at Mississippi State, and Jimbo Fisher’s Texas A&M squad showed promise against a national power. The week wasn’t without upsets, though (see: Kentucky-Florida, Colorado State-Arkansas), and those results provided some intrigue in the league.
There’s a long way to go, but a lot we’ve learned about these squads through just two weeks of play.
2. Georgia Bulldogs (2-0)
So much for a trap game. In a tough road environment, quarterback Jake Fromm was efficient, D’Andre Swift and the running game showed out and the defense looked like one of the best in the country yet again.
3. Auburn Tigers (2-0)
Ho-hum. The Tigers rushed for more than 400 yards as they dominated Alabama State at home in what was essentially a tuneup for next week’s showdown against LSU.
4. LSU Tigers (2-0)
The Tigers took care of business against in-state FCS foe Southeastern Louisiana, essentially putting the game away at halftime. Now a showdown with Auburn awaits.
6. Texas A&M Aggies (1-1)
Even in a loss to No. 2 Clemson, the Aggies acquitted themselves well, playing the Tigers to the final minute.
7. Kentucky Wildcats (2-0)
The 31-Game losing streak against Florida is over, and the Wildcats look like a team that could play spoiler in the SEC — if not more.
9. South Carolina Gamecocks (1-1)
The hope for Will Muschamp has to be that the lopsided loss at home to Georgia is a wakeup call for a program that’s ahead of schedule but still hasn’t arrived.
10. Florida Gators (1-1)
Maybe Feleipe Franks isn’t in for the rebound season we thought a week ago. He made far too many wrong decisions with the ball and the Gators offense was back to being its old underperforming self.
12. Vanderbilt Commodores (2-0)
It wasn’t perfect but still a decisive win for the Commodores over Nevada; a critical victory with big games upcoming at Notre Dame, vs. South Carolina and at Georgia in three of the next four weeks.
13. Tennessee Volunteers (1-1)
The Vols notched the first win of the Jeremy Pruitt era, and even though it came against East Tennessee State, it was needed after a rough Week 1 start.
14. Arkansas Razorbacks (1-1)
This was always going to be a struggle for first-year coach Chad Morris and losing to Colorado State shouldn’t have been surprising. But being outscored 17-0 in the fourth quarter and losing by a touchdown is a tough pill to swallow.
2. Big Ten
Week 1 is for overreactions. Week 2 is for making amends. Big Ten heavyweights Penn State and Michigan brought some balance back to the discussions about their outlooks for this season with convincing wins on Saturday.
Atop the league, Ohio State and Wisconsin cruised behind stars Dwayne Haskins Jr. and Jonathan Taylor, the league’s preeminent Heisman candidates, in advance of the only real tests of the nonconference season for the Big Ten’s division favorites. The Buckeyes visit TCU in Week 3 with College GameDay on hand, and Wisconsin brings BYU to Camp Randall.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Arizona State’s takedown of Michigan State on a 28-yard field goal by Brandon Ruiz as time expired, a week after Notre Dame dispatched Michigan, places the Big Ten on somewhat shaky ice. The league as a whole can’t afford a loss this week by Ohio State — or it may have to start thinking early about the likelihood that only an undefeated champion could find its way to the College Football Playoff.
1. Ohio State Buckeyes (2-0)
The 900th win in program history and second this season without coach Urban Meyer was merely a tuneup for the Buckeyes’ visit to battle TCU.
2. Wisconsin Badgers (2-0)
Taylor ran for 253 yards and three touchdowns on 33 attempts. Note to future foes of the Badgers: Don’t let that happen or you’ll lose.
3. Penn State Nittany Lions (2-0)
How’s that for a response? The Lions routed Pitt 51-6, exacting revenge for a loss to two years ago at Heinz Field and answering critics after the shaky Week 1 win.
4. Michigan Wolverines (1-1)
The Big House debut for Shea Patterson went much more smoothly than his first game with the Wolverines as the transfer QB threw for three TDs in a rout of Western Michigan.
5. Iowa Hawkeyes (2-0)
No matter how ugly, a fourth straight win in the CyHawk series looks beautiful to Iowa, which held rival Iowa State to 188 yards in a 13-3 victory.
