Ranking of every college football team after week 3: Washington is on the rise again

What a difference a year in Seattle makes.

A year ago at this time, Washington was 1-2 with losses to FCS Montana and Michigan, in which the Huskies scored 17 points together. On Saturday, the Huskies scored 39 points in a dominant win against a Michigan State team that was ranked number 11 in the AP poll. And the game was nowhere near as close as the 39-28 final score. Washington had a total of 503 yards and averaged 9.9 yards per pass. With the win to go to 3-0, the Huskies have moved into the top 25 in this week’s edition the athletic 131.

Washington’s fall off a cliff under former head coach Jimmy Lake en route to a 4-8 record last season was stunning because it happened so quickly. This was a program that won 32 games under Chris Petersen from 2016 to 2018. Recruitment went relatively well and it is one of the best equipped programs in the West. But the transgression had become anemic.

Enter Kalen DeBoer and Michael Penix Jr. DeBoer has actually won everywhere. He is 82-9 as head coach, including a 67-3 stretch at NAIA Sioux Falls from 2005 to 2009. He helped turn Indiana and Fresno State over as offensive coordinator, then went back to Fresno State and produced a 9-3 record in his second season as head coach.

Penix was electric as Indiana’s quarterback when he was healthy, but he had several injuries. He’s reunited with DeBoer in Seattle and soccer in Washington is fun again. Over three games, he completes 66 percent of his passes for 359.7 yards per game with 10 touchdowns and one interception.

Everyone has written off the Pac-12 after week 1, but maybe we should reevaluate that. Washington is the biggest reason why.

Here is the latest edition of the athletic 131.

The only change in this group is USC’s move to No. 8 after a 45-17 win against Fresno State. The Trojans look like the best scenario under Lincoln Riley right now. The violation is electric. The defense has shown holes (81st in yards per game), but it is fourth in the nation with 10 takeaways. This week’s trip to Oregon State is going to be an interesting test.

Michigan is a dominant 3-0, but has played three of the worst teams in the country. A home game against Maryland this week will be the first time we can begin to evaluate the Wolverines.

The polls have come round to place Georgia at number 1 and the Week 1 win against Oregon is now looking even better after the Ducks’ dominant win against BYU.

11-25

Rank Team file Previous

11

3-0

13

12

3-0

25

13

2-1

21

14

3-0

20

15

2-1

15

16

2-1

16

17

2-1

18

18

2-1

11

19

2-1

19

20

3-0

49

21

3-0

22

22

2-1

26

23

2-1

24

24

3-0

27

25

3-0

29

Penn State’s 41-12 win over Auburn has quickly changed the view of what’s possible for this team. Auburn may not be a good team, but the Nittany Lions were able to run for 245 yards against a good front. Oregon’s aforementioned 41-20 win over BYU makes the Pac-12 look much better than USC, Washington and Utah, who defeated San Diego State 35-7.

Texas, Wake Forest and Ole Miss also make it into the top 25. The Longhorns avoided a hangover in Alabama and withdrew from UTSA in the second half, Wake Forest held off Liberty and Ole Miss defeated Georgia Tech 42-0.

The polls have Utah for Florida and Baylor for BYU, and the poll for coaches has the state of Michigan for Washington. Why? I have no idea. In this ranking, when two teams are close together, the outright winner gets the advantage, especially three weeks into the season.

I saw a lot of comments about the Minnesota rankings last week. It is barely in the rankings as it has played against two of the worst teams in the country and an FCS team. It’s the same reasoning with Michigan and with Ole Miss. It is neither negative nor positive. Sometimes you get jumped when someone else has a more impressive win. Minnesota was No. 39 in my preseason rankings and is still there. Beat Michigan State, and it will most likely be in the top 25.

North Carolina’s win over Appalachian State continues to look better, and the Mountaineers’ Hail Mary’s win over Troy coupled with Texas A&M’s win over Miami was also a boost. Maryland’s 34-27 win against SMU was a solid performance.

Kansas and Syracuse! KU is in the top 35 after a 3-0 start with wins on the road against West Virginia and Houston. Syracuse is 3-0 with wins against Louisville and Purdue. It’s not hard to see a 5-0 Orange start in the NC State game. Tulane makes the biggest jump this week, from No. 110 to the top 50 after beating Kansas State to go to 3-0. Cal’s brief breakaway from Notre Dame coupled with Marshall’s loss to Bowling Green drops both teams. Arizona’s 31-28 win against North Dakota State was impressive as an underdog, and the Wildcats are officially a pretty good team.

Several teams ended up in this group with losses – Purdue, Texas Tech, Houston, UTSA and Auburn – but otherwise there is not much movement. Indiana narrowly escaped Western Kentucky and Rutgers narrowly escaped Temple, but both are 3-0. Wyoming’s 17-14 win against Air Force took the Cowboys to 3-1, with the loss to Illinois.

Vanderbilt’s comeback win in Northern Illinois to go to 3-1 is a real sign of progress for the program. Rice’s 33-21 win against Louisiana was one of the most surprising results of the weekend. Eastern Michigan won in the state of Arizona, becoming the first MAC school to win a regular season game against the Pac-12. Northwestern has followed up its win in Ireland against Nebraska with losses to Duke and FCS Southern Illinois at home.

South Alabama let a win over UCLA slip with a field goal as time went on, and Troy let App State win on a Hail Mary. Heavy losses. San Diego State is now 1-2 with two blowout losses for Pac-12 teams. Very soon this will not look like the Aztecs of yesteryear.

(Top photo of Michael Penix and Kalen DeBoer: Joe Nicholson / USA Today)

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