The first full Saturday of college football in 2021 is behind us, and the smoke still hasn’t cleared. Regardless, we’re here to re-shuffle our FBS Top 25 College Football Rankings in response to the events of this weekend. Who’s moving up? Who’s moving down? And who cracks the Top 25 for the first time? Let’s take a look at our post-Week 1 update.
Top 25 college football rankings Week 1 | 1-5
After Week 1, which teams make up the top five in our FBS Top 25 College Football Rankings? As expected, the SEC reigns supreme after a triumphant week of action.
Rankings are accompanied by a change value to represent how far teams moved up or down this week, relative to last week’s preseason rankings.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (–)
It’s not possible for a team to be ranked higher than No. 1, but we might need to make an exception in Alabama’s case. The Crimson Tide is the best team in the country, and it isn’t particularly close. We knew they were elite coming into Week 1, and then they made their fellow Top 25 team Miami look like an FCS school. Bryce Young already looks like a future No. 1 overall pick. The offensive line is dominant, led by living wrecking ball Evan Neal. Defensively, Nick Saban’s squad is just as suffocating as it’s been in years past.
2. Georgia Bulldogs (+4)
Whoever won the Georgia-Clemson game was going to take this spot, especially after flawed outings from both Ohio State and Oklahoma. Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs ultimately came out on top. It was an ugly game, but Georgia was the shinier of the two squads.
Despite being without transfer Tykee Smith, Georgia’s defense harassed the Tigers, holding their offense to 180 yards of total offense. Quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei completed just over 50% of his passes. He was sacked 7 times and threw a costly pick 6. The Bulldogs’ defense can be elite, and the exciting part is, the offense isn’t playing at its full potential just yet.
3. Oklahoma Sooners (–)
Let’s not act like Tulane is bad. The Green Wave is a well-coached squad with a tough, resilient quarterback in Michael Pratt. They were always going to give the Sooners a fight, but Oklahoma made it a bit too close for comfort in the end.
Oklahoma is still a tremendously talented team with a tremendously talented quarterback. But minimizing the mistakes will be key on both sides of the ball in the weeks to come. Luckily, not all was lost on defense. Isaiah Thomas looks like an absolute game-wrecker alongside Nik Bonitto and Perrion Winfrey.
4. Ohio State Buckeyes (–)
The Buckeyes stay put in our post-Week 1 Top 25 College Football Rankings. They managed to pull out a comfortable 45-31 win in Week 1 against Minnesota, but it was by no means a perfect outing. The defense — particularly the secondary — doesn’t look totally in sync, and losing so much experience at the second level will take some adjustment.
5. Texas A&M Aggies (–)
While pulses elevated for Oklahoma and Ohio State, Texas A&M enjoyed a routine rout in Week 1 against Kent State. The Aggies received standout performances from offensive playmakers like Ainias Smith, Isaiah Spiller, Caleb Chapman, and Devon Achane.
Additionally, Leon O’Neal Jr. provided two picks on defense. Nevertheless, the Aggies stay put on our rankings. Quarterback Haynes King, while promising, was up and down at times in his first start. Texas A&M is incredibly talented, but they’ll need more consistency against SEC competition.
FBS Top 25 college football rankings | 6-15
Who comes in just outside the top five in our post-Week 1 FBS Top 25 College Football Rankings? A vaunted program moves into the waiting room for the top five, while an unheralded ACC program undertakes a massive ascent.
6. Clemson Tigers (-4)
Clemson will only move down so far for losing to the Bulldogs. Georgia is a great team and could ultimately be the chief challenger to the vaunted Crimson Tide. But the Tigers can only come up with so many excuses.
The fact of the matter is, D.J. Uiagalelei didn’t look comfortable or composed in Week 1, even when he had a clean pocket. His receivers didn’t separate consistently, and the line was manhandled all game. The defense is still one of the league’s best, with talent at all three levels, but scoring points can’t be this difficult in the future.
7. USC Trojans (+3)
USC and Oregon essentially flip-flop in these post-Week 1 Top 25 College Football Rankings. While Oregon failed to show up consistently on offense against Fresno State, USC dominated against a respectable San Jose State team. The defense was opportunistic, but even more impressive was the offense, which gave off shades of 2019.
Kedon Slovis looked more comfortable, composed, and calculated than he looked in 2020. This USC team can go far with Slovis on the rebound and Drake London and Tahj Washington providing top-notch play.
