[su_spacer size=”20″] Those neutral site games highlighted Week One of the campaign, and the season got off to an outstanding start with South Carolina edging North Carolina. Things get turned up a notch this week. The marquee intersectional game will be in East Lansing pitting Michigan State and Oregon. Intra-conference play begins in the Southeastern Conference. There’s a big showdown in Starkville, as LSU tangles with Mississippi State. Just a note, we went to press prior to the completion of the Ohio State-Virginia Tech game.
1. Alabama – The Crimson Tide looked big, fast and strong in a 35-17 domination of Wisconsin in Dallas. Derrick Henry is one of the best running backs in the country and the centerpiece of the offense. Bama is also getting the outstanding tight end O.J. Howard more involved.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 2. Ohio State – it is a shot week for the Buckeyes, as improved Hawaii comes to town. The Buckeyes play a couple of good MAC programs with Northern Illinois and Western Michigan before opening Big Ten play at Indiana
[su_spacer size=”40″] 3. Texas A&M – The Aggies looked extremely impressive in their season-opening victory over Arizona State in Houston. Texas A&M has excellent speed on the perimeter, and the defense might be improved enough to give the Aggies a real crack at the rugged SEC West.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 4. LSU – The Fightin’ and McNeese got weathered out down in Baton Rouge. This is a new trend in college football. Next up is Mississippi State in Starkville. LSU has dominated the all-time series, but State was physically dominant, getting over the hump in Baton Rouge a year ago. If the Tigers are going to make a run at the SEC championship, this is one they have to have.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 5. Baylor – it was business as usual for Art Briles high octane Bear offense. Seth Russell had an outstanding debut at quarterback in a 56-21 rout of SMU. The talcum powder non-conference slate continues with Lamer and then Rice these next two weeks. Baylor will put up big numbers and gain a lot of confidence. That November schedule is brutal for the Bears.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 6. FSU – The Seminoles steamrolled Texas State 59-15. Everett Golston looked sharp for the Seminoles. Florida State has lost a great deal of talent to the NFL Draft the last two years, but still have as good a talent as anyone in the ACC. Golston is the key, as the ‘Noles seek a playoff return.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 7. Oregon – That Oregon offense didn’t miss a beat with a 61-42 victory over Division 1-AA over Eastern Washington. But obviously things are jacked up big time this coming weekend in East Lansing. Michigan State is hungry for that marquee national victory.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 8. Tech – The Yellow Jackets weren’t exactly playing a juggernaut in Alcorn State, but they were very impressive, rolling up 34 first quarter points en route to a 69-6 trouncing on the flats. Tech’s schedule is more difficult this season, but the Jackets have the firepower to compete with anyone.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 9. TCU – Not surprisingly, things didn’t go as smooth as possible for the Horned Frog s at Minnesota. TCU got out to a double digit lead, and then hung on to win 23-17. Gary Patterson has done a remarkable job at the helm in Fort Worth, but this year’s team has a big bulls-eye on its chest!
[su_spacer size=”40″] 10. Michigan State – Mark Dantonio could not have liked the scheduling of this past one – a Friday night in Kalamazoo against Western Michigan. The Spartans hung on to win 37-24 and now the attention turns to Oregon. Michigan State was winning a year ago, but the Ducks ran away in Eugene. The winner of this one is an early front-runner for one of the four spots.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 11. Auburn – The Tigers pulled out to a big lead and then hung on to down Louisville 31-24 in the Georgia dome. Auburn is in the mix in the SEC West and that opening victory over the Cardinals, just like Alabama’s and Texas A&M’s was a big stamp of approval for the toughest league in the land.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 12. Oklahoma – The Sooners picked up an easy win the Zips of Akron, despite a slow start. Up next is a mighty tough test with Tennessee in Knoxville. This is a big test for both teams. If Oklahoma wins, they should legitimately contend for that Big XII title.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 13. Southern Cal – The Trojans destroyed Arkansas State 55-6, scoring a pair of touchdowns in aII four quarters. USC has an explosive offense. The Trojans need to rack up some early victories. There are some tough road games, and the season enders with Oregon and UCLA.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 14. Notre Dame – The Fighting Irish got a big time win over Texas 38-3. A smashing. These are the second and third winningest teams in the history of college football; so, to pound Texas like that is something the Irish faithful soon won’t forget.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 15. Tennessee – The Vols have a lot of pieces on offense and the line of scrimmage is improved. This is a big, big test for Tennessee. Oklahoma comes to town for a major showdown. The Volunteers schedule is front-loaded as always. If they win this one, there’s no reason they can’t beat anyone else on the schedule.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 16. Georgia – Behind outstanding play from the Nick Chubb-led stable of skill personnel, the Bulldogs cruised past Louisiana-Monroe 51-14 to open the season. Vanderbilt has fallen and Georgia should have its way again. Then Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks come to town.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 17. UCLA – Freshman quarterback Josh Rosen had a tremendous debut with 351 yards and three touchdowns, as the Bruins topped Virginia 34-16 in Pasadena. Now comes a road trip to UNLV, as UCLA tries to avoid the upset and make it 2-0. Things get turned up a notch the next week with a visit from BYU.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 18. Missouri – The Tigers get an easy opening victory 34-3 over Southeast Missouri and now hit the road to Arkansas State. They got clubbed by Southern Cal. The Tigers should be an easy 3-0, as Connecticut waits on deck. A 6-0 start prior to the Athens visit is quite possible.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 19. BYU – It was shades of Jim McMahon in the Holiday Bowl against SMU. The Hail Mary beat Nebraska and got the Cougars season off to a thrilling start.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 20. Ole Miss – It was no problem, as expected, as the Rebels tattooed UT-Martin. Ole Miss will have to be on its toes for Fresno State. Ole Miss has a ton of talent. The big question for the Rebels once they head into the teeth of SEC play is if they establish a consistent running game?
[su_spacer size=”40″] 21. Clemson – The Tigers pulled away from Wofford and cruised to an impressive season opening victory over Wofford. Clemson has a lot of questions along the line of scrimmage, but Deshaun Watson is one of the best quarterbacks in the country.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 22. Arkansas – The Hogs got off to an impressive start with a 48-13 trouncing of UTEP, and they shouldn’t have any trouble with Toledo. The Razorbacks play only three SEC games at home this season, and getting to the top half of the SEC West is going to be a tough chore.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 23. Virginia Tech – A few years ago, the Hokies lost to Boise State on Labor Day Night, then fell at home to James Madison. They will be on upset alert when Furman comes to Lane Stadium after the big Buckeye showdown.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 24. Arizona State – The Sun Devils got outrun by Texas A&M in Houston. They are going to have to get well in a hurry these next two weeks. Then Southern Cal comes to town for one of the biggest showdown s in the PAC-12 West.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 25. Wisconsin – The Badgers got smacked around by Alabama. Up next are three games in Madison that should be easy wins over Miami-Ohio, Troy and Hawaii. Then comes the Big Ten opener with Iowa.
[su_spacer size=”40″] For more articles like this, including player and fan photos as well as videos, check out Bulldawg Illustrated’s latest issue online:
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