College Football Power Rankings: Auburn, LSU, Notre Dame benefit from wins on big stages
Dennis Dodd's college football rankings see a couple SEC teams get some well-deserved love
Welcome to the Death of Parity.
There were precious few upsets during Week 1 of the 2018 college football season. Even worse, there precious few close games. The top five in the first edition of my College Football Power Rankings were favored by a combined 133 points entering the weekend.
Alabama, Clemson, Auburn, Oklahoma and Ohio State won their games by a combined 178. The SEC went 13-1 in the opening week, winning its games by an average of 33 points. The Big Ten went 10-1 in its full slate of nonconference affairs.
The point? The College Football Playoff race didn't exactly take shape in Week 1 ... but at least we had some football.
Let's take a look at the where the Power Rankings stand just one week into the season. And here's how I had theat the conclusion of spring practice back in May.
|1||Alabama||So Nick Saban flipped out after a reporter asked a perfectly legitimate question. So what? Beyond Tua Tagovailoa seemingly locking down the job, the story within the story against Louisville was Jalen Hurts. He played, meaning Bama's backup (for now, I guess) can appear in only three more games this year without losing a year of eligibility. That is if he decides to transfer after the season.||--||4-0|
|2||Clemson||Speaking of great quarterback situations, the Tigers head to Texas A&M playing both Kelly Bryant and freshman Trevor Lawrence. Both made their cases against Furman.||--||4-0|
|3||Auburn||In arguably the biggest game of Week 1, these Tigers made a defensive statement against Washington. The Huskies got into the red zone six times and scored only one touchdown. We see you, Tigers. You're a factor.||--||3-1|
|4||Oklahoma||Baker, who? Kyler Murray debuted a starter as a sleaker, faster, better running Baker Mayfield. The Sooners coasted against FAU, prompting Lane Kiffin to ask a USA Today reporter, "Got any ideas?" That was down 42-0 at halftime of an eventual 63-14 loss.||--||4-0|
|5||Ohio State||From a player point of view, the Buckeyes are ready to play (77-31 over Oregon State). From a coaching standpoint ... it's about time a Buckeyes' receivers coach had a good day. Zach Smith's replacement (Brian Hartline) watched 10 players catch 25 passes for 346 yards.||--||4-0|
|6||Georgia||This is exactly what you want from a national title contender. For the second time in 12 games, the Dawgs' defense posted a shutout. Freshman quarterback Justin Fields made his debut completing 7-of-8 passes for 63 yards.||--||4-0|
|7||Wisconsin||Jonathan Taylor for Heisman? You bet! In the Badgers' opener against Western Kentucky, the sophomore ran for 145 yards and two touchdowns. Amazingly, those were first touchdowns in three games.||--||3-1|
|8||Notre Dame||I don't know if the Irish are a national contender, but they have top-10 talent -- particularly on defense -- where they harassed Shea Patterson and Michigan all night. Brandon Wimbush may have been the difference running 19 times and forcing the Wolverines to account for him on almost every play.||--||4-0|
|9||West Virginia||Until further notice, Will Grier is the nation's best quarterback. How about 429 yards and five touchdowns against Tennessee? The defense was surprisingly stout holding the Vols to less than 300 yards.||--||3-0|
|10||Stanford||The Cardinal are flexible. San Diego State decided to gang up on Bryce Love. No problem. K.J. Costello threw three touchdown passes to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. J.J. for Heisman?||--||4-0|
|11||LSU||Well, that answered a lot of questions. Ed Orgeron can coach (7-1 in the regular season since the Troy loss). Joe Burrow can play (for now, 11 of 24 for 140 yards). The defense? We really didn't have that many questions. Two picks, including one for a touchdown, helped run Miami out of the Jerry Dome.||--||4-0|
|12||Virginia Tech||At one point, Bud Foster's defense was averaging a tackle for loss on a quarter of Florida State's offensive snaps. In game that hearkened back to the Beamer Ball era, Foster's unit dominated sending a message to the Coastal Division and the ACC.||--||2-1|
|13||Michigan State||The takeaway from a squeaker against Utah State: Matt Wells is one hell of a coach. We'll see if the Spartans are one hell of a team.||--||2-1|
|14||UCF||It's like Scott Frost never left. Josh Heupel debuted as a head coach with a beat down of UConn. The nation's longest winning streak continues (14 games).||--||3-0|
|15||TCU||Gary Patterson played 80 players in a rout of Southern. Shawn Robinson (three passing touchdowns) was effective in his first start. Might as well start looking forward to Ohio State in 10 days.||--||2-2|
|16||Washington||Statistics that might haunt the Huskies all the way to the playoff: In six trips inside the Auburn 40, Washington averaged only 1.6 points per possession (10 total points). In 25 snaps inside the Auburn 40, Washington averaged only 2.4 yards per play.||--||3-1|
|17||USC||Both the Coliseum and J.T. Daniels are works in progress. The stadium renovation continues. The debut of the true freshman was a success -- 22 of 35 for 282 yards and a touchdown.||--||2-2|
|18||Boise State||What in the wide, wide world of sports is a Turnover Throne? Boise's unique take on Miami's Turnover Chain. Troy cooperated with four throne-worthy moments (OK, turnovers).||--||2-1|
|19||Penn State||Yup, Penn State was moments away from it being Appy Valley. On the anniversary of Appalachian State's upset of Michigan, the Nits survived. Whether this is a trend or a hiccup will be determined in the future.||--||4-0|
|20||Mississippi State||No Nick Fitzgerald, no problem. Keytaon Thompson threw for five touchdowns against Stephen F. Austin. Joe Moorhead's Dixie debut was a success. Interesting trip to Kansas State up next.||--||3-1|
|21||Miami (FL)||That certainly was disappointing if you thought the Canes were ready to challenge in the ACC and nationally. Malik Rosier won't face many stronger defenses than that from LSU. Among his two interceptions was a pick six. Only seven quarterbacks in the country had a lower completion percentage in the opening weekend (minimum 50 snaps). Lots of work to do.||--||3-1|
|22||Texas A&M||Kellen Mond gives the Aggies a better chance to win (rather than Nick Starkel). Mond's legs and increased accuracy will give Clemson fits. Believe me, Jimbo Fisher hid a lot in an easy win over Northwestern State.||--||2-2|
|23||Oregon||First of all, Bowling Green is horrible. Second, Justin Herbert might have been the most efficient quarterback in the country on Saturday. Ten completions, five touchdowns. Only two other quarterbacks in the country Saturday threw for more scores.||--||3-1|
|24||Michigan||The Wolverines' lack of play-making ability was one of the main takeaways in a disappointing loss to Notre Dame. Also, Shea Patterson just needs to start pitching it downfield more.||--||3-1|
|25||South Carolina||Jake Bentley threw four touchdowns against Coastal Carolina. Now, here comes a reality check against Georgia. Will Muschamp is 1-5 against the Bulldogs.||--||2-1|
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