8. Cincinnati Bearcats (+1)
If you’re a top team — or any team, for that matter — the most you can hope for in Week 1 is an easy victory. That’s what Cincinnati got on Saturday. The Bearcats dominated Miami (OH), besting the Redhawks 45-14. Desmond Ridder looked sharp, dealing almost 300 yards and 4 touchdowns while rushing for a fifth.
The defense also came to play, showing impressive synergy early, which had to be expected with so many returning starters. Cincinnati moves up a spot in our Week 1 Top 25 College Football Rankings, and they could keep rising with more success.
9. Iowa State Cyclones (-1)
The Iowa State Cyclones are still the second-highest ranked Big 12 team on our Week 1 Top 25 College Football Rankings, but the gap is closing quickly. Matt Campbell’s squad came away with a Week 1 win, but the nature of that win was much less inspiring than others on this list.
Iowa State snuck by FCS opponent Northern Iowa with a 16-10 victory. Northern Iowa is better than your average FCS team, but Iowa State still struggled too consistently for their ranking. Particularly on offense, Brock Purdy and Breece Hall didn’t move the needle a great deal.
10. Texas Longhorns (+8)
Back or not back? Maybe it doesn’t matter. At the very least, we can all agree that Texas is good after Week 1. Texas played a Louisiana team that went 21-4 over the past two seasons — a team that finished ranked 15th in the AP poll last year and returned many of its starters — and beat them handily, 38-18.
Hudson Card looked sharp at QB, and he had weapons to go to. Bijan Robinson was his usual spectacular self. On defense, DeMarvion Overshown was flying once again. Things are trending up in Austin after Steve Sarkisian’s first action.
11. Oregon Ducks (-4)
Yes, Oregon managed a lukewarm win against Jake Haener and Fresno State. But that doesn’t save them from scrutiny on our post-Week 1 Top 25 College Football Rankings. The Ducks clearly have talent, especially on the defensive side of the ball. But the entire complexion of the game changed when Kayvon Thibodeaux was injured.
On one hand, it makes sense — Thibodeaux is a special player. Still, so much depends on one player for Oregon. Outside of CJ Verdell and Travis Dye, the offense was largely inept. That won’t always fly in Pac-12 play.
12. Arizona State Sun Devils (+1)
Off-field drama aside, the Arizona State Sun Devils took care of business in Week 1. They beat a Southern Utah squad that has some NFL talent, and they beat them by 27 points. Due to a minor injury, we didn’t get to see a full game of Jayden Daniels, but he looked solid when he was on the field.
The two-headed running back tandem of Rachaad White and Chip Trayanum combined for 110 yards and 4 touchdowns. Meanwhile, on defense, the Sun Devils snatched 3 interceptions. The competition level doesn’t demand a huge rise, but the Sun Devils do move up one spot.
13. Boston College Eagles (+10)
Behold, our biggest risers in Week 1: The Boston College Eagles. Sure, Boston College’s 51-0 win was against Colgate. But across the board, Jeff Hafley’s squad was a fine-tuned machine. Phil Jurkovec was surgical. Zay Flowers was dynamic and remains one of the most dangerous players in college football. Transfer Trae Barry was equally exciting, and the offensive line was nearly flawless.
On defense, Boston College swarmed, earning 2 sacks, 6 tackles for loss, and 2 picks. With UNC and Miami dropping, Boston College is surging up the list.
14. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (+3)
Five teams within the 11-16 window dropped after Week 1, leaving the door open for Coastal Carolina to rise a few spots in our post-Week 1 Top 25 College Football Rankings. Like most top 25 teams, the Chanticleers fulfilled the prerequisite of safely beating an inferior team by crushing Citadel to the tune of 52-14.
Grayson McCall was efficient, and the offense was dynamic overall. On defense, players like C.J. Brewer, Jeffrey Gunter, and D’Jordan Strong all made their presence felt. One week through the season, Coastal is no doubt here to stay.
15. Miami Hurricanes (-1)
Look, it was a bad loss for Miami. But you can’t fault Miami for losing so badly to Alabama. In fact, there are very few teams that can be competitive with the Tide right now. Miami moves down one spot for the lopsided loss, but impending matchups against Appalachian State, Michigan State, and Central Connecticut State should allow them to right the ship. D’Eriq King, in particular, will be under pressure to play better after a 2-interception performance. The roster is talented, but raw talent eventually needs to progress.