All the results from the first week of the 2022 college football season are officially in the books, and soon, AP Top 25 voters will submit their ballots and reset the standings for the first time since the pre-season ballot in August. The early weeks of the season are filled with opportunities for overreaction, with fans and media alike spending everything off-season crafting opinions that will be confirmed or proven wrong in a dramatic way with the first game of the year. But while individual fluctuations are to be expected, consensus across the AP’s Top 25 voting body is expected to remain the same after just three games between seeded teams and plenty of unbalanced results across the top 25 action.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be some drama in Week 2. Georgia’s dominant win over Oregon suggests the Bulldogs may be closer to #1 than #3, the ranking they have in a pre-season poll, and how divided voters may allow first-place votes. This jumped ahead of Ohio State in second place. The Buckeyes weren’t disappointed in getting off the top-five Notre Dame, but the lack of a high-score offense when expectations dictate otherwise opens the door for Georgia to join this debate among the top teams in college football.
Furthermore, there are other points of interest, most notably where Florida falls in its expected reach into the top 25 after beating the top ten in Utah. It’s also curious to see where the Utes fall after their first loss of the season in Week 1. Notre Dame’s loss near Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, would almost certainly make the Fighting Irish the highest ranked team 0-1 in the AP Top 25 , but Utah shouldn’t be too far off because Utes had a chance to win late at The Swamp.
Voters must also decide what to do with teams that didn’t meet expectations despite winning, and others who put up big numbers against much lower opponents were already seeded. With all aspects in mind, here’s how we expect the new AP’s top 25 to appear when the college football rankings update Tuesday afternoon.
1. Alabama (pre-season-1): The Crimson Tide Burger stuck 50 and didn’t allow a point. There may be some good momentum for Georgia as the best team in the country, but there has been no evidence to suggest that Alabama is less deserving of this title than it was in pre-season.
2- Georgia (3): It’s worth noting that Georgia responded to any concerns about post-title hangovers, with offense and player Stetson Bennett looking more effective than they did a year ago. The Bulldogs scored touchdowns on each of their first seven possessions and kept the Oregon defense on their heels with a pass game that spread the ball around multiple goals for the team’s 439-yard total in a 46-point win.
3. Ohio (2)There was nothing unacceptable or worrisome about Ohio’s win, it could be jumped by the rush of voters behind Georgia. The Buckeyes had a better win compared to the Bulldogs, in doing so showing a much-improved defense, but the close on-field victory against the Fighting Irish contrasts with what some voters predicted for what Ohio would look like in 2022.
4. Clemson (4): The produce on the field hasn’t always been pretty, but the Tigers have a huge advantage in defence, which will allow Dabo Swinney’s group to continue to score throughout their 2022 schedule. It took a while, but Clemson eventually pulled out in the second half to defeat Georgia Tech.
5. Michigan (8): It may take until later in the year to better test that impression, but Michigan doesn’t seem to have lost much in defense even after losing several experienced starters and two NFL Draft picks. The Wolverines swept through Colorado early on, and the attack was able to move up and down the field with little resistance. After losing both the coordinators and several starters from the Big Ten a year ago, Michigan arguably did the best job of teams ranked 6-10 to exceed expectations in the first week.
6. Texas A&M (6): The slow start to the attack was halted by extended weather delays, and by the end of the game it was hard to know what could be achieved with a comfortable 31-0 win over Sam Houston. Haynes King finished with three touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions for the Aggies, who have made it to the end zone only once in their first seven possessions against an FCS.
7. Notre Dame (5): There are two reasons for this expectation, the first being the fallout from the polls last season after the low-scoring Clemson lost to Georgia. This has brought the Tigers down from third to sixth place, so only the drop in spots has preceded with this current group of AP’s top 25 voters. The second clue is that the Irish were underdogs by 17 points and played pokies at close range for three quarters before eventually losing by 11. There is a very high ground where Notre Dame will finish after losing.
8- Oklahoma (9): On a weekend that included some tough or not easy starts for first-year coaches, Brent Venables had to simply enjoy taking care of the business in a 45-13 win over the UTEP. He quickly led 21-0 at the end of the first quarter and never looked back as both Dillon Gabriel’s attacking and refitted defense gave performances worthy of a pre-season top 10 rating.
9 – Baylor (10): Voters won’t do much with a 59-point win over FCS Albany, but Baylor fans will love what they saw from quarterback Blake Shapen and what it means to enter a tougher non-conference test against BYU in Week 2.
