Ranking of each college football team after Week 1, from No. 1 Georgia to No. 131 Charlotte

The first few weeks of college football rankings are always the hardest.

I don’t want to stick too closely to the pre-season rankings, which are just guesses. As more information comes in each week, the rankings generally become easier to sort, at least in levels.

These rankings are meant to highlight what a team has accomplished. So if a team gets a big win in week 1, it will “rise” massively. Spoiler alert: That’s Florida this week. But that’s again a relative term, as the preseason rankings were a guess. A team can also look better than expected in the event of a loss and still “move on”. Spoiler alert: That’s Notre Dame and UTSA this week.

But there are also so many teams that haven’t played a good opponent yet. So if you find your team in the rankings in the first few weeks, don’t worry if it goes down despite a great win against an inferior opponent. It probably just means someone else looked good against quality competition. After everyone has had a few matches against quality competition, it becomes easier to distinguish teams. It doesn’t mean the top five teams had the top five wins, but we want to reward the results that seem meaningful.

Florida currently earns a top-10 ranking. The Gators came up against and defeated a top-10 Utah team that many of us had picked to make it to the College Football Playoff. Do I think the Gators will compete for the SEC East title? I don’t know. But based on what Florida accomplished in this very small sample size, that’s worth something. The Gators shouldn’t be ranked in the teens or 20s after that gig.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are some new faces at the bottom of the list. Some teams that struggled for years lost to FCS teams, and there is no benefit of the doubt anymore.

Read more: Where every college football team ranked before the season started

Here’s this week’s edition the athletic 131.

It took a full week of competition before we had a new number 1. Alabama’s 55-0 win against the defending Mountain West Utah State champion couldn’t have gone much better, but after Georgia put in a 49-3 smackdown on Oregon, the Dawgs move into the top spot. Quarterback Stetson Bennett may have taken another big step in his game, and Georgia still has all kinds of speed and size on the outside.

The other notable move here is Notre Dame bumping up after a 21-10 loss at Ohio State. The Irish covered the 17.5-point spread and led 10-7 at halftime. Thanks to Ohio State’s defensive coordinator, Jim Knowles’ second-half adjustments as the Buckeyes closed off the Irish charge, but the Notre Dame defense held Ohio State in check. For an opening voyage to Columbus, it was a solid achievement to build on. Utah and Notre Dame are examples of teams that failed to make it out of the Playoff race despite losing in Week 1.

Clemson eventually withdrew from Georgia Tech and the defense looks strong again, but the offense still lacks playmakers. Texas A&M drops one spot after a 31-0 win against FCS Sam Houston. It was a dominant statistic in the lightning-fast play, but it was only 10-0 with one minute left in the first half and Haynes King threw two interceptions.

11-25

Rank Team file Previous

11

0-1

5

12

1-0

11

13

1-0

14

14

1-0

15

15

1-0

22

16

1-0

16

17

1-0

17

18

1-0

18

19

1-0

20

20

1-0

23

21

1-0

21

22

1-0

24

23

1-0

13

24

0-1

12

25

0-1

19

The only noticeable changes are at the bottom of this group. Houston’s 37-35 triple-overtime win against UTSA was both surprisingly close and remarkably impressive, as the defending C-USA Roadrunners champion played well at home. Oregon remains in the top 25 just because Georgia looks like a national championship team again. NC State is also holding out after escaping East Carolina on the road 21-20 thanks to a missed extra point and a missed field goal. Cincinnati went to Arkansas and lost 31-24, a commendable performance that could have turned out differently without some major mistakes.

Oklahoma State’s 58-44 win against Central Michigan also left some questions. At halftime it was 44-15. Just a rough night for the backups, or a sign of a bigger problem?

Penn State’s 35-31 win over Purdue brings the Nittany Lions close to the top 25, even if it was ugly for most of the night. Mississippi State’s 49-23 victory against Memphis was quietly one of the most impressive performances of the weekend. North Carolina rises from its league table for the season with two wins under its belt, but the defense appears to be in serious trouble. Appalachian State scored a ridiculous 40 points in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 63-61 loss to the Tar Heels.

Oregon State led Boise State 24-0 at halftime and never looked back. Could the Beavers be a surprise contender in the Pac-12? UTSA is up despite the loss as the Roadrunners looked good and Houston led 21-7 in the fourth quarter. Both Florida State and LSU didn’t look particularly impressive on Sunday-evening, but at least that was an exciting game. Washington’s 45-20 win against Kent State was a lot better than last year’s opening loss against Montana. Have the Huskies resolved the offense with new head coach Kalen DeBoer and quarterback Michael Penix Jr.? On the other hand, Iowa’s ugly 7-3 win against FCS South Dakota State without scoring a touchdown leads to many questions. The Hawkeyes slump despite the league win.

Arizona’s 38-20 win at San Diego State was arguably the most surprising result of the weekend. After an influx of transfers and a top-25 recruiting class, Jedd Fisch may have something in year 2. Old Dominion jumps into the top 65 after a 20-17 win against Virginia Tech. Illinois is 1-1 with a Week 0 win against Wyoming and a controversial loss to Indiana.

East Carolina is another example of a team that has actually moved up the rankings despite a loss after it nearly upset NC State. Rutgers’ 22-21 win over Boston College and Syracuse’s 31-7 win against Louisville also helped these teams reach the top 75, as did Northwestern’s Week 0 win against Nebraska in Ireland.

For the first time in a long time, the UConn/UMass/New Mexico State collection is not at the bottom of this ranking. Congratulations to UConn, who is far from the basement after a competitive loss at Utah State, even though the Huskies were close to Central Connecticut for a while in Week 1 before pulling out.

Navy lost 14-7 to FCS Delaware with three fumbles and three failed fourth try. Hawaii was blown up at home by Vanderbilt and Western Kentucky. And FCS William & Mary walked away from Charlotte with a 41-24 win (after a 43-13 49ers loss to FAU in Week 0). These programs seem to be in a bad place on the field right now, all for different reasons, and past success can’t keep them out of the basement.

(Top photo of Stetson Bennett and Kendall Milton: Brett Davis/USA Today)

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