Tomorrow’s Top 25 Today: Georgia Ohio State, Florida tops college football rankings

The results for Week 1 of the 2022 college football season are all officially in the books, and soon, voters for the AP Top 25 will submit their ballots and reset the rankings for the first time since August. The first weeks of the season are filled with opportunities for overreactions, as fans and the media have spent all offseason forming opinions that will be dramatically confirmed or proven wrong in the first game of the year. But while individual swings are to be expected, the consensus across the entire AP Top 25 voting system is expected to remain the same after three games between ranked teams and numerous upsets in top-25 action.

That’s not to say there won’t be some drama in Week 2. Georgia’s dominant win over Oregon put the Bulldogs at No. 3 over No. 3. Maybe closer to 1 means those first-place votes could allow Ohio State to move up to No. 2. The Buckeyes didn’t disappoint in taking down top-five Notre Dame, but the lack of a high-scoring offense when expectations dictated otherwise opens the door for Georgia to join that discussion among the best teams in college football.

Further down the rankings, there are other points of intrigue, especially as Florida is expected to move into the top 25 after beating top-10 Utah. It will be interesting to see where the Utes fall after taking their first loss of the season in Week 1. Notre Dame’s loss to nearby Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio would make the Fighting Irish 0-1 as the highest-ranked team. AP Top 25, but Utah shouldn’t be too far behind, as the Utes had a chance to win late in the Swamp.

Voters will also have to decide what to do with teams that have not met expectations despite winning and others that are already ranked have put up big numbers against much lower opponents. All things considered, here’s what we expect the new AP Top 25 to look like when the college football rankings are updated on Tuesday afternoon.

1. Alabama (Preseason — 1): The Crimson Tide hung a 50-yarder and didn’t allow a single point. Georgia may have some deserved momentum as the nation’s best team, but there’s no evidence to suggest Alabama is any less deserving than it was the season before that title.

2. Georgia (3): The way Georgia answered any concerns about a post-title hangover was remarkable, with how the offense looked, and quarterback Stetson Bennett, looking more capable than he did a year ago. The Bulldogs scored touchdowns on each of their first seven possessions and kept the Oregon defense on its heels with a passing game that spread the ball around for multiple targets as a team totaled 439 passing yards in the 46-point victory.

3. Ohio State (2): There’s nothing unacceptable or worrying about a win for Ohio State, which is going to jump behind Georgia by the speed of voters. The Buckeyes had better wins against the Bulldogs, and displayed a much improved defense in doing so, but a close home win over the Fighting Irish was the opposite of what some voters expected Ohio State 2022 to look like.

4. Clemson (4): The production on the field isn’t always pretty, but the Tigers have a big advantage on defense, which should allow Dabo Swinney’s team to keep piling up wins throughout its 2022 schedule. It took a while, but Clemson eventually pulled away in the second half to defeat Georgia Tech.

5. Michigan (8): It may take until later in the year for a better test of this sentiment, but Michigan doesn’t appear to have lost much on defense after losing several veteran starters and a pair of NFL draft picks. The Wolverines rallied against Colorado State early, and the offense was able to march up and down the field with little resistance. After losing coordinators and several starters from the Big Ten title team a year ago, Michigan exceeded expectations in Week 1 and did the best job of teams ranked 6-10.

6. Texas A&M (6): A slow start was further stalled by an extended weather delay, and by the end of the game, it was difficult to decide what to do to pull off a 31-0 victory over Sam Houston. Haynes King finished with three touchdowns, but he threw two interceptions for the Aggies, who reached the end zone just once on their first seven possessions against FCS opposition.

7. Our Lady (5): This prediction has two anchors, last season’s poll drop after Clemson’s low-scoring loss to Georgia. The Tigers slipped from No. 3 to No. 6, so the current group of AP Top 25 voters dropped a pair of spots. The second thought was that the Irish trailed by 17-points and played the Buckeyes close through three quarters, eventually scoring 11 runs. Notre Dame has a pretty high floor where it ends up after the loss.

8. Oklahoma (9): In a weekend that included some difficult or embarrassing starts for first-year coaches, Brent Venables simply had to take care of business in a 45-13 win over UTEP. The Sooners jumped out to a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back as both a Dillon Gabriel-led offense and a retooled defense delivered a performance worthy of a top-10 preseason ranking.

