College football offered fans a smorgasbord in Week 3. While this week reminded fans why they love the sport, it’s the kind of week that’s a headache for AP Top 25 voters as they try to fill out the new college football rankings, which will be released Sunday.

How much hype should Oregon get after a win against a top-ranked BYU team? Should Michigan State fall out of the rankings at No. 11 after beating Washington? Arkansas pulled off an upset over Missouri State, but will the Razorbacks look like a top-10 team when Bobby Petrino’s team returns to campus? After being taken to the wire by a South Florida team that has been one of the worst in the nation over the past two-plus seasons, should Florida be relegated? Perhaps most intriguing: Which undrafted teams should be in the top 25 and should an absolute Hail Mary be a bonus point when it comes to ranking the nation’s best teams?

Fortunately, there are some calls that are easy, and we feel confident predicting them here in our updated weekly college football rankings forecast. Penn State will be one of the notable movers following its win at Auburn, not only for the program’s biggest non-conference win since joining the Big Ten, but also for its winning form. Considering Saturday’s events, the Nittany Lions seem very close to Ohio State and Michigan, both still in the top four after major wins, then the rest of the Big Ten.

Oregon and Washington provided some positive headlines for the Pac-12, raising the league’s profile against opponents ranked among the top 12 teams in last week’s rankings. The Ducks will be somewhat limited by their one loss (albeit to No. 1 Georgia), while the Huskies’ ceiling is limited only by not being ranked on one ballot as a Top 25 team entering the weekend. .

Here’s how we think the new AP Top 25 will look when the new college football rankings come out on Sunday.

1. Georgia (Last week — 1)It took more than 11 quarters of action before Georgia finally allowed an opponent to reach the end zone, but it happened. Still, the Bulldogs showed no signs of being outclassed by the nation’s best team in their big win over South Carolina.

2. Alabama (2): An early offensive outburst was predictable, but the way the Crimson Tide poured in a 63-7 win over ULM suggests there’s plenty of momentum in the narrow win over Texas.

3. Ohio State (3)It was good to see both Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Julian Fleming healthy for this Ohio State offense, which was relentless and methodical through all four quarters in a 77-21 win over Toledo. It was also a great game to bring CJ Stroud into the Heisman Trophy spotlight with 367 yards and five touchdowns on 22-of-27 passing.

4. Michigan (4): An injury to Cade McNamara ends up being the biggest headline in the Wolverines’ 59-0 win over UConn as another lowly contender offers little opposition to the reigning Big Ten champions. Next up is the conference opener against Maryland, which should provide a good test for Michigan’s defense but won’t exactly be a popular pick given the way Jim Harbaugh’s team is performing on both sides of the ball.

5. Oklahoma (6): Oklahoma was less than 100 points behind Clemson last week, so we predicted a slight uptick following the Sooners’ impressive 49-14 victory over Nebraska. The Cornhuskers may be a wild card in terms of expectations following the firing of Scott Frost, but a well-rounded road win would be impressive against any Power Five opponent. Oklahoma got out in front early and rallied the rest of the way, allowing just one touchdown on Nebraska’s first possession and another in foul time.

6. Clemson (5): The Tigers have a good enough defense to win the ACC, but until the offense becomes a little more explosive and consistent, it will be hard to count Clemson among the best teams in the country. A 48-20 win over Louisiana Tech will bring those offensive issues into sharper focus, potentially costing the Tigers a spot in the rankings.

7. USC (7): Thumping Fresno State won’t do much for AP voters, but the performance raises an important question about this team’s ceiling in coach Lincoln Riley’s first year. As long as the offense — with 40-plus points in all three games — clicks at this level, is there a schedule that can outlast the Trojans?

8. Oklahoma State (8): No big changes for the Cowboys after a 63-7 win over FCS Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

9. Kentucky (9): A 31-0 shutout of Youngstown State puts the spotlight back on Kentucky’s defense, which was a key piece in last week’s win over Florida and has allowed fewer than 17 points in all three wins so far this season.

