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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, September 15, 2019 8:40 pm

Sinn's AP Poll: Week 3

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

Week 3 was about as chalk as chalk can get in college football. There were no matchups between top 25 teams in the AP Poll for the first time since Oct. 14, 2017 and there weren't any upsets of teams ranked higher than No. 18 in the poll (the highest-ranked team to lose this week was 18th-ranked Michigan State, which I had had at No. 21 and fell to Arizona State. I was not all convinced that the Spartans were a good team before this week and the ugly loss to the Sun Devils proves it).

Iowa-Iowa State was nominally the best matchup of the week, or at least the matchup between the two highest-ranked teams (the Hawkeyes were No. 19 coming in and Iowa State was 26th). That game turned out to be close with the Hawkeyes emerging as 18-17 winners, but, as with most games in that rivalry, it wasn't particularly pretty. 

With so few upsets and no games between ranked teams, my AP Poll this week remained mostly unchanged, especially at the top, where there was no movement in the top eight spots. That won't be the case next week as Georgia and Notre Dame meet in Athens in a matchup of two of the top seven teams in the country. Auburn-Texas A&M and Michigan-Wisconsin should also provide some clarity in Week 4. Think of Week 3 as the calm before the storm.

This is my poll heading into Week 4:

1. Clemson (3-0)

2. Alabama (3-0)

3. Georgia (3-0)

4. LSU (3-0)

5. Oklahoma (3-0)

6. Ohio State (3-0)

7. Notre Dame (3-0)

8. Penn State (3-0)

9. Auburn (3-0)

10. Florida (3-0)

11. Wisconsin (2-0)

12. Utah (3-0)

13. Oregon (2-1)

14. Texas (2-1)

15. Iowa (3-0)

16. Texas A&M (2-1)

17. Central Florida (3-0)

18. Washington State (3-0)

19. Michigan (2-0)

20. Boise State (3-0)

21. Virginia (3-0)

22. California (3-0)

23. Washington (2-1)

24. Arizona State (3-0)

25. Iowa State (1-1)

The full poll can be found here: https://www.collegefootball.ap.org/poll

As I wrote above, my top eight remained the same as last week. I did give serious consideration to putting Auburn ahead of Penn State after the Tigers demolished Kent State and the Nittany Lions barely scraped by against Pitt at home. Penn State won 17-10 after batting away a Panthers pass into the end zone on the last play of the game. I kept the Nittany Lions at No. 8 for now because Pitt has made a habit in the Pat Narduzzi Era of turning games against good teams into ugly slogs. The Panthers did it against Notre Dame in 2018 and they did it against Penn State this week. As with the Irish last season, barely beating Pitt at home doesn't necessarily mean Penn State isn't a good team. The Nittany Lions now get a bye and then enter a brutal stretch of schedule in which they play a hungry Maryland team, Purdue, No. 18 Iowa, No. 11 Michigan and Michigan State in consecutive weeks. If Penn State goes through that stretch unscathed, it will be CFP contender.

The most disappointing team of the weekend for me was Maryland. The Terrapins zoomed into the rankings at No. 21 (23rd in my poll) after taking apart Syracuse in Week 2. After one of the biggest wins for the program in years, Maryland came out and laid an egg against Temple, falling 20-17 despite the defense coming up with two safeties (!). Quarterback Josh Jackson was in trouble all day and went just 15 for 38, an abysmal 39.5 completion percentage. Temple's not a bad team, but the Terps need to find a way to protect Jackson before they get Penn State at home in two weeks. For now, Maryland drops out of the AP Poll and another opportunity to build momentum for the program was squandered.

Bold Pick of the Week: Oklahoma State 41, Texas 31

The Longhorns are at home and ranked 12th in the nation, while the Cowboys are coming off a 7-6 season. Texas will likely be a significant favorite, but Oklahoma State upset the Longhorns in Stillwater in 2018. Texas fans are just starting to get their hopes up again, making this the type of game the Longhorns have lost in recent years. 

Last Week: BYU 23, USC 19

I got this one right as the Trojans struggled on the road in Provo and BYU pulled out a 30-27 win in overtime. I am now 2 for 2 on my predictions this season after Colorado pulled out a win over Nebraska in Week 2. As usual, always listen to me.

dsinn@jg.net