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Seminoles stay at No. 1 despite Week 1 struggles

We’ve got a week of college football under our belt, and with that, here’s my first Top 25 of the season.

  1. Florida St. (1-0): Seminoles looked a bit shaky in Arlington, but the defending national champs have earned the benefit of the doubt…
  2. Alabama (1-0): … especially with my preseason national title pick having its own issues against West Virginia.
  3. Oregon (1-0): If the Ducks can handle a fierce Michigan State defense this weekend, that’ll go a long way towards putting OU in the College Football Playoff.
  4. Georgia (1-0): Did any team in the country look more dominant than the Bulldogs in their dismantling of Clemson?
  5. Michigan St. (1-0): Some people think the Spartans lost too much on defense to be ranked this high, but with three 11-win seasons in his last four years, I’m giving coach Mark Dantonio the benefit of the doubt for now.
  6. Auburn (1-0): The new-found passing game makes Auburn’s offense scarier than ever, but the first half against Arkansas begged plenty of questions on whether the Tigers can defend well enough to be one of the last four standing.
  7. Baylor (1-0): The Bears are known for their offense, but a 45-0 spanking of SMU reminds us that the Baylor’s defense is underrated.
  8. Oklahoma (1-0): The Sooners weren’t tested by Louisiana Tech last week, so for now, we’ll just go off that memory of their whipping of Alabama in January.
  9. Stanford (1-0): Another week, another great defensive performance for the Cardinal, though yes, it was just UC-Davis.
  10. LSU (1-0): A big comeback against a good Wisconsin team proved what we’d already thought, which was that coach Les Miles has re-loaded with plenty of talent again.
  11. UCLA (1-0): The fact that the Bruins scored just one offensive touchdown against Virginia is a bit troubling, but let’s not overreact just yet: quarterback Brett Hundley has proven time and time again that he can put up some points.
  12. Texas A&M (1-0): If A&M’s defense is as improved as it looked in Week 1, the Aggies could be dark horse title contenders in the unbelievably-tough SEC West.
  13. Ole Miss (1-0): The Rebels played without two starting linebackers, QB Bo Wallace was awful for a half… and Ole Miss still needed just one good quarter of football for a 22-point win over Boise St. in Atlanta.
  14. Kansas St. (1-0): The polls both have the Wildcats six spots lower, but when in doubt, don’t bet against coach Bill Snyder.
  15. Ohio St. (1-0): Navy kept things a little too close for comfort for Buckeye fans in that opener; the end of last year, combined with the loss of Braxton Miller, puts serious doubts in my mind of whether OSU can ascend into the elite this year but with Urban Meyer coaching, you can’t completely rule it out.
  16. USC (1-0): Can the Trojans re-gain the level of dominance they had a decade ago under new coach Steve Sarkesian? A 39-point win over Fresno State was a nice start.
  17. Louisville (1-0): Part II of the Bobby Petrino era got off to a great start with a 31-13 smacking of Miami.
  18. Wisconsin (0-1): The Badgers need to find a quarterback, and fast. Still, having Melvin Gordon limits the downside here.
  19. Arizona St. (1-0): With all the great Pac-12 quarterbacks, you don’t hear enough about ASU’s Taylor Kelly, who got a nice start towards a potential third-straight 3,000-yard passing season.
  20. Mississippi St. (1-0): The polls essentially ranked MSU 31st and 29th, but the way MSU closed 2013, combined with the returning talent, screams that they’re sleeping on the Bulldogs. A 49-0 win over Southern Miss was a good start, even if the Golden Eagles are lousy.
  21. Iowa (1-0): I rank teams on how good they as demonstrated in their overall body of work and how strong I think they are—that includes who you play and even how well you play in losses—rather than the over-emphasis on win-loss records. That makes Iowa an interesting team for me; I think the Hawkeyes are legitimately a Top 25 team whereas the pollsters don’t have them close right now, but when Iowa rolls into Wisconsin undefeated at 10-0 on November 22—which I think they will—I might well have Iowa ranked lower than both major polls at the time based on the fact they probably won’t have a win over a Top 25 team.
  22. Nebraska (1-0): I didn’t think the ‘Huskers were a Top 25 team coming into the season, but a fantastic offensive performance led by improved quarterback Tommy Armstrong has me believing a bit more.
  23. Notre Dame (1-0): Honestly, I’m not sure what to do with Notre Dame until I see what the Irish do if they get back all those suspended players. An opening-day blowout of Rice was encouraging, but I’m not sure what it means.
  24. South Carolina (1-0): The Gamecocks looked awful in their opener last Thursday, but remember, they’ve got one of the all-time coaching greats in Steve Spurrier around to figure out how to right things in Columbia.
  25. North Carolina (1-0): I’ve got some reservations about the Tar Heels after they trailed Liberty in the third quarter of their opener, but the UNC offense is powerful enough that I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for now.