Projected AP Top 25 college football rankings after Week 2: No. 20-16
20. Duke Blue Devils
After knocking off Clemson on Monday, Duke had a respite on the short week against Lafayette. Riley Leonard was good for the Blue Devils but truly wasn’t asked to do much. Mike Elko’s defense handled business against an inferior opponent and the run game ultimately led the way in the 42-7 win. With games against Northwestern and UConn on deck, Duke should be 4-0 as they host Notre Dame in what could be a sneaky great matchup in Week 5.
19. North Carolina Tar Heels
Mack Brown absolutely refuses to play a normal game against Appalachian State. Last year, it was the 63-61 thriller in favor of UNC. This year, it was a double-overtime game, but the result was the same with the Tar Heels winning. Perhaps North Carolina’s dominance in Week 1 was more about South Carolina than the “real” Carolina, but UNC moved to 2-0 by any means necessary, which is sometimes all you can ask for, especially in a strange week.
18. Oklahoma Sooners
Everyone looking at the SMU-Oklahoma matchup had to be thinking shootout. Instead, we got one of the strangest games of the day. However, the Sooners, even after scoring just 28 points, have to feel good that Brent Venables’ defense came up with a monster performance to hold the Mustangs to just one touchdown in the 28-11 win for OU. This performance combined with drubbing Arkansas State by 70+ has to make you think Oklahoma could be dangerous.
17. Ole Miss Rebels
Full disclosure, I picked against Ole Miss against Tulane before the Michael Pratt injury came to light. Having said that, a full tip of the cap to Lane Kiffin’s team. Jaxson Dart played one of the best games we’ve seen in college, which was crucial given that Quinshon Judkins and the run game were actually mediocre. The defense also took advantage of the opposing quarterback situation in a tough road environment, which gives me substantially more faith in this team than prior to this week.
16. Oregon State Beavers
DJ Uiagalelei looks like a whole new man with the Beavs. Oregon State wasn’t exactly fighting hard against UC Davis but Jonathan Smith’s team continued what we saw last season as a group that’s going to just dominate in certain areas. But DJU seems to have added more juice to the offense that wasn’t there last season. If that continues as the competition ramps up, this team could be dangerous against any of the Pac-12 contenders – and may well be one itself.