AP Top 25 Heat Check: Up with UGA; Down on Notre Dame

Fooled you.

There is a lot of that at the beginning of the college football season as teams shuffle in and out of the AP Top 25 . Good win? Bad loss? Hard to tell.

South Carolina and Florida popped up in the poll last week and, poof, now they are gone. Maybe they’ll be back. Of course, Heat Check can’t call out the voters without acknowledging its own mistakes. Last week’s endorsement of Northwestern and BYU look a little silly now that both have lost and the teams they beat in Week 1 are a combined 0-4.

This is all trial and error.

Week 2 of the regular season was mostly status quo in the Top 25, with top teams romping. Two teams jumped on board for the first time this season at the bottom. Let’s see if they can hang around longer than the Gamecocks and Gators.

No. 1 Alabama (2-0)

Next: at Mississippi.

A developing Crimson Tide defense should be tested by Ole Miss, but the Rebels gave up 629 yards and 41 points to FCS Southern Illinois last week. It’s a 6 p.m. local kickoff so Grove-gaters in Oxford might want to pace themselves for a long night.

Heat check: Just right

No. 2 Clemson (2-0)

Next: vs. Georgia Southern

The Tigers are 9-2 in their last 11 against the Southeastern Conference, including victories against Georgia, Alabama and Auburn (twice).

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 3 Georgia (2-0)

Next: vs. Middle Tennessee

The Bulldogs looked terrifying in toying with South Carolina.

Heat check: Little too cold. Just like last season, Alabama and Georgia look like the best two teams in the country.

No. 4 Ohio State (2-0)

Next: vs. No. 15 TCU at Arlington, Texas

It seems weird to say the Buckeyes have upgraded at quarterback after J.T. Barrett left with just about every school record, but they probably have with Dwayne Haskins.

Heat check: A tad too hot, but that could change this weekend.

No. 5 Oklahoma (2-0)

Next: at Iowa State

The Sooners had six sacks and 12 tackles for loss against UCLA. Listen, OU is not going to play defense like the other top teams, but if it can do that type of work against Big 12 competition, the offense makes the Sooners a legit national title threat.

Heat check: Touch too hot.

No. 6 Wisconsin (2-0)

Next: vs. BYU.

The fumbling thing with Jonathan Taylor is becoming worrisome. But he is so good.

Heat check: Also, a touch too hot.

No. 7 Auburn (2-0)

Next: vs. No. 12 LSU

There is this thing that happens a lot in college football where we have very short memories and, oh yeah, Auburn beat Washington in Week 1. Voters are still selling that short.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 8 Notre Dame (2-0)

Next: vs. Vanderbilt

QB Brandon Wimbush went from game ball against Michigan to three picks against Ball State and frankly Heat Check is a concerned. The Irish can’t mash opponents with the running game like they did last year.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 9 Stanford (2-0)

Next: vs. UC Davis.

That supposedly suspect Cardinal defense has allowed 13 points in two games against legitimate opponents. Promising.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 10 Washington (1-1)

Next: at Utah.

The Pac-12 North powers need to dominate the suspect South for the good of the conference.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 11 Penn State (2-0)

Next: vs. Kent State.

Penn State is approaching the point in its development as a program where it can occasionally hide some issues behind freak athletes making game-changing plays. This is what elite programs do.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 12 LSU (2-0)

Next: at No. 7 Auburn.

LSU won’t be able to hide an iffy offense on the Plains.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 13 Virginia Tech (2-0)

Next: vs. East Carolina.

Beating Florida State in Tallahassee isn’t worth what it used to be — a week ago.

Heat check: Just right.

No. 14 West Virginia (2-0)

Next: at NC State.

A second Power Five nonconference opponent — and a better one than the first — could give the Mountaineers a nice bump.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 15 TCU (2-0)

Next: vs. No. 4 Ohio State in Arlington, Texas.

Led by Kavontae Turpin, the Horned Frogs have some serious speed at receiver.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 16 Mississippi State (2-0)

Next: vs. Louisiana-Lafayette.

That victory at Kansas State was impressively easy, but if the Bulldogs are going to be more than a fringe threat in the SEC West QB Nick Fitzgerald has to develop into a consistently accurate passer.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 17 Boise State (2-0)

Next: at No. 24 Oklahoma State.

After gaining 816 yards against UConn, the Broncos get their chance for a victory that could make them relevant in the playoff conversation all season.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 18 UCF (2-0)

Next: at North Carolina

The Knights are getting no help from their Power Five nonconference opponents, North Carolina and Pitt.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 19 Michigan (1-1)

Next: vs. SMU

Avoid overreacting to the Western Michigan rout, while still acknowledging QB Shea Patterson could make this a team capable of winning some big games.

Heat check: Just right

No. 20 Oregon (2-0)

Next: vs. San Jose State.

Ducks fans will remind you as you’re looking at Oregon’s hideous nonconference schedule that Texas A&M backed out of a series this year (and next) to add Clemson.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 21 Miami (1-1)

Next: at Toledo

The Rockets have legitimate NFL talent at receiver and are well coached. Decent test for the Hurricanes.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 22 Southern California (1-1)

Next: at Texas.

New quarterback aside, when USC manages only three points in a game — fewest in 21 years — it is cause for concern.

Heat check Too hot.

No. 23 Arizona State (2-0)

Next: at San Diego State

The Sun Devils took a ton of grief for hiring coach Herm Edwards so allow them a moment to gloat after a nice start.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 24 Oklahoma State (2-0)

Next: vs. No. 18 Boise State.

Few coaches are better at plugging in a new quarterback than Mike Gundy. Senior QB Taylor Cornelius, averaging 364 yards in the first two games, gets his first big test.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 25 Michigan State (1-1)

Next: at Indiana, Sept. 22.

One game with no defense but good offense. Another with no offense but solid defense. The Spartans have a week off to get things lined up.

Heat check: Just right.

___

Should be out: Miami, USC. Should be in: Texas A&M, Utah.

___

Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at https://www.podcastone.com/AP-Top-25-College-Football-Podcast

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/tag/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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