College Football Power Rankings: Clemson jumps Bama, Kentucky and Vanderbilt in

Three weeks into the season, Alabama isn't the best team in the country.

If that bothers you only a quarter of the way into the 2017 campaign, it shouldn't. For this week, Clemson is this much better ascending to No. 1 in the Power Rankings.

The Tigers' defense looks on a par, at least, with the top 10 unit of last year. Lamar Jackson probably lost the Heisman Trophy, and Louisville likely gave up a shot at the ACC and national championship due to Clemson's demolition.

Kelly Bryant is no Deshaun Watson, but he didn't have to be. Through three games, Clemson leads the ACC in rushing yards. The Tigers took control of the ACC they won last year and showed signs of not letting go.

Other things we sort of know for sure:

Vanderbilt made its season debut in the Power Rankings after the Commodores' first win over a ranked nonconference opponent (Kansas State) since 1946. Suddenly, Alabama's trip to Nashville marks one of the biggest games of next weekend.

For the moment, the Heisman race is being run in the state of Oklahoma. No. 6 Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph threw five touchdowns against Pittsburgh. Baker Mayfield of No. 3 Oklahoma followed up that stirring Ohio State performance with four scoring passes against Tulane.

At 2:12 a.m. ET on Sunday, San Diego State became the Group of Live leader in the clubhouse. That's when the Aztecs' upset of Stanford became final. They have accomplished more than any Group of Five program this season and it isn't even close.

A crusty 67-year-old coach (Rocky Long) has led one of the most anonymous programs in the country to the brink of greatness. Oh, what's that, SDSU has won consecutive Mountain West titles?

Told you they were anonymous.

Biggest Movers
14 Mississippi State
10 LSU
Rk
Teams
 
Chg
Rcrd
1 Clemson Kelly Bryant led an offense that accounted for more than 600 yards against Louisville. The defense is frightening. The Tigers have slogged through a Sugar Bowl team and Heisman winner from 2016. They look like the best team in the country. 3 10-1
2 Alabama Nick Saban got everything done he wanted out of an easy win over Colorado State. Jalen Hurts ran for 100 yards. Tua Tagovailoa got his designated snaps. Through three games, the defense has taken it away six times. Bama hasn't turned it over. Vandy next. 1 11-0
3 Oklahoma We'd like to tell you more about the Sooners, but their game against Tulane was on pay-per-view. That, apparently, is still a thing. We'll assume there was no letdown from Ohio State. 1 10-1
4 Penn State The Nits have allowed one touchdown in three games, tying for the national lead. We'll admit they haven't played much of anyone (Sorry, Pittsburgh.) It looks like Penn State will keep rolling until at least an Oct. 21 home game against Michigan. 1 9-2
5 Southern California Either Texas is better than we thought or the Trojans are not. How about both? Tom Herman's defense rose up to frustrate Sam Darnold, who is tied for the second-most interceptions in the country (six). 2 10-2
6 Oklahoma State Four receivers caught at least 100 yards worth of balls in a rout of Pittsburgh. The Cowboys produced 22 plays of at least 10 yards. After five touchdown passes, Mason Rudolph is tied for second nationally with 11 scoring passes. The Cowboys open the Big 12 season Saturday against TCU. The winner gets to call itself the No. 1 challenger to Oklahoma in the league. -- 8-3
7 Washington The Huskies would be ranked higher if they'd played anybody. Don't worry, CP, we know your guys are good. Fresno State was destroyed by Dante Pettis who caught three touchdown passes as well an NCAA-record tying eighth career punt return for a score. -- 9-2
8 Michigan A school-record five field goals by Quinn Nordin. Another dominating performance by the defense. The less said about the Air Force game the better. Service academies are always tough opponents. 1 8-3
9 Ohio State We really won't know how well the Buckeyes have bounced back from the Oklahoma loss until Oct. 28 against Penn State. There wasn't much to learn from a 31-point win over an outmanned Army. 1 9-2
10 Georgia Jake Fromm threw three scoring passes against Samford, but it's about to get real. Mississippi State comes to Athens for the SEC opener. 1 10-1
11 Wisconsin While Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State produce the headlines, but can we just pencil in the Badgers for another Big Ten West title. There doesn't seem to be anyone close to Wisconsin's talent in the division. 1 11-0
12 Mississippi State We have ourselves a second-best SEC team. Nick Fitzgerald and a ferocious defense planted seeds of doubt about Ed Orgeron at LSU. On the other side, start speculating about Dan Mullen's next employer. 14 8-3
13 Florida State The Miami game has been rescheduled. It will have been three weeks since the Noles have played when NC State comes to town this week. -- 4-6
14 Louisville Back to the dry erase board to find better ways to protect Lamar Jackson, stop the opposing team and be a national power. Cards have lost four of their last six. 6 7-4
15 TCU The Frogs are the best team in Texas. I'm not making this up. TCU became the first Texas FBS team to go to 3-0 with a win over SMU. The Big 12's first big showdown comes this week with the Frogs traveling to Stillwater. 9 9-2
16 San Diego State The Aztecs are the Group of Five leader in the clubhouse after an epic win over Stanford. They've clearly played a better schedule than South Florida. With the Chargers gone, SDSU owns the town. The program had waited 36 years for a win over a ranked Power Five opponent. 10 9-2
17 Kentucky "Quite honestly, we're tired of it," Mark Stoops said after a 10-point win at South Carolina. Tired of the lack of attention? Win more. This marks the Wildcats' first 3-0 start since 2010. 9 7-4
18 Virginia Tech New quarterback (Josh Jackson), second-year coach (Justin Fuente) and the Hokies are 3-0 for the first time since 2011. Jackson threw five touchdowns in a 47-point win over East Carolina. 7 8-3
19 Auburn The Tigers struggled against Mercer. That's never good with the SEC season opening this week. 5 9-2
20 South Florida It's really, really hard to find schedule strength for the Bulls going forward. A rout of Illinois was nice, but it was Illinois. Charlie Strong may have to blow everyone out to have a chance considering what San Diego State did Saturday night. 4 9-1
21 Washington State Luke Falk returned from an injury to throw six touchdown passes against Oregon State. Falk remains the active career leader with 98 touchdown passes. 1 9-2
22 Vanderbilt Something has changed at Vandy. The players have embraced Derek Mason's defensive mentality. After an epic nonconference win (see above), the stakes get even higher with Alabama coming to town. 4 4-7
23 Kansas State It seemed like Manhattan, Kansas, had been boarded up and abandoned. Even with all those fans in Nashville, the Wildcats couldn't generate enough offense in a 14-7 loss. That's the fewest points since a 55-0 loss to Oklahoma in 2015. 6 6-5
24 California In Justin Wilcox's first season the Bears have won at North Carolina and taken out Ole Miss. The Bears used to be called soft. Now they're doing it with defense. Shea Patterson, who came in as the nation's passing leader, was picked off three times. 2 5-6
25 LSU In the first big game of Ed Orgeron's career as the Tigers' full-time coach, they flopped. There were breakdowns all over the place -- nine penalties (only three schools have more than LSU's 30) and two players were ejected for targeting. Lots to clean up. 10 8-3
CBS Sports Senior Writer

Dennis Dodd has covered college football for CBS Sports since it was CBS SportsLine in 1998. He is one of only seven media members to attend all 16 BCS title games and has chronicled conference realignment... Full Bio

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