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Alabama stayed atop Bleacher Report’s Top 25 thanks to a marquee victory over Florida State, but the poll underwent a considerable shakeup due to some uneven performances from other highly ranked teams.
Beyond the losers in clashes between ranked programs, only one preseason Top 25 squad fell in Week 1. One other team dipped out of the poll, though it was due to a surge from a previously unranked school.
Bleacher Report’s panel of experts—Matt Hayes, David Kenyon, Adam Kramer, Kerry Miller, Brad Shepard and Greg Wallace—each voted on the action. A first-place vote was worth 25 points, followed by 24 points for second, 23 for third, etc.
Note: The rankings may be updated over the weekend, depending on the results of the games remaining on the slate.
- 1. Alabama (Last week: 1)
- 2. Ohio State (2)
- 3. Clemson (5)
- 4. Florida State (4)
- 5. Penn State (7)
- 6. Oklahoma (6)
- 7. USC (3)
- 8. Oklahoma State (9)
- 9. Michigan (14)
- T-10. Stanford (12)
- T-10. Washington (8)
- 12. Auburn (10)
- 13. Wisconsin (11)
- 14. LSU (13)
- 15. Georgia (15)
- 16. Miami (17)
- 17. Louisville (16)
- 18. West Virginia (18)
- 19. Kansas State (20)
- 20. Virginia Tech (22)
- 21. Washington State (23)
- 22. South Florida (19)
- 23. Notre Dame (NR)
- 24. Colorado (NR)
- 25. Florida (21)
Who’s Hot: Michigan Wolverines
It only took two passes for Michigan’s outlook to morph from “under control” to “what the heck is going on out there?”
Wilton Speight threw pick-sixes on consecutive drives, giving Florida a 17-10 advantage. He was then pulled in favor of backup John O’Korn. The Gators, who were missing 10 players due to suspension, had successfully stunned the favored Wolverines. Florida even blocked a punt on the following possession.
But the Michigan defense never relented.
Michigan's defense gave up a field goal on the first drive of the game. It didn't allow another point for the rest of the game.
From that moment through the game-sealing fumble recovery in the end zone, the Wolverines surrendered a meager 81 yards over the next 32 snaps, per B/R research. They also stopped the Gators on 11 of 13 third-down attempts overall.
Michigan lost 11 starters to the NFL draft—eight of whom were defenders—but it’s clear the Wolverines defense remains an elite unit.
Who’s Not: Pac-12 Favorites
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Washington wasn’t supposed to have trouble with Rutgers. USC shouldn’t have struggled against Western Michigan.
But hey, it’s college football.
The defending Pac-12 champions traveled across the country and failed to score an offensive touchdown in the first half. Washington pulled ahead thanks to a pair of touchdown passes from Jake Browning, but it wasn’t a great day for the scoring attack. The Huskies averaged just 3.5 yards per carry and finished 3-of-11 on third down.
On the opposite coast, USC rarely held a lead on Western Michigan, which was playing its first game of the post-P.J. Fleck era. The Trojans needed a 21-point flurry in the final eight minutes of the fourth quarter to break a 28-28 tie and ultimately win 49-31.
Washington dropped from eighth to tied for 10th in Bleacher Report’s poll, while USC dipped from third to seventh.
Up in the Air: Florida State
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Trailing 24-7 late in the fourth quarter, Florida State needed a miracle to beat Alabama. The opposite ended up happening.
Star quarterback Deondre Francois rolled right to evade pressure but landed awkwardly after Ronnie Harrison caught him. Francois needed to be helped off the field and avoided putting weight on his injured left leg. The ESPN broadcast showed the redshirt sophomore in a leg cast being carted off the field.
FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher didn’t have a full update after the game. “Unfortunately, he’s hurt,” he said, according to Tim Linafelt of Seminoles.com. Fisher added he’ll likely turn to freshman James Blackman if Francois misses time.
Blackman may be a fine option, but he’s not a like-for-like replacement. That’s not a criticism of Blackman; rather, it’s a testament to Francois’ ability and toughness under center.
If the medical check returns a disappointing answer, the Seminoles will have a serious problem on offense. Francois rarely panics despite a shaky blocking unit. The same cannot be expected from a true freshman in a schedule that includes Miami, Louisville and Clemson.
Florida State’s season hinges on Francois’ health.
Keep an Eye on: Week 2 Prime-Time Showdowns
When the sun goes down next Saturday, marquee programs will come out to play.
7 p.m. ET: Auburn will travel to Clemson for a rematch of their 2016 season opener, though both offenses will feature new quarterbacks. Jarrett Stidham led the SEC’s Tigers to a 41-7 win over Georgia Southern in his team debut, while Kelly Bryant led the ACC’s Tigers during a 56-3 blowout of Kent State.
7:30 p.m. ET: Oklahoma will meet Ohio State, also finishing off the latter half of a home-and-home series. The Buckeyes rolled to a 45-24 victory on the road last season, and that triumph eventually helped Urban Meyer‘s club leap Penn State to reach the College Football Playoff.
7:30 p.m. ET: Georgia could be turning to a first-time starter when it faces Notre Dame in South Bend. Jacob Eason exited the Dawgs’ 31-10 triumph over Appalachian State due to a knee injury, handing the reins to Jake Fromm. Brandon Wimbush will lead the Irish, who jumped into B/R’s poll following a 49-16 win over Temple.
8 p.m. ET: Rounding out the appealing slate is a critical Pac-12 clash between Stanford and USC. Sam Darnold and the Trojans survived a fight from Western Michigan in the opener, and the Cardinal will be rested thanks to a bye week following their beatdown of Rice.
All recruiting information via Scout. Stats from NCAA.com, cfbstats.com or B/R research. Quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.