6. Michigan State Spartans (1-1)
Arizona State turned away a 10th consecutive Big Ten visitor to Tempe, placing a big dent in the Spartans’ resume by rallying from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit.
8. Minnesota Golden Gophers (2-0)
Dramatics in Minneapolis from Antoine Winfield Jr., who made a game-saving interception against Fresno State, as true freshman QB Zack Annexstad continued to impress.
11. Nebraska Cornhuskers (0-1)
Repeated mistakes cost the Huskers in the debut for coach Scott Frost, who may lost talented freshman Adrian Martinez, the only available QB on scholarship, to a knee injury in the fourth quarter.
12. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (1-1)
A Week 3 trip to Kansas, with the Jayhawks fresh off a landmark victory, will tell us much more about the Scarlet Knights than the customary blowout defeat at Ohio State.
13. Illinois Fighting Illini (2-0)
Quarterback A.J. Bush left in the first quarter with a leg injury, giving way to freshman M.J. Rivers, who sparked the Illini to victory over undermanned Western Illinois.
14. Purdue Boilermakers (0-2)
Season-opening loss to Northwestern? OK. Followed up with a loss to Eastern Michigan? Not OK. The Boilers have now dug themselves a hole as Mizzou heads to town.
3. Big 12
After two weeks, at least one thing is clear: Oklahoma is still the top dog in the Big 12. The Sooners have looked smooth through their first two weeks.
Things are a little more jumbled in the middle, however, as Texas won but still makes folks wonder; Iowa State couldn’t cross the goal line this week and Kansas State took it on the chin at home.
Some things have changed though: Baylor has a winning streak and Kansas won a game, too.
3. TCU Horned Frogs (2-0)
A rain-soaked, delayed game made things against SMU interesting for longer than the Horned Frogs preferred, but they eventually took care of business ahead of a huge Week 3 clash with Ohio State.
6. Texas Longhorns (1-1)
The Longhorns nearly squandered a three-touchdown lead but held on to beat Tulsa. Things still seem a little uneasy and a much better opponent, USC, is coming to town.
7. Kansas State Wildcats (1-1)
The offense was stagnant and the defense allowed nearly 400 rushing yards in a three-touchdown home loss to Mississippi State. Not good.
9. Baylor Bears (2-0)
The Bears are 2-0 after a win over UTSA, already exceeding last year’s win total. The nonconference finale against Duke will be key.
10. Kansas Jayhawks (1-1)
The Jayhawks won a road game! A nine-year road winning drought ends at Central Michigan.
Team of the week? We’ll let Arizona State and Colorado share the honor. Both teams pulled out gutsy wins against marquee programs — ASU against No. 15 Michigan State and Colorado at Nebraska — to build off impressive Week 1 showings. They’re the latest examples that show why preseason hype doesn’t mean much: In the Pac-12 preseason media poll, Colorado was picked to finish fifth and ASU sixth in the South. Through two weeks, they have clearly been the division’s two most impressive teams.
1. Stanford Cardinal (2-0)
Through two weeks, the Cardinal have allowed just 13 points.
2. Washington Huskies (1-1)
The program is at a level where it’s OK to be unsatisfied with a 45-3 win.
3. Oregon Ducks (2-0)
They’re averaging 60 points per game and that number could rise next week with San Jose State coming to town.
4. Arizona State Sun Devils (2-0)
AD Ray Anderson told doubters at Herm Edwards’ introductory press conference that if they were welcome to jump on board the ASU/Herm train “for any reason, at any time.” Seats are filling up fast.
6. USC Trojans (1-1)
There is no excuse for a team with so much talent to be held without a touchdown.
7. California Golden Bears (2-0)
Justin Wilcox is quietly building an impressive program in Berkeley.
8. Washington State Cougars (2-0)
A promising start, but it’ll be hard to properly gauge the Cougars until they travel to USC on Sept. 21.
9. Utah Utes (2-0)
It’s hard to be optimistic about the Utes’ chances against Washington after an abysmal offensive showing at against a MAC opponent.
