As I tried to tell you last week when we introduced The Fornelli 50 rankings for the first time, since they're based on data instead of opinion, the rankings can be rather volatile during the first few weeks of the season. Big swings are bound to happen from week to week.
Which is exactly what happened this week.
While much of the top 10 -- surprisingly -- stayed the same, after that things get interesting. We see 19 new teams in the rankings this week. That's nearly 40 percent of the poll, and keep in mind that this poll consists of roughly 40 percent of all the teams in the FBS.
So, like I said, volatile.
We also have a new No. 1 team in the Ohio State Buckeyes, as they climbed all the way up from No. 2 to topple last week's No.1 Alabama, but we'll get to them in a bit. Before then, a quick refresher on how these rankings work.
1. My opinion has absolutely nothing to do with the rankings. They are based on a mathematical formula of my creation. So keep this in mind before you call me an idiot, which I know you will.
2. There is true equality to start. The math doesn't play favorites. Before the season begins, defending national champion Alabama is just as good as our defending Bottom 25 champion UCF Knights. The only factor that matters in the rankings is how you've performed on the field in 2016.
3. Wins and losses mean more than anything. I have a lot of different statistics involved, and I factor in strength of schedule (though, remember, everybody begins the season with the same SOS), but at the end of the day whether you won or lost is going to mean more than anything else. Also, just because it's too difficult for me to rank FCS teams as well, my formula doesn't have much respect for FCS schools. If you beat one it won't mean much, and if you lose to one, well, you might show up in The Bottom 25.
4. Things are strange early in the season. Remember, these rankings are based on data, and early in the season, there isn't much of a sample size. So if you start the season 0-2, I don't care what you did last season, you aren't going to be ranked in The Fornelli 50 at this point. You might finish the season 10-2, but at the moment you're just a winless entity in the formula.
5. The formula is in no way predictive. It is based on nothing but what has occurred in the season to this point in time. Just because a team is currently ranked No. 15 does not mean it's better or that it's going to beat a team ranked No. 35. It just means that, to this point, it's been the 15th best team in the country. Think of it as a meritocracy in its purest form. The math plays no favorites.
6. I won't share the formula. I just don't want to. I'm not a mathematician. I know my formula isn't perfect. I don't think a perfect formula can exist, so I don't share it because I don't care what anybody thinks. So don't ask. Just know that, even if you don't agree with it right now, at the end of the season, it's been startlingly accurate.
1. Ohio State (Last week: 2): There were so many concerns about Ohio State coming into the season. The Buckeyes lost so much talent from last year's team, as the NFL Draft felt like some kind of class reunion, and people were worried about how Urban Meyer was going to replace all that talent. Well, two games into the season, I think people can stop worrying.
No offense to Michigan -- likeyou can say anything nice about either one of these schools without the other taking offense -- but Ohio State's the best team in the Big Ten. I understand that its only played Bowling Green and Tulsa, and we'll have a much better idea of how good this team is after facing Oklahoma this weekend, but what I've seen I really like -- particularly on defense, where I see a unit that's rivaled only by Alabama's in terms of talent and ability. It may sound insane, but even after losing so many starters off last year's defense to the NFL, I think this current unit might just be better.
11. South Florida (NR): I know that Houston gets a ton of attention, and deservedly so, but we all may be sleeping a bit on this South Florida squad. The Bulls went overcame a 1-3 start to the 2015 season to finish 8-4, and they nearly took out Temple for the AAC's East Division crown. This year they're off to a very solid start and crushed a Northern Illinois team that's been one of the best programs in the MAC for over a decade now.
The Bulls will show us just how good they are in their next two games, as they take a quick trip through the ACC to play both Syracuse and Florida State. I fully expect them to beat Syracuse, and I wouldn't be shocked if they give Florida State some headaches. So many are already penciling Houston in as the Group of Five's automatic New Year's Six berth -- if not an entry into the College Football Playoff itself -- but I see this South Florida team as being a real threat to the Cougars in the American.
12. Miami (42)
13. Wisconsin (33)
14. Air Force (NR)
15. Texas (30)
16. Stanford (15)
17. Toledo (11)
18. Indiana (12)
19. Oregon (NR)
20. Baylor (48)
21. Maryland (NR)
22. Army (25)
23. West Virginia (14)
24. Tennessee (37)
25. Clemson (23): Is it OK to say you're concerned about Clemson? Because I'm kinda feeling a little concerned about Clemson. The Tigers just haven't looked very good through the first two weeks, or at least not as good as you would expect. When they struggled against Auburn last week, you could rationalize it. Auburn's won a national title in recent years, and it played for a second. The game was in Auburn. It was the season opener. The idea of Clemson struggling in such a game isn't insane.
The problem for me is that when I see Clemson's offensive line struggling just as much against Troy as it did Auburn, well, I get that Philip J. Fry face going on.
I don't know, I'm just getting a 2015 Ohio State vibe off this team so far. They were great last season, have a ton of returning talent, and they're still good, but something just feels off.
32. Arkansas (40): I do not think Arkansas' win over TCU on Saturday night was the biggest win of Bret Bielema's tensure. Nor do I think it was his "signature" win or whatever you want to call it. It was a huge win, yes, but it wasn't a conference game, so I don't think it can be declared as the biggest. That title belongs to last season's win at Ole Miss or at LSU. I'll let you decide.
I still think it was somewhat significant for the Hogs. I have some doubts about TCU this season based on what we've seen in two weeks, but even so, when I see Arkansas in a situation where it could have easily succumbed to a collapse only to fight back and win in overtime on the road, I just get a good feeling about this team -- particularly when you look around the rest of the SEC West right now.
We know Alabama is great, but things are pretty wide open after that. There's an opportunity for Arkansas to have a really strong season, and it'll be interesting to see if it can capitalize on it.
39. San Diego State (NR): I already wrote about South Florida being a challenger to Houston in the American, but from elsewhere in the G5, we have this San Diego State squad in the Mountain West. It's in a similar position as South Florida, as Boise State is the team most focus on when it comes to the MWC, and hey, through two games Boise looks pretty good.
But this is a San Diego State team that's now won 12 straight games and has a running back in Donnel Pumphrey who just broke Marshall Faulk's school record for career rushing yards during the Aztecs' 45-40 win over Cal on Saturday night. Any time you're breaking a record set by Faulk, that means you're probably pretty good.
I'd go so far as to say Pumphrey is very good, and this San Diego State team might be, too. (Particularly if it can find some defense.)
46. Notre Dame (NR): I just want to give Brian Kelly credit for coming to his senses and doing what everybody thought he should do all along: name DeShone Kizer his starting quarterback. I get it. With Malik Zaire graduating at the end of the fall semester, Kelly maybe wanted to drag the decision out to delay any possible transfer and ensure Zaire was on the roster for the rest of the season. It's great insurance should Zaire get hurt, but Kizer is clearly the best quarterback on this roster. In fact, he might be the best quarterback in the country.
When it comes to next year's NFL Draft, I wouldn't be surprised if Kizer's the first quarterback off the board. He's polished, he has a big arm, and he can move around a bit when he needs to. And I definitely believe Zaire is playing somewhere else next year, as he's talented enough to start at a number of Power Five schools right now.
No longer ranked: Western Kentucky, Tulsa, Penn State, Cal, SMU, UTEP, Ball State, South Carolina, South Alabama, BYU, Western Michigan, Southern Miss, Georgia Tech, Wyoming, Middle Tennessee, Illinois, UNLV, Kansas, Eastern Michigan