10- Oklahoma (12).: The Michigan midfield poured in a few points late to make this final look more competitive, but the Cowboys simply returning to a spotlight on the scoreboard when attacking is a huge win after the players lost in the NFL draft and also the transfer gate where the coaches departure was in the form of Defensive Coordinator Jim Knowles heading to Ohio State.
11. Utah (7): That drop may be more significant than we expect, but a clear view of Utah with the context of the season-opening loss to Florida shouldn’t lead to that much of an adjustment. Utis was slightly favored on the road in a hostile environment and lost due to an interception of a landing attempt which won the game. (They were also stopped three times on the goal line earlier in the game.) If Utah wins, there will be no change to the standings at all, so what exactly has changed about Utis’ composition as the Gator defense has a pair standing near the end zone? However, voters are not always clear, especially after the first week, so the floor can be closer to No. 18 or No. 20 after a defeat.
12. USC (14): The redistribution provides room to go up, but the debuts of Lincoln Riley as USC coach and Caleb Williams as quarterback didn’t give a chance for a dramatic ballot as the opponent was Rice.
13. Michigan (15): The outcome was not in doubt, but the Spartans’ win over Western Michigan on Friday did not include wire-to-wire dominance. Don’t look for a big change in the Spartans standings, though there isn’t anything specifically to do with ensuring a drop in the win.
14. Miami (16): The 70-13 win over FCS Bethune-Cookman was great for confidence and giving the backups some competitive experience, but it wouldn’t do much to locate the Hurricanes poll.
15. Florida (NR): Last year, UCLA didn’t rank before beating LSU #16 in Week 1 and jumping to that particular spot. The Gators had an even better win (defeating the reigning Pac-12 champion in Utah), and the victory put quarterback Anthony Richardson on the big stage as one of the most influential players in the sport. Since Florida has so far started its pre-season poll (38th in the vote), it’s hard to imagine a jump into the top 12. But with the Kentucky seeded team hitting town in Week 2, the Gators could be knocking on the room door. The top ten if they win again in the swamp on Saturday.
16 – Oregon (11): The Ducks are down five places after losing to Auburn in 2019 in their first week, going from 11th to 16th. I don’t think voters would consciously consider these details, but they help track voting patterns. A similar outcome could happen after Oregon wins — with more points — against a better SEC team in the season opener again three years later.
17- North Carolina (13): That expectation is the bottom line for NC State’s potential drop after its ECU 21-20 win. The fact that a win requires an extra match point and a field goal to win the game at the last minute is what we think will shake confidence in Wolfpack, who are still accustomed to the role of favorite and favorite in a week-in, week out basis.
18 – Arkansas (19): Georgia, Ohio State and Arkansas were the only teams to win games against seeded opponents in Week 1, so there should be some increased support for the Razorbacks after their win over Cincinnati.
19 – Pittsburgh (17 years old): A dramatic win over West Virginia has garnered a lot of attention and affection, but I’m not sure there’s a lot more to take from Pete’s perspective as there was love for the competition itself. The Panthers stay right, as a very good but not perfect team among the top 20 in college football.
20- Wisconsin (18): No major adjustments after the 38-0 win over Illinois State.
21- Kentucky (20): A sluggish first-half start against Miami (Ohio) and continuing uncertainty over key suspensions have calmed much of the buzz around the Wildcats’ 2022 campaign.
22 – Uli Mays (21 years): Troy brought things a little closer than expected, but the Ole Miss is still among the most dangerous teams in the SEC.
23. Wake Forest (22): No Sam Harman, no problem as the Devil Deacon sprinted to an easy VMI win behind Mitch Greaves in the middle. Now, Wake Forest should prove worthy of the national ranking against Vanderbilt in Week 2.
24- Houston (24): Given that UTSA has been a solid program for the past couple of years, I don’t think we’ll see any downside trends in voting based on the Cougars’ additional triple win against the Roadrunners in the first week. Supports how Dana Holgorsen rebuilds the foundation of this program to survive these moments of adversity.
25. BYU (25): Speaking of adversity, the Cougars traveled all the way to Tampa and encountered multiple weather delays before going to a clinic against South Florida in the first week. What follows is a great opportunity to prove that the Cougars are one of the best teams in the country with a visit from Baylor to Provo, Utah in week two and a trip to Oregon in week three.
He is expected to leave the study in Cincinnati (23 years).
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