9. Baylor (10): Voters aren’t going to make much of a 59-point win over FCS Albany, but Baylor fans will like what they saw from quarterback Blake Shapon and it indicates a much tougher conference test against BYU in Week 2.

10. Oklahoma State (12): Central Michigan put up a few points late to make this finale more competitive, but for the Cowboys, it’s a big win to get back to glowing on the scoreboard after losing players to the NFL Draft and transfer portal. Coaches head to Ohio State in the form of defensive coordinator Jim Knowles.

11. Utah (7): The drop off may be more significant than we predicted, but Utah’s clear vision with the context of a season-opening loss to Florida shouldn’t cause much of an adjustment. The Utes fell short on the road in a hostile environment and lost a game-winning touchdown attempt due to an interception. (They were stopped three times at the goal line earlier in the game.) If Utah wins, the rankings don’t change, so what changes to the Utes’ makeup as the Gators’ defense makes a pair of stands. Near the end zone? Especially after 1 week, voters don’t always pay attention clearly, so the site may be closer to number 18 or number 20 after a loss.

12. USC (14): The realignment leaves room for a move, but the debut of Lincoln Riley as USC’s coach and Caleb Williams as quarterback doesn’t allow for a dramatic poll move, considering the opponent is Rice.

13. Michigan State (15): The result was never in doubt, but there was no wire-to-wire dominance in the Spartans’ win over Western Michigan on Friday. Don’t look for too many changes in the Spartans’ standings, though there’s nothing that warrants a drop from the peak of success.

14. Miami (16): A 70-13 win over FCS Bethune-Cookman gave the backups confidence and some competitive experience, but it’s not going to do much for the Hurricanes’ poll standings.

15. Florida (NR): Last year, UCLA entered Week 1 with the No. 16 was unranked before defeating LSU. The Gators had a great win (beating defending Pac-12 champion Utah), and the win put quarterback Anthony Richardson on the big stage as one of the game’s most impactful players. With Florida starting so far down in the preseason polls (38th in the poll), it’s hard to imagine breaking into the top 12. But with top-ranked Kentucky coming to town in Week 2, the Gators could be knocking on the door of the vote. Top 10 if they win again at The Swamp this Saturday.

16. Oregon (11): After losing to Auburn in Week 1 of 2019, the Ducks dropped five spots. It is no. Went from 11 to 16. I don’t think voters will keep this detail in mind, but it helps track voting patterns. A similar result could happen three years later after Oregon beat a better SEC team — by more points — in the season opener.

17. NC State (13): This prediction is the foundation for a possible fall of NC State to ECU 21-20. The fact that the game-tying extra point and the game-winning field goal were both needed in the closing moments to win, we think, will shake the confidence of the Wolfpacks, who are used to being the frontrunners and favorites heading into week one. In, on a week-out basis.

18. Arkansas (19): Georgia, Ohio State and Arkansas all won games against ranked opponents in Week 1, so the Razorbacks should have some support after beating Cincinnati.

19. Pittsburgh (17): A dramatic win over West Virginia drew attention and love, but I’m not sure there was much to take away from a Pitt perspective as there was a love for the rivalry. The Panthers are the best but not exactly top-20 team in college football.

20. Wisconsin (18): No major changes after the 38-0 win over Illinois State.

21. Kentucky (20): A slow start in the first half against Miami (Ohio) and uncertainty surrounding key suspensions dampened the buzz surrounding the Wildcats’ 2022 campaign.

22. Ole Miss (21): Troy made things a little closer than expected, but Ole Miss is among the most dangerous teams in the SEC.

23. Wake Forest (22): No Sam Harman, no problem behind Mitch Griffis at quarterback as the Demon Deacons cruised to an easy win against VMI. Now, Wake Forest proves nationally ranked in Week 2 against Vanderbilt.

24. Houston (24): I don’t think we’ll see any downward trends in voting based on the Cougars’ triple overtime win over the Roadrunners in Week 1, as UTSA has been a very solid program over the past two years. If anything, the success only supports how Dana Holkorsen has rebuilt the foundation of this program to survive these dire times.

25. BYU (25): Before starting a clinic against South Florida in Week 1, the Cougars traveled throughout Tampa and faced several weather delays. Next up is a great opportunity to prove that the Cougars are one of the best teams in the country with a visit. Baylor travels to Provo, Utah in Week 2, then Oregon in Week 3.

Expected to leave: Cincinnati (23)

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