The Touchdown CFB Top 25
Week 3 of the 2020 College Football season saw surprises, shutouts, and sixty-burgers from SMU. How did last week’s action impact our College Football Top 25?
The Clemson Tigers remain on top of my College Football Top 25 rankings after cruising to victory over The Citadel. The phrase “cupcake clash” may have been coined especially for games like these, but quarterback Trevor Lawrence still made some throws that reinforce his status as the consensus number one overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
As the team to beat in the ACC, the Tigers remain on a collision course for the College Football Playoff.
It’s SEC Football kick off week and the Alabama Crimson Tide begin their revenge tour with a trip to Missouri. After missing the College Football Playoff in 2019, you can be sure that Alabama will be fired up to succeed.
They have the talent to do so too, with several potential first round picks on the roster. Mac Jones was confirmed as the starting quarterback this week, as expected, and will have the best receiving dup in the nation to throw to.
The Spencer Rattler era in Oklahoma got off to a stellar start in Week 2, earning them a third place berth in my College Football Top 25. With the teams around them also on a bye in Week 3, the Sooners hold station ahead of their clash with Kansas State.
Oklahoma will need to avoid a repeat of last year’s 48-41 upset to the Wildcats if they are to fight off the SEC teams that kick off their season this week.
As discussed in last week’s College Football Top 25, consistency at the quarterback position could be key to success in 2020.
For Florida, that consistency comes in the form of Kyle Trask. He’ll be looking to kick start his campaign with an impressive win in Mississippi. With question marks surrounding much of their SEC opposition, this could be the Gators best chance to win the SEC East for a long time.
The Georgia Bulldogs have probably the easiest start to an all SEC schedule possible with a trip to Arkansas.
Despite having two transfer quarterbacks enter the building over the spring, it is existing Bulldogs signal caller Dwan Mathis that gets the start for the opening game.
An expected victory should see Georgia retain their early season high spot in the College Football Top 25. A defeat could see a plunge that they may not recover from.
Sam Ehlinger impressed in the opener against UTEP and should have the opportunity to once again put up some gaudy numbers in what should be a shootout against Texas Tech.
I’ve mentioned before that this will be the best opportunity that the Longhorns have to win the BIG XII for a long time, and with teams like Notre Dame and UNC snapping at their heels in the College Football Top 25, they will need to keep winning in impressive style.
7. Notre Dame
After an opening day win over Duke, the Fighting Irish cemented their place in the top places of my College Football Top 25 with a beatdown of the USF Bulls.
Ian Book accounted for 21 points with three touchdowns on the ground, but put up mediocre numbers through the air. Behind one of the nations best offensive line, Notre Dame had three rushers with over six yards per carry.
Following the game, seven Notre Dame players tested positive for COVID-19, meaning their Week 4 clash with Wake Forest is postponed.
Although the LSU Tigers begin their season as a Top 10 team in both the AP and my own College Football Top 25, they are -2.5 underdog for their season opener against Mississippi State.
The Tigers have lost so many pieces both on and off the field that it is difficult to imagine them retaining this high position especially with an All-SEC schedule.
Auburn open their 2020 College Football campaign as an overwhelming favourite against Kentucky.
Although the Wildcats are ranked by the AP, this game represents one of the easiest games on a schedule that sees the Tigers travel to Athens and Tuscaloosa.
10. North Carolina
After having their clash with Charlotte cancelled in Week 3, North Carolina move up one place in the College Football Top 25 based on the bad performances of others (more to come later) rather than an impressive win of their own.
UNC don’t have a Week 4 game and with some SEC teams around them set to open their seasons the Tar Heels could see a fall before their next game.
11. Texas A & M
Another team to benefit from the unexepectedly poor performance from a team in front of them are Texas A & M who jump up one place to 11th.
With an easy opener against Vanderbilt in the late window of games, a comfortable win in an impressive manner could see the Aggies challenge for Top 10 honours in next week’s College Football Top 25.
The Bearcats opened their season with an emphatic win over Austin Peay. Senior running back Gerrid Doaks accounted for 84 yards and four touchdowns as Cincinnati emphasised that they will be one of the leading “Group of Five” teams in 2020.
With the return of Big Ten football set for October, Cincinnati will need to continue to impress if they are to to maintain a high standing in the College Football Top 25. A win over unbeaten Army will go a long way to confirming their credentials as a team to beat.
UCF enhanced their College Football Top 25 ranking with a convincing win in an entertaining game against Georgia Tech. The win was made even more impressive by the fact that GT had beaten FSU the previous week.