10. Arkansas (10): There may not be an obvious candidate to jump ahead of the Razorbacks in the rankings, but some voters are rooting for Arkansas needing a 21-point fourth quarter to escape Bobby Petrino’s upset bid against Missouri State. The 38-27 win is enough to avoid a total drop in the rankings, and for now, Arkansas’ attention turns to Texas A&M on the road in Week 4.

11. Tennessee (15): Unbeaten records and road wins in the standings give the Volunteers a profile that makes them a candidate for promotion due to some shake-ups. The 57-point win over Akron is window dressing when it comes to Tennessee’s boost heading into next week’s CBS Game of the Week against Florida.

12. Penn State (22)The final rankings will be a collection of several different spots in the 60-plus AP Top 25 polls, but our final thinking is that this is a 3-0 team with two straight wins against Power Five opponents. Throw in the lopsided nature of the big-time SEC and 41-12 win over Auburn on the CBS stage, and perhaps the Nittany Lions are one of the more significant in the standings.

13. Washington (NR)Michael Pennix and Washington seemed to be able to provide all the offense Huskies fans were looking for in just three games last season and find similar success against a top team like Michigan State. Kent State and Portland State suggest this is one of the better teams in the Pac-12.

14. Utah (14): Utah takes care of business with San Diego State, with a three-touch halftime lead and no doubt on its way to a comfortable victory. The loss to Florida remains a weight that drags down the Utes’ ceiling, but the production on the field is still strong enough to hold their place in the polls.

15. NC State (16): The Wolfpack defense improved to 3-0 with an impressive 27-14 home win over Texas Tech.

16. Oregon (25)Bo Nix and the Ducks quickly found their footing after a tough season-opening loss at Georgia. According to 247Sports’ Matt Prehm, Oregon’s first-team offense scored on 13 straight drives after being held untouched in the opener against the Bulldogs. That was seven straight scoring drives in a win against Eastern Washington and six consecutive scoring drives to start a 41-20 win over BYU.

17. Bu (12): The Cougars were shorthanded at wide receiver and defensive line, but that doesn’t excuse the ease with which Oregon was able to move the ball in a 21-point duck. BYU’s drop in rankings was limited thanks to the win over Baylor, and the Bears should be closer to where they were after a 35-point win over Texas State.

18. Texas A&M (24): The quarterback switch from Hines King to Max Johnson didn’t produce dramatic results on offense, but the Aggies’ defense held up a 17-9 win over Miami. The key to the game was how Texas A&M forced field goals when Miami had scoring opportunities, a habit that will be even more desirable in games against Arkansas and Mississippi State.

19. Bayer (17): The halftime score was more worrisome than the final, but a slow start after an overtime road loss at BYU isn’t enough of a red flag to make a big difference in the standings. The final score matches pregame expectations, and that’s all that matters to some voters.

20. Ole Miss (20): AP voters won’t make much of an adjustment following a 42-0 win over Georgia Tech, but the result should raise eyebrows in the SEC because the Rebels look like a dangerous team heading into conference play.

21. Texas (21): Texas led 17-7 with 9:38 left in the first half and outscored UTSA 34-3 to improve to 2-1 the rest of the game. West Virginia moved on before the schedule got too tough. Bijan Robinson had 183 yards rushing and a 78-yard touchdown run as part of three scores on the night.

22. Wake Forest (19): There was a lot of closeness for the ranked teams and not all are treated the same, but their 37-36 win over the Liberty over the slightly underdog Demon Deacons drew some reactions from voters.

23. Pittsburgh (23): Up until the third-string quarterback, Pitt was able to maintain its ranking with a 34-13 win over Western Michigan.

24. Miami (13): The Hurricanes failed to reach the end zone against Texas A&M, and Miami was never out of the game. The lack of success in the passing attack made it difficult for Miami to threaten an upset against Texas A&M. Depending on the opponent, setting and point spread, this wasn’t a bad loss, but voters will have a hard time arguing for a top-15 or top-20 placement in their picks, with Miami’s only wins coming at home to Cookman and Southern Miss.

25. Florida (18): While Florida’s close loss at the hands of USF will likely be downgraded, a win over Utah still carries enough weight early this season to keep the Gators in the top 25.

Projected to drop out: Michigan State (No. 11)



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