No. 23 Washington (-9)
There were a lot of red flags going into this season, and the win over a lesser Eastern Washington team may have been fool’s gold. The fact still remains that the Huskies were going to need to replace a lot on both sides of the ball, and it’s gonna take some time for those pieces to get up to the high-level play we’re used to seeing in the purple and gold. The sky isn’t falling on Montlake, and a couple nonconference wins can get this team back on track heading into a difficult October.
No. 4 LSU (+2)
I’m not sure if LSU’s win at Texas caught the eye of the top teams in the nation, but it should have. Joe Burrow may have squeaked his way into the Heisman conversation with his nine touchdowns on the season so far. It looks like it could be a two-horse race for the SEC West, and the Tigers will get their chance Nov. 9 in Tuscaloosa to dethrone the rolling Crimson Tide.
No. 21 Maryland (Previously not ranked)
Maryland must not have heard all the hype around Syracuse, or at least it didn’t care. The Terrapins beat the breaks off the Orange and threw up 63 points, with 42 coming in the first half, on what was supposed to be a good defense. Granted its first game was against Howard, but Maryland has already put up 142 points this season, which ranks first in the FBS. Let’s see how this high-flying offense fares against some of the elite defenses of the Big 10 later in the season.
No. 24 USC (Previously not ranked)
Everyone thought the Trojans were dead in the water after starting QB JT Daniels went down in Week 1. People were already thinking about next year and perhaps a new head coach. Enter Kedon Slovis. The freshman’s first career start came against a ranked Stanford team, and once he got his feet under him, he was electric. He exploded for 377 yards on an 85% completion percentage. Beware of USC in this wide-open Pac-12 race.
No. 10 Michigan (-3)
Barely beating Army would have been a much worse look in years past, but West Point actually has a pretty good team this year, which has been receiving votes in the AP Top 25 Poll. But still, the former No. 7 team shouldn’t have taken until double overtime to take out the Black Knights, especially at home. I guess a win is still a win, and Jim Harbaugh has his sights set on Michigan’s first trip to the College Football Playoff and an undefeated season will get this team there.
No. 12 Texas (-3)
Had Texas won its game to LSU, we would have had our annual “Is Texas back?” conversation. Well, I guess that’ll have to wait. The Longhorns remain a top program in the nation, with a stud quarterback, but they still need to get over the hump and prove they can run with the big dogs in the nation. It still looks like Texas will be on a crash course with Oklahoma for the Big 12 title game and there’s a good chance the winner of that will go onto the CFP.
No. 16 Texas A&M (-4)
I feel like the Aggies were a little overrated going into this season. Jimbo Fisher has proven to be an elite coach but it’s still only his second year in College Station, and it’s gonna take some time to be a consistent top-10 program. Props to Texas A&M for scheduling Clemson out of conference, but its road doesn’t get any easier; it still has to go to Auburn and Alabama in the next four weeks, then host Georgia and LSU to close out the season.
Reach reporter Josh Eddy at email@example.com. Twitter: @JoshTreEddy
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