AP Top 25 college football poll reaction – What's next for each ranked team? – ESPN

The AP Top 25 college football poll is out after another wild weekend of games.
Alabama Heisman Trophy contender Will Anderson Jr. scored his first career touchdown with a pick-six. His teammate, defending Heisman winner Bryce Young, threw for three scores (and added another on the ground). Meanwhile, Georgia‘s Stetson Bennett tossed two touchdowns to tight end Brock Bowers, Michigan running back Blake Corum ran for five touchdowns on the ground and Ohio State‘s C.J. Stroud put up five touchdowns in the air.
Appalachian State, coming off a win at Texas A&M, needed a 53-yard Hail Mary to defeat Troy. Indiana kicked a game-winning 51-yard field goal in overtime to improve to 3-0. UCLA also kicked a walk-off field goal, although from just 24 yards out. And for the first time ever, college basketball’s blue bloods Duke, Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina are all 3-0.
But what happens from here? We break down what’s next for each ranked team.
Previous ranking: 1
Week 3 result: 48-7 win vs. South Carolina
What’s next: vs. Kent State (Saturday, noon ET)
The Bulldogs have earned the No. 1 ranking. Their defense, despite losing five first-round picks from last season, is absurdly talented. Even with star lineman Jalen Carter limited by an injury, it harassed South Carolina all afternoon on Saturday. And the offense — anchored by quarterback Stetson Bennett and tight end Brock Bowers — is incredibly effective. But if we’re nit-picking, there is one area worth keeping an eye on: the running game, which hasn’t hit its stride through three games. — Alex Scarborough
Previous ranking: 2
Week 3 result: 63-7 win vs. UL Monroe
What’s next: vs. Vanderbilt (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET)
All was not solved in a 63-7 thrashing of Louisiana-Monroe. But then again, what can the Tide really prove playing a cupcake opponent at home? The checklist remains the same as it was post-Texas: fix the offensive line, find playmakers at receiver and cut down on mental mistakes. With a home game against Vanderbilt next week, Alabama has another week to make corrections before it goes on the road to Arkansas. — Alex Scarborough
Previous ranking: 3
Week 3 result: 77-21 win vs. Toledo
What’s next: vs. Wisconsin (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET)
The Buckeyes’ offense is getting healthier and starting to surge, but Wisconsin’s stingy and sound defense always provides an accurate gauge of progress. Will Ryan Day opt for a more conservative, grind-it-out approach like he did against Notre Dame or let quarterback C.J. Stroud and the receivers cut it loose against coordinator Jim Leonhard’s crew? Ohio State has won eight straight against Wisconsin, but the Buckeyes will learn more about themselves, especially along the line of scrimmage, from the Big Ten opener. — Adam Rittenberg
Previous ranking: 4
Week 3 result: 59-0 win vs. UConn
What’s next: vs. Maryland (Saturday, noon ET)
With a blowout win against UConn, Michigan has scored 50 or more points in the first three games of the season for the first time in program history. Running back Blake Corum and quarterback J.J. McCarthy have both found a ton of success early entering Big Ten play, with Maryland and Iowa coming up. The Terps have been able to put up points this season, so Michigan’s defense will be tested against a veteran quarterback in Taulia Tagovailoa. Iowa, on the other hand, scored only 14 points in the first two games, so it will need to pick it up on offense if it wants to keep up with Michigan’s O. — Tom VanHaaren
Previous ranking: 5
Week 3 result: 48-20 win vs. Louisiana Tech
What’s next: at Wake Forest (Saturday, noon ET)
Coach Dabo Swinney knows his team has not put together a complete game just yet, and now comes a big road game at Wake Forest — the team that won the Atlantic Division a year ago. Clemson handled Wake Forest fairly handily in 2021 in one of the better performances from DJ Uiagalelei. The Tigers have been able to establish their run game the past two games, and they also distributed the ball in the passing game to a variety of receivers against Louisiana Tech. — Andrea Adelson
Previous ranking: 6
Week 3 result: 49-14 win vs. Nebraska
What’s next: vs. Kansas State (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET)
The Sooners played complementary football against Nebraska, and that type of balance is something that will make them hard to defend moving forward, with Kansas State up next. Oklahoma rushed for 327 yards in the win over the Cornhuskers — and a lot of that had to do with the way the game got out of hand. But being able to achieve that type of dominance up front and getting a nice rotation going at running back with Eric Gray, Marcus Major and Jovantae Barnes have to be building blocks for the coaching staff. — Andrea Adelson
Previous ranking: 7
Week 3 result: 45-17 win vs. Fresno State
What’s next: at Oregon State (Saturday, 9:30 p.m. ET)
The Trojans will face their toughest test of the season so far when they make the treacherous trip to Corvallis to face an Oregon State team that certainly won’t roll over. The Beavers may have faced Montana State last week, but scoring 68 points on any opponent is impressive. It’ll be a battle of contrasts Saturday when a team that has made its name on continuity and steady improvement will face one that has had as much turnover and change as any team in the country. The Trojans will look to continue the offensive clinic they have put on for most of their three wins, while Jordan Addison is on pace to catch a USC-record 24 touchdowns this season. — Paolo Uggetti