10. UCLA Bruins (0-2)
So far this year, no Power 5 program has been outscored by more points (37) than the Bruins.
11. Oregon State Beavers (1-1)
The Beavers have already equaled their win total from last year (1), but still haven’t beaten an FBS opponent in over 650 days.
12. Arizona Wildcats (0-2)
Considering the optimism coming into the year, the Wildcats are off to the most disappointing start in college football.
Clemson won a big one at Texas A&M. That’s the good news for the ACC. Everything else? Eh, not great. There were some dominant wins over lackluster competition, but there were also some horrid performances, too. More and more, this looks like the Tigers and everyone else.
1. Clemson Tigers (2-0)
It was hardly Clemson’s best performance, and it’s clear there’s room for improvement for the pass defense. But to win on the road with a raucous Texas A&M crowd roaring is still a big step. There’s a good case to be made this was the biggest test the Tigers will face this season.
2. Virginia Tech Hokies (2-0)
There’s probably not much to take from a dominant win over William & Mary, but it’s encouraging to see how well the Hokies’ ground game performed. Rushing for 300 yards and seven touchdowns is noteworthy, regardless of the opponent.
3. Boston College Eagles (2-0)
AJ Dillon had 149 yards and three touchdowns. Oh, and did we mention he did that on six carries and was on the bench by the end of the first quarter? Yeah, BC’s offense is clicking.
4. Miami Hurricanes (1-1)
There’s no reason to think Miami has figured out its offensive woes, but 77 points against Savannah State does buy a week of good feelings, which was needed after the debacle against LSU.
5. Duke Blue Devils (2-0)
Even with star DB Mark Gilbert out and QB Daniel Jones going down with an injury in the second half, Duke still skated to an easy road win, snapping Northwestern’s nine-game winning streak.
6. NC State Wolfpack (2-0)
The real test comes next week against West Virginia, but NC State looked sharper against Georgia State than it did in its opener. Ryan Finley is off to a great start, but the Wolfpack need to figure out their running game if they’re going to contend in the ACC Atlantic.
7. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (2-0)
Two games and two wins, but still some real concerns for Dave Clawson. Wake has struggled with costly turnovers, and the defense surrendered 345 yards and three touchdowns to Towson QB Tom Flacco.
8. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-1)
It’s hard to surrender two kickoff return TDs and win, and we’ll assume Tech can solve its coverage problems long term. The offense continues to look solid, but the defense is clearly still a work in progress.
9. Pittsburgh Panthers (1-1)
Right up until the punt was blocked before the half, Pitt seemed like it had a real chance against Penn State. Then the dam burst. The biggest concern — beyond the brutal 51-6 final — was the team’s struggles in the passing game. Kenny Pickett had just 55 yards through the air, just a week after Appalachian State threw for nearly 300 vs. Penn State.
10. Syracuse Orange (2-0)
They’ve yet to play a quality opponent, but 2-0 is still 2-0 and with Florida State reeling, the Orange see a real chance to get halfway to bowl eligibility next week. Oh, and Eric Dungey is putting up numbers that could land him in the Heisman conversation.
11. Louisville Cardinals (1-1)
The weather was bad. Jawon Pass was bad. The score through three quarters was bad. But Louisville did seem to get things figured out eventually against Indiana State, and the big question this week will be who Bobby Petrino tabs as his starting QB after Malik Cunningham completed 6-of-7 throws with a TD and ran for 54 yards and another score.
12. Virginia Cavaliers (1-1)
The Hoos made it a game at Indiana, but still came up just short. Bryce Perkins ran well, but he mustered just 4.2 yards per pass and the rest of the offense offered little support.
13. Florida State Seminoles (1-1)
Worse than the loss to Virginia Tech when FSU mustered just a field goal, worse than struggling to get past FCS Samford, worse than anything that’s happening in Tallahassee right now is the turnover backpack. Come on, FSU. You’re not any good, but you’re still better than this.
14. North Carolina Tar Heels (0-2)
The Heels tip off against Wofford in the season opener on Nov. 6. Get your tickets now.