The first weekend of college football is in the books, and as per usual the initial set of data points provides a better (if still wildly incomplete) understanding of where each team stands at this point of the season. Some unexpected teams impressed, others looked listless in their openers, and yet more didn’t even get the chance to play as inclement weather swept throughout the eastern half of the United States, delaying and postponing and canceling several season openers.
The Pigskin Rating System has retained the same team atop the charts this week as the one that opened the season atop the rankings. Alabama had little problem steamrolling the Wisconsin Badgers at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, finishing the day with over 500 yards of offense against a team that ranked fourth last season in yards allowed. The Badgers gave up two touchdowns more than they averaged last season, and failed to generate a single turnover despite the Tide fielding just three returning offensive starters from last year’s SEC championship roster.
Most of the teams in the top 10 are usual suspects, schools that regularly rank among the best in the country. One surprise at number 10 is California. The Golden Bears took on Grambling State, an FCS school that made a resurgence after years of futility with a 7-5 record last year, and despite committing three turnovers Cal still scored eight offensive touchdowns, returned two interceptions for scores, and racked up 656 yards of offense. The competition will get tougher from here for Cal, but for this week at least the Bears showed off why they have earned dark horse status in the Pac-12 North and a spot in this week’s PRS top 10.
Other notables about this week’s rankings include:
- Ten SEC schools feature among the top 25 of the inaugural regular season rankings of 2015. In addition to Alabama, Arkansas is in second place after blowing out UTEP 48-13 and Georgia is in fifth following a 51-14 win over UL-Monroe in a game ended early by one of the ubiquitous storms of the weekend. Ole Miss is in sixth, giving the conference four teams in the top 10.
- Despite defeating Virginia Tech 42-24 in Blacksburg in a Labor Day evening matchup to open its 2015 campaign, inaugural College Football Playoff national champion Ohio State fell from third to eighth after its uneven performance. Cardale Jones was named starter at quarterback after an offseason of curiosity, and he went 9-for-18 for 186 yards, two touchdowns and a pick. He also added 99 yards and a rushing touchdown on 13 carries, and former starting quarterback Braxton Miller showed flashes of brilliance at receiver with two catches for 78 yards and a score.
- The other two playoff participants from last season, Oregon and Florida State, are both also in the top 25… for the former, though, that ranking is tenuous. The Seminoles are just outside the top 10 in 11th, behind Georgia Tech and the Hurricanes among ACC teams. The Ducks, breaking in a new quarterback against his former FCS school, won 61-42 but fell from 10th to 24th due to a shaky defensive performance.
- For at least one week, the Big 12 race is led not by Baylor and TCU but rather West Virginia and Oklahoma. The Mountaineers moved up 34 spots to 14th after demolishing defending Sun Belt champion Georgia Southern 44-0, while the Sooners nearly pitched a shutout of their own in a 41-3 victory over Akron in Norman. (Baylor now ranks 22nd, while TCU fell to 46th after what might still prove to be a quality win against Minnesota.)
You can scroll through the full rankings below, including the breakdown of each category calculated in the Pigskin Rating System. To brush up on the methodology used in the rankings, click here.