The 2021 college football season is underway! As we move into Week 2, let’s take a look at our updated FBS top 25 college football rankings. Has there been any movement over the past seven days?
Top 25 college football rankings Week 2 | 1-5
Which teams make up the top five of our FBS top 25 college football rankings heading into Week 2?
1) Alabama Crimson Tide (–)
We don’t have to spend too much time on this one. Alabama is the best team in the league, and it’s entirely possible that we end up not needing to re-evaluate this until the Crimson Tide plays Georgia in the SEC Championship.
2) Georgia Bulldogs (+4)
The Bulldogs put up a stifling performance against Clemson in a 10-3 Week 1 win. There’s some intrigue on offense with JT Daniels, but the Georgia defense might legitimately be the best unit in the nation. With NFL-worthy talents like Jordan Davis, Travon Walker, Adam Anderson, Nolan Smith, Nakobe Dean, Channing Tindall, Derion Kendrick, Lewis Cine, Tykee Smith… yeah. You get the picture.
3) Oklahoma Sooners (–)
The Sooners were let off with a warning in Week 1 after scraping by a stingy Tulane team. But if that underwhelming play against inferior competition continues, a move down may be in order. Spencer Rattler has plenty of time to right the ship, though, and a Week 2 matchup against Western Carolina will give him a chance to do that.
4) Ohio State Buckeyes (–)
The top two spots are probably locked up for now, but Ohio State could move onto the podium in our FBS top 25 college football rankings if they can beat the Oregon Ducks in Week 2. The Ducks’ flaws were on full display against Fresno State, but Oregon sports a talented defense. If Ohio State’s offense can prove superior, it’ll only legitimize Ohio State’s standing.
5) Texas A&M Aggies (–)
The Aggies linger in the top five of our FBS top 25 college football rankings, but there are several challengers lining up behind them — among them Clemson, USC, and Cincinnati. As long as Texas A&M takes care of business, however, they can hold down their spot. They have the talent to do so, and a matchup with Colorado in Week 2 isn’t particularly intimidating. Karl Dorrell is a good coach, but the Aggies have far superior talent.
Top 25 college football rankings Week 2 | 6-15
Who is sniffing a spot in the top five?
6) Clemson Tigers (-4)
The Tigers swapped spots with Georgia in our FBS top 25 college football rankings. An apropos development after the Tigers lost 10-3 in Week 1 action. It wasn’t so much the loss that caused Clemson’s slide, rather than the startling lack of cohesion on offense. The line was brutalized by Georgia’s defensive front — DJ Uiagalelei was visibly uncomfortable. He’ll be able to recalibrate against SC State in Week 2, but that alone won’t move Clemson back up.
7) USC Trojans (+3)
USC handily beat a solid San Jose State team in Week 1, and what’s more — their top talent came to play. Kedon Slovis looked like a man rejuvenated. Drake London was electric on offense. Drake Jackson generated turnovers. The Trojans quietly looked stronger than most in their debut, and if they can keep it going against Stanford, they’ll only keep bolstering their stock.
8) Cincinnati Bearcats (+1)
Cincinnati more or less stays put in our Week 2 FBS top 25 college football rankings. The one-spot improvement is more procedural than earned, but Cincinnati held up their end in Week 1. They easily bested Miami (Ohio) by a score of 49-14, and Desmond Ridder looked improved from last season. They’ll play Indiana, Notre Dame, and UCF down the stretch, so there will be opportunities to rise — if they can take advantage of them.
9) Iowa State Cyclones (-1)
Northern Iowa is a tier above your average FCS team, but it’s still troubling that Iowa State was only able to come away with a six-point win — especially considering all the talent that the Cyclones boast. Iowa State stays in the top 10 for now, but Matt Campbell’s squad will have to prove itself against fellow AP Top 10-ranked Iowa in Week 2.
10) Texas Longhorns (+8)
Look, I know we’ve heard about Texas being back dozens of times by now, but the Longhorns look formidable early on under Steve Sarkisian. The offense — led by playmakers Hudson Card, Bijan Robinson, and Jordan Whittington — is explosive, and the defense has great talent as well, led by DeMarvion Overshown. Against a sneaky Arkansas team, Texas can further strengthen its résumé.
11) Oregon Ducks (-4)
Kayvon Thibodeaux is the heart and soul of the 2021 Oregon Ducks. That’s not a bad thing or different from what we expected. But the difference between a Ducks team that had Thibodeaux and a Ducks team that lacked Thibodeaux was frighteningly stark in Week 1. Oregon came away with the win — barely — but they might not have the offensive talent to do it against Ohio State.
12) Arizona State Sun Devils (+1)
Like Cincinnati, Arizona State’s move up the board is more procedural than anything else. The Sun Devils benefitted from several teams in this range slipping down the board, but nonetheless proved their mettle against Southern Utah. Expect Arizona State to stay in this range for the next couple weeks. Their first true test is UCLA on October 2.
13) Boston College Eagles (+10)
This is a big jump for a team that predictably blew out a non-FBS opponent. But for Boston College, the cosmetic element is just as important. The passing offense is electric with Phil Jurkovec and Zay Flowers, and the offensive line might be a top-three unit in the league. Even if the defense is only decent, the Eagles can make some noise in 2021.
14) Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (+3)
This ranking was given to Coastal Carolina before their game against Kansas on Friday night. Thus, I’m writing this with the safe assumption that the Chanticleers emerge triumphant against a Jayhawks team that barely beat South Dakota. After Kansas, it’s on to Buffalo, UMass, and then Sun Belt play, so a loss might not be on the horizon for a while.
15) Notre Dame Fighting Irish (+4)
Notre Dame is due a bit more respect in our FBS top 25 college football rankings after beating a feisty Florida State team in overtime. The big hang-up for our analysts during preseason rankings was the viability of Jack Coan as Notre Dame’s quarterback. But Coan proved himself against the Seminoles, throwing for 366 yards, 4 touchdowns, and a pick. Against Toledo this week, the Fighting Irish should be able to breathe a bit easier.
Top 25 college football rankings Week 2 | 16-25
Who rounds out the rest of our FBS top 25 college football rankings?
16) Ole Miss Rebels (+4)
Without Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss trounced a talented Louisville secondary to the tune of 43-24. Matt Corral had almost 400 yards. Let’s just say the Rebels are most definitely a team to watch in the SEC. Plus, it’ll be fun to use the transitive property on Ole Miss and Oklahoma when the Rebels play Tulane in two weeks. For now, however, it’s Austin Peay on deck.
17) Miami Hurricanes (-3)
In a development that surprised maybe three people, Miami was not competitive against the Alabama Crimson Tide in Week 1. Alabama is a tier above every team, and perhaps two tiers above Miami — but Miami still has enough talent to reside in the FBS top 25 college football rankings for now. A matchup against Appalachian State in Week 2 is much more appealing.
18) North Carolina Tar Heels (-6)
The ascensions of both Notre Dame and Ole Miss paved the way for North Carolina’s stock to decrease just a little bit more. Thus far, North Carolina hasn’t done enough to shield itself from this kind of move. The offense was out of sync against Virginia Tech. The blocking unit was ineffective, Sam Howell was inconsistent, and there isn’t great chemistry yet with his weapons. We’ll give it time, but things need to change in Chapel Hill.
19) UCLA Bruins (N/A)
Chip Kelly is suddenly back, and so are the UCLA Bruins, as they enter our FBS top 25 college football rankings, leaping from the nether to 19th overall. Coming off a decisive win against SEC stalwart LSU, UCLA has earned the nation’s attention. Now, can they keep it against Jake Haener and a Fresno State team that gave 11th-ranked Oregon trouble last Saturday?
20) Utah Utes (+2)
Utah is always respectable under Kyle Whittingham, and 2021 is no different. After a strong Week 1 win against Weber State, the Utes now move on to face 2020 darling BYU — a team that has since lost its star in Zach Wilson. The Cougars aren’t a bad team, but Utah should have the edge. Farther ahead, clashes against USC and Arizona State stand out as decisive games.
21) Florida Gators (–)
There’s a slight feeling of trepidation regarding the Florida Gators — and no, I’m sure it has nothing to do with their game against Alabama in Week 3. While Florida earned a safe win against Florida Atlantic, quarterback Emory Jones was inconsistent. A switch to talented second-string signal-caller Anthony Richardson may be warranted at some point, but likely not against South Florida.
22) Penn State Nittany Lions (+3)
Penn State came out on top against Wisconsin last week, but neither team looked quite themselves. Wisconsin dropped out, and while Penn State moves up a bit, they’re liable to show more growth in the weeks to come. A matchup against Ball State in Week 2 should be a good stepping stone. Then, in Week 3, Auburn will pose a bigger challenge.
23) TCU Horned Frogs (+1)
TCU’s 45-3 win against Duquesne checked all the boxes we wanted to see in Week 1. Thus, TCU moves up a spot and moves on to a Week 2 battle with California. The Golden Bears might give them a fight, but the real challenge rests in the weeks to come. TCU’s games after California are against SMU, Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma. Those games will be tough.
24) Iowa Hawkeyes (N/A)
Iowa vehemently requested a spot in our FBS top 25 college football rankings with their Week 1 thrashing of Indiana — we were inclined to oblige. Iowa’s offense may not be a particularly high-powered unit, but its defense is one of the better all-around outfits in the league. That defense could be the engineering force behind consecutive wins against a team in the AP Top 25.
25) Virginia Tech Hokies (N/A)
Much like Iowa, the Virginia Tech Hokies crack our FBS top 25 college football rankings with the help of their defense. Between NFL talents like Amaré Barno, Chamarri Conner, and Jermaine Waller, Virginia Tech’s defense is loaded with talent. And if Braxton Burmeister can keep developing at quarterback, Virginia Tech might be here to stay. A mid-October matchup against Notre Dame will be a major checkpoint.
Teams moving out
Indiana Hoosiers (Week 2 opponent: Idaho)
Wisconsin Badgers (Week 2 opponent: Eastern Michigan)
Washington Huskies (Week 2 opponent: Michigan)
Teams closing in
Nevada Wolf Pack (Week 2 opponent: Idaho State)
Liberty Flames (Week 2 opponent: Troy)
Michigan Wolverines (Week 2 opponent: Washington)
UCF Knights (Week 2 opponent: Bethune-Cookman)
Kentucky Wildcats (Week 2 opponent: Missouri)
Pittsburgh Panthers (Week 2 opponent: Tennessee)