There’s something about Alabama in Atlanta that removes the drama and doubt from big-time games.
Whether the Crimson Tide enter SEC championship matchups with Florida, a College Football Playoff semifinal against Washington or Saturday night’s showdown against Florida State, they squeeze the life out opponents with a familiar formula. Ferocious defense and opportunistic special teams put away Florida State on Saturday, leaving Alabama as the only team that should occupy the top spot in any rankings, including these.
Alabama and Florida State were the only national heavyweights truly tested in Week 1, but some contenders looked better than others as moderate to heavy favorites. The Big Ten’s top tier performed well, especially a Michigan team that might not miss all those NFL draftees as much as you would think. The Big 12 also had a solid week, while the Pac-12’s two expected alpha dogs, USC and Washington, hit a few bumps in their openers.
Remember, the power rankings are about how you look and who you play each week. Forget the body of work or the brand name. These rankings drip with recency bias.
So, let’s get to them.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
Week 1 result: Defeated Florida State, 24-7
Up next: vs. Fresno State (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
Week 1 result: Defeated Indiana, 49-21
Up next: vs. Oklahoma (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
Week 1 result: Defeated Kent State, 56-3
Up next: vs. Auburn (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN)
4. Penn State Nittany Lions
Week 1 result: Defeated Akron, 52-0
Up next: vs. Pittsburgh (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
5. Oklahoma Sooners
Week 1 result: Defeated UTEP, 56-7
Up next: at Ohio State (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
6. USC Trojans
Week 1 result: Defeated Western Michigan, 49-31
Up next: vs. Stanford (Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET, Fox)
7. Michigan Wolverines
Week 1 result: Defeated Florida, 33-17
Up next: vs. Cincinnati (Saturday, noon ET)
8. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Week 1 result: Defeated Tulsa, 59-24
Up next: at South Alabama (Friday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
9. Florida State Seminoles
Week 1 result: Lost to Alabama, 24-7
Up next: vs. Florida International (Saturday, noon ET, ESPN)
10. Washington Huskies
Week 1 result: Defeated Rutgers, 30-14
Up next: vs. Montana (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network)