Previous ranking: 9
Week 3 result: 31-0 win vs. Youngstown State
What’s next: vs. Northern Illinois (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET)
The Wildcats are 3-0 with three straight double-digit wins after a 31-0 shutout of FCS opponent Youngstown State, and they will face another team they will be heavily favored against, Northern Illinois, this Saturday. Then comes the teeth of the SEC schedule, starting with a trip to Ole Miss on Oct. 1, and the Wildcats will be at full strength by then when star running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. returns after missing the first four games due to an NCAA issue. — Chris Low
Previous ranking: 8
Week 3 result: 63-7 win vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff
What’s next: at Baylor (Oct. 1)
Three nonconference games and then a break. Oklahoma State’s schedule was structured nicely, and after an easy 63-7 romp over UAPB on Saturday, the Cowboys get a week off before starting Big 12 play with a huge trip to Baylor. Challenges await, but the Cowboys have to feel great about what they’ve gotten thus far from veteran quarterback Spencer Sanders. Against CMU, Arizona State and UAPB, he threw for 916 yards, 10 touchdowns and just one interception. The Big 12 has become more defense-oriented through the years, but the Cowboys’ offense has been rampant. — Bill Connelly
Previous ranking: 10
Week 3 result: 38-27 win vs. Missouri State
What’s next: at Texas A&M (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET)
With Texas A&M, Alabama and a three-game road trip on deck, it probably goes without saying that Arkansas cannot afford another dismal start like the one that beset the Hogs on Saturday against Missouri State. Bobby Petrino’s Bears surged to an early 17-0 lead and still led by 10 in the fourth quarter before the Hogs stormed back to win. They proved their resilience, the offense ended up gaining 600 yards and the coaches have something to yell about in practice. But now the tests get much, much harder. — Bill Connelly
Previous ranking: 15
Week 3 result: 63-6 win vs. Akron
What’s next: vs. Florida (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET)
One game never makes a season, but Tennessee could set itself up for one of the best seasons it’s had in a while this Saturday when Florida comes to town. The Vols have improved steadily under Josh Heupel, but the measuring stick for any Tennessee coach will always be how he fares against Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Even some of Tennessee’s best teams have stumbled against the Gators over the years, but the Vols get a chance to break that curse at home. — Chris Low
Previous ranking: 16
Week 3 result: 27-14 win vs. Texas Tech
What’s next: vs. UConn (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET)
NC State soon will need quarterback Devin Leary to be great against strong competition. He hasn’t looked like a top NFL prospect in wins over East Carolina and Texas Tech. A home date with UConn provides a confidence-building opportunity for Leary before NC State visits Clemson on Oct. 1. Linebacker Payton Wilson, cornerback Aydan White and a playmaking defense get a chance to keep building for an ACC schedule that features several challenging road games. — Adam Rittenberg
Previous ranking: 14
Week 3 result: 35-7 win vs. San Diego State
What’s next: at Arizona State (Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET)
The Utes will have ample chance to continue their impressive post-Florida loss revenge tour as they travel to Tempe to face an Arizona State that finds itself in, to put it mildly, complete disarray after losing to … *checks notes* Eastern Michigan. Don’t be surprised if the Utah defense holds the opposing offense to under 10 points and under 200 total yards for the third straight week. — Paolo Uggetti
Previous ranking: 22
Week 3 result: 41-12 win vs. Auburn
What’s next: vs. Central Michigan (Saturday, noon ET)
The Nittany Lions have survived two extremely tough environments to get to 3-0, their latest win a 41-12 rout of Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium, which was rocking throughout much of the first half. Penn State also won at Purdue on a Thursday night to open the season. Freshman running back Nicholas Singleton has rushed for more than 100 yards each of the past two weeks, and the Nittany Lions have been balanced on offense. They get Central Michigan and Northwestern at home the next two weeks before taking a week off and traveling to Michigan on Oct. 15. — Chris Low
Previous ranking: 25
Week 3 result: 41-20 win vs. No. 12 BYU
What’s next: at Washington State (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET)
The conference schedule sets up pretty well for Oregon, but the first one — next week at Washington State — might be the most difficult over the next six weeks. Pullman has been a difficult place for the Ducks to play over the past decade, and the Cougars should be playing with confidence, coming in at 3-0. — Kyle Bonagura
Previous ranking: 20
Week 3 result: 42-0 win vs. Georgia Tech
What’s next: vs. Tulsa (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET)
We didn’t learn much about the Rebs’ quarterback situation against Georgia Tech. Because of a stellar showing by the defense and a big game from the running backs, the passing game was able to take a back seat. So it’s another week of Jaxson Dart vs. Luke Altmyer. While Dart appears to have the edge, having attempted all but three passes against Tech, it should be said that Dart wasn’t especially sharp (no touchdowns, one interception) and Altmyer is coming off an injury against Central Arkansas. — Alex Scarborough
