College football rankings will look different after these five top 25 teams lose for the first time.
With the preseason AP Top 25 Poll being released a few weeks ahead of the 2022 campaign, these college football rankings will serve as our guiding light until the College Football Playoff Selection Committee meets for the first time a few months from now.
Though upsets always happen, and we should absolutely expect to see them in the first weekends of September, pinpointing when a ranked team is going to lose for the first time is never an easy ask. Fortunately, we can forecast a few losses coming down the track. Expect for these five ranked teams to lose for the first time before the end of Week 2. So which teams are most likely to fall?
Here are five teams ranked inside of the AP Top 25 that are definitely losing games by Sept. 10.
5. No. 25 BYU Cougars vs. No. 10 Baylor Bears (Week 2, Sept. 10, 8:15 p.m. MT kickoff)
It is almost certain that BYU and Baylor will be ranked heading into their Week 2 meeting in Provo. The Cougars should be able to beat a bad South Florida team in Tampa in their season opener. If not, well, then we grossly miscalculated how good, or bad, the 2022 Cougars really are. As for Baylor, there is no way they lose their season opener at home to Albany under any circumstance.
Though Baylor could definitely lose on the road in Provo, the Bears won 12 games last year, won the Big 12 Championship game over a strong Oklahoma State team and bested Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl. Baylor is a top 10 team in the country for a reason, as Dave Aranda is cooking with gas over in Waco. This is a brutal first home game of the season for Kalani Sitake to open up with.
No matter what happens over Labor Day Weekend, someone is leaving this game with a defeat.
4. No. 17 Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Tennessee Volunteers (Week 2, Sept. 10, 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff)
This has trap game written all over it for Pitt. While the Panthers will host arch rival West Virginia in the Backyard Brawl, they cannot overlook Tennessee coming to town in Week 2. Although Pitt could totally lose at home to the Mountaineers, it would be beyond shocking if Tennessee does not beat Ball State in its home opener. Tennessee could be ranked entering this Week 2 game, too.
Even if that is not the case, Tennessee has the quarterback in Hendon Hooker to put up points on a Pitt team that lost Kenny Pickett, Jordan Addison and former offensive coordinator Mark Whipple off last season’s ACC Championship squad. With it being in Pittsburgh, that certainly helps the Panthers, but keep in mind what league Tennessee plays in. The Vols have seen it all.
Kedon Slovis will have to play outstanding in back-to-back games for Pitt to start the year out 2-0.
3. No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish at No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes (Week 1, Sept. 3, 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff)
In what projects to be the best game of the Labor Day Weekend slate, No. 2 Ohio State will host No. 5 Notre Dame in an absolutely awesome non-conference affair we all wish could happen more often. While Notre Dame is one of the better programs in the country, Marcus Freeman is going to have more than his hands full when taking on his alma mater led by Ryan Day in the Horseshoe.
Tyler Buchner could be a revelation under center for the Golden Domers, but Day has Heisman Trophy finalist and potential No. 1 overall pick in C.J. Stroud back at it for the Buckeyes. Not only that, but Stroud will be rifling the pigskin to arguably the best wide receiving corps in the country, headlined by Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Notre Dame could win, but Ohio State is a massive favorite here.
Either way, the Buckeyes or the Fighting Irish will begin their college season with an 0-1 record.
2. No. 23 Cincinnati Bearcats at No. 19 Arkansas Razorbacks (Week 1, Sept. 3, 2:30 p.m. CT kickoff)
It is a shame that one of these two teams will have to lose in Week 1, but this is the sort of thing that happens when two quality teams are slated to play each other on Labor Day Weekend. Although the Cincinnati Bearcats have not lost a regular-season game since 2019, they might start the year out 0-1 when they take on the Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville on Sept. 3.
Playing in Razorback Stadium will be a step up for Cincinnati, but the real big issue in this game will be at quarterback. Ben Bryant has the near impossible task of replacing Desmond Ridder, while Sam Pittman knows exactly what he has in KJ Jefferson. If this game were played at Nippert, we might side with the Bearcats in this one. But with it being in Arkansas, it is all about the Hogs.
If you were looking for the third best game on the Labor Day Weekend slate, this one has to be it.
1. No. 11 Oregon Ducks vs. No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs (Week 1, Sept. 3, 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff)
While Cincinnati at Arkansas is clearly third, No. 11 Oregon vs. No. 3 Georgia in Atlanta is easily a top-two game on Labor Day Weekend. It features not only a Pac-12 power going up against the defending national champions, but Georgia’s former defensive coordinator Dan Lanning takes on his mentor right from the jump inside of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. What could possibly go wrong?
Although Oregon might be the best team Georgia faces during the regular season, Oregon is going to be very much up against it vs. the Dawgs. The Ducks may have Bo Nix at quarterback, but he is 0-3 to date vs. Georgia from his days quarterbacking Auburn. While Oregon is capable of pulling off the monumental upset, but Georgia is too deep and too ferocious to take its foot off the gas.
This game will be closer than expected, but Georgia should win this one comfortably over Oregon.