Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/14/14
 

It’s no surprise that Alabama is a unanimous #1 among the Tailgater crew (Otero/ AP)

  Tailgater Top 25 Rankings, Week 1

Each week we’ll be bringing you our respective Top 25 rankings, along with a little justification for our thoughts. Most fans of college football have, at one time or another, disagreed with the teams and order proffered by the AP and Coaches Polls…we’re no different. Here are our rankings for week 1. Weigh in with comments if you think differently.

Ranking teams with only one game played has limited value, but here we go.

Zach Bigalke John Mitchell Matt Strobl 1. Alabama 
2. Oregon 
3. USC 
4. LSU 
5. Nebraska 
6. Clemson 
7. Virginia Tech 
8. Michigan State 
9. West Virginia
10. BYU 11. Oklahoma State
12. Baylor
13. Georgia
14. Ohio State
15. Oklahoma
16. Louisville
17. Wisconsin
18. Ohio
19. Arkansas
20. Florida State
21. South Carolina 22. UCF
23. Utah
24. USF
25. Notre Dame 1. Alabama
2. Oregon
3. USC
4. LSU
5. West Virginia
6. Florida State
7. Georgia
8. Oklahoma
9. Clemson
10. Arkansas
11. Michigan State
12. Ohio State
13. Nebraska
14. Oklahoma State
15. South Carolina
16. TCU
17. Texas
18. Virginia Tech
19. Wisconsin
20. Louisville
21. Michigan
22. Notre Dame
23. Kansas State
24. Tennessee
25. Ohio 1. Alabama
2. USC
3. LSU
4. Florida State
5. Michigan State
6. Oregon
7. West Virginia
8. South Carolina
9. Clemson
10. Ohio State
11. Nebraska
12. Arkansas
13. Oklahoma State
14. Georgia
15. Oklahoma
16. Texas
17. Notre Dame
18. Louisville
19. Ohio
20. Wisconsin
21. Baylor
22. Michigan
23. Virginia Tech
24. Tennessee
25. Florida

Bigalke:
1-10:  Until proven otherwise, the Tide answered any lingering questions about their title defense and worthiness of the top target. Oregon — and specifically new QB Marcus Mariota — answered their own questions. USC & LSU are right there in the thick of it as well. Taylor Martinez looks ready to make a leap as a passer, Clemson proved they’re more than speedy Sammy Watkins, and Virginia Tech won the oft-decisive battle against Georgia Tech in their opener. The Spartans and Mountaineers are toss-ups, Michigan State getting the nod at 8 based on their defensive performance against Boise State. Rounding out the top 10 is BYU, who crushed Mike Leach’s Cougars in his return top coaching and are overlooked at every team’s peril. 

11-20:  Starting off the second 10 are a pair of Big XII teams that lost starting QBs and didn’t miss a step. Georgia and Ohio State seemed comfortable in victory, and Louisville looked like the class of the Big East against Kentucky. I found myself less impressed with preseason media darlings Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Arkansas, who all won less than comfortably against seemingly overmatched foes.  Until Florida State proves themselves against more than just FCS competition, I’m skeptical of ranking them any higher vis-a-vis the rest of the ACC’s contenders.   21-25:  Was Vanderbilt that good, or South Carolina that out of sync? UCF seems determined to play for a big season as they await the NCAA’s decision about whether they’ll even have a shot at the postseason this year. Utah looks stout defensively, though Jordan Wynn still needs seasoning. The Bulls are Louisville’s biggest contender for the Big East crown, and Notre Dame rounds out my top 25 after looking sharp in Dublin against a Navy team that’s given them fits in recent years.    Mitchell:
1-10: After the Top 4 of Alabama, Oregon, USC, and LSU, I think there is a significant dropoff to the rest of the teams. I think those four teams are head and shoulders above the rest of the nation right now. West Virginia at #5 may be a little high, but I thought the Mountaineers were the best team in the Big 12 before the season, and I saw nothing to change my mind after the opening weekend. I was tempted to drop Oklahoma from the Top 10 altogether after their performance against UTEP, but I decided against it. I think Clemson at #9 is high, but they did win a neutral site game against a solid BCS opponent on Saturday.   11-20: Three Big Ten teams start the 11-20 rankings, and I think they could be placed in any order right now. Michigan State beat the best team, Nebraska had the most impressive win, and Ohio State lived up to the preseason hype by throttling an overmatched Miami Ohio team. I had South Carolina as a preseason Top 10 team, but they looked downright average against Vanderbilt. Wisconsin also takes a drop after narrowly defeating Northern Iowa.   21-25: The only team with a loss in my poll is Michigan at #21 who took a beating at the hands of #1 Alabama. Notre Dame looked impressive in their 50-10 win over Navy and earned inclusion in my Top 25. Kansas State looked average in their opener until late, but they started last season the same way. Tennessee and Ohio get the last two spots in my poll after impressive opening weekend victories. The Vols looked extremely dangerous in their win over NC State, and Ohio topped a Big Ten opponent in Penn State.   Strobl:
1-10: Though I’m still a victim of my preconceived notions, I try to put limited stock in the preseason polls.  While it might lead to more volitility week to week, I attempt to acknowledge actual performances over hype or reputation.  So while my colleagues here like the Ducks, I’m remaining wary for the moment based on their defense.  Giving up 34 points and more than 500 yards to Arkansas State doesn’t exactly impress me, regardless of the circumstances.  Yes, the starters were yanked, but 530 yards allowed still means something.  I was also kinder to South Carolina; though the Gamecocks struggled against Vandy, they were contending with an injury to Connor Shaw. I was tempted to drop Oklahoma from the Top 10 altogether after their performance against UTEP, but I decided against it. I think Clemson at #9 is high, but they did win a neutral site game against a solid BCS opponent on Saturday.   11-20: I dinged a lot of alleged power programs who gave uninspired performances against lesser competition in week 1.  Georgia, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin may prove to be as good as advertised, but each had to labor to beat weak opponents.  The Badgers looked particularly rough as they were nearly toppled by an FCS foe.  Meanwhile Notre Dame, Louisville, and Ohio looked especially strong.   21-25: Baylor opens the last five and, frankly, an arugment could be made that the Bears should be even higher.  Perhaps at Wisconsin’s expense.  Michigan fell considerably but stays in the Top 25 despite the loss.  There’s no shame in being bested by the best.  Virginia Tech played to lose, but survived the Yellow Jackets in overtime.  Tennessee and Florida managed to stay in as well, though the Gators didn’t do much of note against Bowling Green.
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