Previous ranking: 17
Week 3 result: 42-7 win vs. Texas State
What’s next: at Iowa State (Saturday, noon ET)
The Bears begin Big 12 play with a trip to Ames against Iowa State. If history is any indication, it’ll be a close one. The last three games between these two have been decided by a total of 11 points, including a 31-29 win in Waco last year by the Bears. The battle of Iowa State’s run game (152.5 yards per game) against the Baylor run defense (allowing 85 ypg and 2.7 yards per carry) will go a long way in determining a winner. — Dave Wilson
Previous ranking: unranked
Week 3 result: 39-28 win vs. Michigan State
What’s next: vs. Stanford (Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET)
The Huskies would likely be favorites against the first five (and possibly six) Pac-12 opponents they play: Stanford, UCLA, Arizona State, Arizona and Cal. Considering UW went 4-8 during a messy 2021 season, its bounce back represents one of the best early-season success stories in college football. Coach Kalen DeBoer has been impressive at every stop of his coaching career and is off to as good a start as possible in Seattle. — Kyle Bonagura
Previous ranking: 12
Week 3 result: 41-20 loss vs. No. .25 Oregon
What’s next: vs. Wyoming (Saturday, 10:15 p.m. ET)
Considering BYU had Baylor and Oregon the past two weeks, the next two games represent a step down in competition with home games against Wyoming and Utah State before back-to-back games against Notre Dame and Arkansas. The pending returns of receivers Puka Nacua and Gunner Romney will eventually provide a boost to the offense, but it’s the running game that was concerning against Oregon. — Kyle Bonagura
Previous ranking: 18
Week 3 result: 31-28 win vs. South Florida
What’s next: at Tennessee (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET)
Nothing about the last few weeks has inspired much confidence about which version of the Gators will show up to play rival Tennessee in Knoxville. The defense has played well at times; at others, it has allowed the opposition to run right through it. Meanwhile, Florida has simply been unable to get anything going with its passing offense. Anthony Richardson has zero touchdown passes to four interceptions on the season. Relying on their running game will only get them so far in SEC play. — Andrea Adelson
Previous ranking: 19
Week 3 result: 37-36 win vs. Liberty
What’s next: vs. Clemson (Saturday, noon ET)
The Demon Deacons’ quest to defend their ACC Atlantic Division title begins against potentially their biggest challenger in Clemson. Wake Forest has dropped 13 straight to the Tigers since taking them down in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in 2008. After rushing for only 21 yards in a 37-36 win over Liberty, the Deacs will need a more balanced approach and, most likely, a sharper performance from quarterback Sam Hartman and the defense to end the streak. — Adam Rittenberg
Previous ranking: 21
Week 3 result: 41-20 win vs. UTSA
What’s next: at Texas Tech (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET)
The degree of difficulty will slowly ramp up for Texas as Big 12 play begins. After surviving a feisty visit from UTSA, the Horns will now open Big 12 play at Texas Tech — in what might turn out to be their last trip to Lubbock as a Big 12 member — before returning home to face West Virginia. Then it’s time to shift into fifth gear with the Red River Rivalry on Oct. 8 and trips to Oklahoma State and Kansas State soon after. Quinn Ewers‘ injury and an up-and-down defense have made gauging Texas’ Big 12 hopes tricky, but the journey begins next week regardless. — Bill Connelly
Previous ranking: 24
Week 3 result: 17-9 win vs. No. 13 Miami
What’s next: vs. Arkansas (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET)
Arkansas broke a nine-game losing streak to the Aggies last year, holding them to just 10 points. This year, the Razorbacks come in riding high with a top-10 ranking, though they had their hands full with former coach Bobby Petrino on Saturday in pulling out a 38-27 win over Missouri State. Arkansas QB KJ Jefferson will test the Aggies’ defense, and the offense will have to keep up with the Hogs’ quick-strike abilities. — Dave Wilson
Previous ranking: 23
Week 3 result: 34-13 win vs. Western Michigan
What’s next: vs. Rhode Island (Saturday, noon ET)
Pat Narduzzi’s team enters a relatively easy stretch that should allow it to heal up for a more challenging second half. A banged-up Pitt squad could get by this week against Rhode Island without starter Kedon Slovis, who traveled to Western Michigan, or backup Nick Patti, who stayed back for the game. Third-string quarterback Nate Yarnell did his job well, and Pitt’s defense should carry it the next few weeks as ACC play begins with Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech before potentially tricky trips to Louisville and North Carolina. — Adam Rittenberg
Previous ranking: 13
Week 3 result: 17-9 loss vs. No. 24 Texas A&M
What’s next: vs. Middle Tennessee State (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET)
After a frustrating loss on the road at Texas A&M in which the Hurricanes did not score a touchdown, Miami returns home to face Middle Tennessee State, a team it hasn’t played since 1932. The most important task: fixing a red zone offense that stalled repeatedly, with five field goal attempts to 27 first downs and nearly 400 yards of total offense. — Dave Wilson
Dropped out: Michigan State (11)


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