Quarterback Dillon Gabriel threw for over 400 yards as UCF put up 660 total yards. Their up tempo offense should prove too much for East Carolina in Week 4.
The Miami Hurricanes are the biggest movers in this week’s College Football Top 25. They catapult from 21st to 14th after an impressive victory over one of the most entertaining teams in the nation, Louisville.
Rhett Lashlee’s up tempo offense is cooking with Houston transfer D’Eriq King under center and running back Cam’Ron Harris seemingly unstoppable out of the backfield. Quincy Roche and Jaelan Phillips form a formidable duo at defensive end.
15. Oklahoma State
A pre-season favourite of mine, the Oklahoma State Cowboys put up a turgid display to limp past a poor Tulsa team in their opening fixture.
Both star running back Chuba Hubbard and wide receiver sensation Tylan Wallace were held under 100 yards as starting quarterback Spencer Sanders departed the game early with an injury.
The Cowboys must put on a better performance against a West Virginia team that opened up with a dominant win over Eastern Kentucky if they are to live up to their pre-season hype.
No change in the College Football Top 25 for Tennessee who open their All-SEC schedule with a trip to face South Carolina. The Vols go into the game as a slight favourite, having won 41-21 in the clash between the two programs last October.
After opening the season with a win over Arkansas State, the Memphis Tigers must wait until early October before seeing the field again. COVID-19 has hampered the team as much as any program in the nation, and there is the potential for that to have a bigger impact on their ranking as the season progresses.
After providing the shock of Week 2, the Ragin’ Cajuns were nearly the victim of an upset in Week 3. An overtime touchdown run from Elijah Mitchell gave them a 34-31 win and ensured they maintained their early position in the College Football Top 25.
Mitchell has an impressive 8.8 yards per carry through two games, and although Levi Lewis has struggled at times, he has shown grit and leadership that should see them continue their winning ways on Saturday.
Pitt has one of the best defenses in the nation, allowing just 10 points in total through two games and allowing just 26 rushing yards on average per game.
The offense needs to work on eradicating turnovers. None have proved costly so far, but there are bigger tests to come. That said, quarterback Kenny Pickett is outplaying my early expectations and could see his NFL Draft stock soar if he can maintain a consistency of performance.
Louisville stand at 1-1 after defeat to Miami last time out but still have the talent to mount a challenge in the ACC. Quarterback Malik Cunningham was once again impressive and Tutu Atwell and Javian Hawkins continue to show why they are highly regarded.
The question marks hanging over this Cardinals team are focused on defense. It doesn’t matter how good the offense is if they allow over 40 points again this season.
Alongside Oklahoma State, Lousiville are the big losers in this week’s College Football Top 25.
BYU have had to wait a long time since opening their season by sinking Navy. Their Week 3 game against fellow College Football Top 25 team, Army, was postponed and they will play their next two games without fans in the stands.
The Cougars start as favourites against Troy and should maintain their Top 25 standing until at least the start of the Big Ten campaign.
With victories for Pitt and Miami leap-forgging them over Army, the Black Knights have slipped two positions in my College Football Top 25.
Army have the perfect opportunity to prove they deserve to be ranked higher when they travel to Cincinnati to face the heavily fancied Bearcats. A win would give Army a 3-0 record.
Pony Up Dallas, SMU are ranked in my College Football Top 25! After a close call with Texas State to open the season, the Mustangs put up over 60 against North Texas to go 2-0.
Quarterback Shane Buechele is averaging 355 yards per game as he builds on a strong 2019, whilst freshman running back Ulysses Bentley IV is averaging 9.2 yards per carry and has five touchdowns already.
24. Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech open their campaign this weekend when they welcome NC State to Blacksburg. The Hokies have ridden a surprising 2019 campaign into 2020 and will need to get off to a fast start if they are to maintain a place in the College Football Top 25.
The performance of freshman quarterback Grant Wells and the Marshall Thundering Herd has been one of the unexpected ans exciting storylines of this early College Football season.
After shocking ranked Appalachian State in Week 3, Marshall have earned a place in my College Football Top 25. Unfortunately, they won’t have the opportunity to defend their place with no games for the next two weeks.
OLIVER HODGKINSON IS A COLLEGE FOOTBALL WRITER FOR THE TOUCHDOWN. HE ALSO WRITES ON THE NFL FOR THE PRO FOOTBALL NETWORK. YOU CAN HEAR HIS OPINIONS ON ALL THINGS COLLEGE FOOTBALL AS ONE THIRD OF THE COLLEGE CHAPS PODCAST.