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September 28, 2021

Josh Furlong’s AP Top 25: It’s Alabama and then the rest, but UCLA makes big jump

Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams (1) runs away from Miami safety Kamren Kinchens (24) for a touchdown after a catch in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday in Atlanta. (John Bazemore, Associated Press)

SALT LAKE CITY — What a crazy weekend of college football.

While there was a lot of upheaval in the sport (and just a lot of fun), there was one consistent: Alabama being a dominant team. Year in and year out, the Crimson Tide know how to rebuild and stay competitive, despite losing several starters to the NFL draft after winning the NCAA Championship.

Alabama dominated a Miami team that had a lot of promise coming into the season. Maybe Miami was overhyped or Alabama is just that good — only time will tell. At this point in the season — yes, it’s just Week 1 — it’s Alabama and then the rest. There were enough flaws in Week 1 from the other teams to leave doubt about their ability to contend for the playoff.

With that being said, let’s get into some of the rationale for my Week 2 rankings:

  • Washington’s big problem: There were six FCS programs that beat FBS teams — the Big Sky owns three of those — but the biggest upset was Montana over Washington. The Huskies couldn’t move the ball and got their only score of the game in the opening minutes of the game. Jimmy Lake has a big problem on his hands and dropping from the rankings is the least of his worries. Fortunately (unfortunately for the conference) for the Huskies, the Pac-12 North Division went 1-5 in the opening week, so they’re in prime company.
  • Pac-12 South strength: Although the North Division did nothing to help the reputation for the conference, UCLA took a major step forward in bringing it some life. The Bruins claimed a big win over a ranked LSU team and, so far, look like the type of team Chip Kelly is known for in the college ranks. The results are still early, but UCLA has two wins on the season, and they look good, too. The rest of the South (absent Arizona) did just what they needed to do to stay in contention.
  • North Carolina stumbles: The Tar Heels were supposed to be the team in the ACC to challenge perennial favorite Clemson for a conference championship. But there was nothing about their performance Friday to make anyone believe that’s possible. Mack Brown gets a ton of credit in his recruiting and making the program relevant, but it took a big step backward. Virginia Tech could be turning it around, so for now I’ll give them the opportunity to be ranked.
  • Iowa is a contender: The Hawkeyes made a statement Saturday in their win over conference foe Indiana and appear to be a strong favorite in the West of the Big Ten. Indiana (or is it Indinia) appears to be overrated, despite last season’s success. The real test for Iowa comes this week as it takes on in-state rival Iowa State. The Cyclones hold a higher ranking in my poll — by one spot — but they need to do better than their Week 1 showing to combat the Hawkeyes.

Checking in: Arizona State, UCLA and Virginia Tech

Dropping out: Indiana, Louisiana and Washington

In consideration: Auburn, Coastal Carolina, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, NC State, TCU and UCF

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