The Clemson Tigers entered their first game of the current NCAA football season as the No. 2 ranked team in the nation. Clemson then beat the Auburn Tigers on Saturday night, the final score in the game 19-13. While it was not a huge win for the No. 2 ranked team in the nation in terms of margin of victory, at least the Clemson Tigers were on the road against a solid program in their opening game. With a few other teams in the Top 10 losing over the weekend and with other teams winning home games, the AP-Poll voters kept Clemson at No. 2 with Tuesday’s update.
AP Poll’s Top Ten as of September 6th, 2016 (all teams are 1-0)
1. Alabama Crimson Tide – played at home, defeated USC 52-6
2. Clemson Tigers – played on the road, defeated Auburn 19-13
3. Florida State Seminoles – played at home, defeated Ole Miss 45-34
4. Ohio State Buckeyes – played at home, defeated Bowling Green 77-10
5. Michigan Wolverines – played at home, defeated Hawaii 63-3
6. Houston Cougars – played at home, defeated Oklahoma 33-23
7. Stanford Cardinal – played at home, defeated Kansas State 26-13
8. Washington Huskies – played at home, defeated Washington Huskies 48-13
9. Georgia Bulldogs – played at neutral site, defeated North Carolina 33-24
10. Wisconsin Badgers – played at home, defeated LSU 16-14
New teams in the Top 10 are the Houston Cougars, the Washington Huskies, the Georgia Bulldogs, and the Wisconsin Badgers. The Cougars, surging up to 6th spot, defeated previously 3rd-ranked Oklahoma to tally an early-season quality win. Tom Herman, the head coach of the Cougars, did not seem surprised by the result.
“We were prepared to win. We expected to win. We train to win,” he said after the game. “It wasn’t about making a statement, it was about going 1-0 the first week of the season.”
Houston plays the Lamar Cardinals next, an unranked team that the Cougars should improve to 2-0 against. In their first game, Lamar lost by 24 to Coastal Carolina.
Teams that fell out of the Top 10 this week were Oklahoma, LSU, Notre Dame, and Tennessee. The former three all fell following losses. The Volunteers actually won their game, but still dropped a full eight spots in the AP Poll. Apparently, the Volunteers’ narrow escape against Appalachian State did not impress the writers that vote in the poll (Tennessee only won by seven in overtime).
As for contesting the poll, Clemson remaining at No. 2 is a little questionable. I understand that they played on the road against an SEC team, however, they only put up a six-point margin of victory. Ole Miss, the team that Florida State defeated, was ranked 11th last week. Arguably the Seminoles’ win against a strong team should have moved them up to 2nd. It appears that more than just handful of AP-Poll voters felt that way as Clemson edged Florida State by just three voting points for the No. 2 ranking.
Next up for Clemson are the Troy Trojans, a team that put up a 40-point spread in their opener. Clemson will host them on Saturday, giving the Tigers a chance to put up a big spread of their own.
Next up for Florida State is Charleston Southern, Ohio State will face Tulsa, Michigan with face the University of Central Florida, and top-ranked Alabama host Western Kentucky.