After two weeks, the argument about who is the best team behind Alabama and Georgia is heating up after the No. 3 team in the rankings lost for a second week in a row.
While the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs look absolutely dominant through two weeks, there is some debate over who the third-best team in college football is entering Week 3.
Alabama and Georgia already have big neutral-site victories over Miami and Clemson respectively, as well as strong performances over Mercer and UAB this weekend. Unless you are a fan of one of the other teams we are about to mention, these are clearly the two best teams heading into Week 3. But after No. 3 Ohio State losing to No. 12 Oregon, it opens up another discussion worth having.
Which team will be the No. 3 team in the land, and who really should be the third-best team?
College Football Rankings: Who is the third-best team in the nation right now?
With it not being Ohio State anymore, who got pushed around all day at the line of scrimmage by Oregon, there are roughly four teams with a serious case for being the third-best team in the country. Those teams are the Clemson Tigers, the Iowa Hawkeyes, the Oklahoma Sooners and the Oregon Ducks. Teams like the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Penn State Nittany Lions are close, too.
First off, we need to cross a few “contenders” off right now. Ohio State and Iowa State lost in Week 2 to ranked teams at home, so it is not them. Texas A&M barely survived Colorado on the road in Denver, albeit with a quarterback injury. Then again, a 10-7 victory vs. an unranked team does not move the needle. It is also not Notre Dame, who are a few plays away from being 0-2.
Even though they are heading to the Big 12 in a few years, the Group of Five designation dings Cincinnati. Penn State could be the third-best team in the country if they dismantle Auburn next week with ESPN’s College GameDay in town. But let’s get the Nittany Lions firmly inside of the top 10 first. So who is No. 3 between Clemson, Iowa, Oklahoma or Oregon heading into Week 3?
Clemson’s case is this. The Tigers held their own defensively vs. Georgia. With a blowout victory at home over South Carolina State, they have the feel of a playoff. It does not look like anybody in the ACC is even remotely in their class. Look for them to be 11-1 heading into Charlotte with yet another playoff berth on the line. However, being 1-1 entering Week 3 is hard to put them No. 3.
Because they were No. 4 this week and eviscerated Western Carolina, the AP voters will probably make it Oklahoma just to keep things simple. However, they feel like the Big 12’s only hope of getting a team into the playoff with Iowa State losing and Texas looking very rancid vs. Arkansas. Factor in Oklahoma nearly losing at home last week to Tulane, and they might be a tad overrated.
Thus far, Oregon has the most impressive road victory. No matter what happens to the Buckeyes, the Ducks have a massive non-conference win on the road. This gives Mario Cristobal’s program a huge boost when it comes to making the playoff. They can now lose a conference game and get in as a Pac-12 champion. Then again, the Ducks did struggle at times last week vs. Fresno State.
And we have arrived at Iowa…
The No. 10 team in the nation has beaten two ranked teams in consecutive weeks. Not only that, but the Hawkeyes dominated Indiana in Week 1, and then went on the road to win CyHawk over in-state rival Iowa State with College GameDay in town. While the voters will not have the stones to put them No. 3, their body of work thus far speaks for itself. Hopefully, they crack the top-five.
Iowa may not be ranked No. 3 next week, but the Hawkeyes may be the best team in the Big Ten.
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