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College Football Top 25: Horns and Buffs

The Colorado band wagon continues to grow (check out the ratings from Saturday’s game vs. Nebraska) but here come the Longhorns. After years of heightened expectations and painful beatdowns, Texas fans may well have a contender for the college football playoff.

It is a light schedule this week in terms of Top 25 match-ups, but there are a few conference games worth paying attention to including Penn State @ Illinois, Tennessee @ Florida, and LSU @ Mississippi State.

Power 5 schools Michigan State and Washington square off in East Lansing Saturday afternoon on Peacock and Syracuse travels to West Lafayette to battle the Purdue Boilermakers Saturday night on NBC.

Here are the full results of NBC Sports’ College Football Top 25 heading into Week 3 with explanations from analysts Vaughn Dalzell, Brad Thomas, and Eric Froton:

1 Georgia | Record: 2-0 | ATS: 0-1-1 | Last Week: 1 | Next: Sat. vs. South Carolina (1-1)

2 Michigan | Record: 2-0 | ATS: 0-2 | Last Week: 2 | Next: Sat. vs. Bowling Green (1-1)

3 Texas | Record: 2-0 | ATS: 1-1 | Last Week: 10 | Next: Sat. vs. Wyoming (2-0)

4 Ohio State | Record: 2-0 | ATS: 0-2 | Last Week: 4 | Next: Sat. vs. WKU (2-0)

5 Florida State | Record: 2-0 | ATS: 2-0 | Last Week: 6 | Next: Sat. @ BC (1-1)

Dalzell (@VmoneySports): If we are going to say one of these does not belong, are we saying it’s Florida State, Ohio State, or Texas? Maybe it’s Michigan? Brad, Eric, and I have strong disagreements on the Top 6 and it shows on this list. I have to say it’s Georgia, Michigan, USC, Texas, and Ohio State as the Top 5, in that order.

Join in the college football conversation Saturdays at 11AM ET. From sides to totals to props, get ready for the weekend of college football with the NBC Sports College Football Betting Q&A.

Thomas (@MrBradThomas): Texas is back! They had the look of not only a Playoff team but a National Championship contender. They deserve to be in the Top 4 after going down to T-Town and bullying Bama on both sides of the ball.

Froton (@CFFroton): Texas vaults into the 3rd spot following their double-digit victory over Alabama this weekend, exposing the Tide’s lack of a passing game in the process. Unlike my colleagues, I moved Florida State above Ohio State because I need to see this shaky OSU offense perform well against a quality Power Five opponent before I rank them above FSU, who soundly handled LSU a couple weeks ago. Week 4 at Notre Dame will be the Buckeyes’ first big measuring stick.

6 USC | Record: 3-0 | ATS: 2-1 | Last Week: 5 | Next: Sept. 23 @ ASU (1-1)

7 Penn State | Record: 2-0 | ATS: 2-0 | Last Week: 7 | Next: Sat. @ Illinois (1-1)

8 Washington | Record: 2-0 | ATS: 1-1 | Last Week: 8 | Next: Sat. @ Michigan St. (2-0)

9 Notre Dame | Record: 3-0 | ATS: 3-0 | Last Week: 9 | Next: Sat. vs. CMU (1-1)

10 Alabama | Record: 1-1 | ATS: 1-1 | Last Week: 3 | Next: Sat. @ South Florida (1-1)

11 Oregon | Record: 2-0 | ATS: 2-0 | Last Week: T11 | Next: Sat. vs. Hawaii (1-2)

12 LSU | Record: 1-1 | ATS: 1-1 | Last Week: T15 | Next: Sat. @ Mississippi State (2-0)

13 Tennessee | Record: 2-0 | ATS: 1-1 | Last Week: T11 | Next: Sat. @ Florida (1-1)

14 Utah | Record: 2-0 | ATS: 1-0-1 | Last Week: 13 | Next: Sat. vs. Weber State (2-0)

15 Kansas State | Record: 2-0 | ATS: 2-0 | Last Week: T15 | Next: Sat. @ Mizzou (2-0)

Dalzell: USC being No. 6 on our list is a joke. This is the best offense in the country and Caleb Williams is the front-runner to win back-to-back Heisman Trophies. I have them ranked No. 3 where Texas is (Horns are No. 4 on my list). The Trojans have the week off after three cupcake games. The polls won’t give them much respect, but I will.

Thomas: This was the most challenging list to order for me because none of these teams are out of the College Football Playoff picture. Alabama was punished for their loss to Texas and dropped to 10th. Notre Dame was rewarded for their excellent road beat down of NC State.

Froton: Tennessee drops a few spots after a listless first half against Austin Peay and now travels to The Swamp to take on a sputtering Florida. Utah drops out of the Top 15 for me after barely surviving against a Baylor team that lost to Texas State in Week 1. Washington breaks into the Top 10 thanks to their relentless offense that is poised to leave many a defense in their wake.

16 Oregon State | Record: 2-0 | ATS: 2-0 | Last Week: 17 | Next: Sat. vs. SDSU (2-1)

17 Mississippi | Record: 2-0 | ATS: 2-0 | Last Week: 23 | Next: Sat. vs. GT (1-1)

18 Colorado | Record: 2-0 | ATS: 2-0 | Last Week: 25 | Next: Sat. vs. Colorado State (0-1)

19 Iowa | Record: 2-0 | ATS: 1-1 | Last Week: 21 | Next: Sat. vs. W. Michigan (1-1)

20 Miami | Record: 2-0 | ATS: 2-0 | Last Week: NR | Next: Thurs. vs. B-CU (1-1)

T21 North Carolina | Record: 2-0 | ATS: 1-1 | Last Week: 19 | Next: Sat. vs. UM (2-0)

T21 Oklahoma | Record: 2-0 | ATS: 2-0 | Last Week: 20 | Next: Sat. @ Tulsa (1-1)

23 Washington St. | Record: 2-0 | ATS: 2-0 | Last Week: NR | Next: Sat. vs. NCU (0-2)

24 Duke | Record: 2-0 | ATS: 1-1 | Last Week: 8 | Next: Sat. vs. Northwestern (1-1)

25 UCLA | Record: 2-0 | ATS: 1-1 | Last Week: NR | Next: Sat. vs. NCCU (2-0)

Honorable mentions: Clemson, Kansas, Arkansas

Fell out of the Top 25: Wisconsin (14), Texas A&M (18), Clemson (23), Tulane (24)

Dalzell: We have four new teams between 20-25. They are Miami, Washington State, Duke, and UCLA. All four teams made strong cases over Clemson, Wisconsin, Arkansas, and Kansas for me as I rounded out my list. Watch for Kansas or Arkansas to be the next new face in the Top 25.

Thomas: Iowa feels a little high to me. They haven’t been all that impressive in their first few games and were lucky to escape with a win this past weekend. Oh yeah, Miami is back as well. Tyler Van Dyke balled out, and Miami looks like a team who got their swagger back.

Froton: North Carolina was one of the several favorites who were tested in Week 2, coming out with a narrow victory over the always scrappy perennial Sun Belt contender, Appalachian State. Miami announces their top-25 arrival with authority after beating a talented, but unreliable, Texas A&M who fall out of the poll themselves. Props to Wazzu for taking down Wisconsin in back-to-back seasons, regardless of who holds the clipboard in Madison. I feel like Colorado has a puncher’s chance against any team outside of the Top 5.

On paper, it looks less than appetizing compared to most weeks of the college football season. No question, however, that there will be surprises in a few stadiums across the country.

Enjoy the games and enjoy the sweat.