College football rankings 2023: Projected Week 3 AP Top 25 after Texas upsets Alabama, Colorado rolls again

  • Texas is back, and Alabama is probably not
  • UNC, Oregon, Utah and surprisngly Tennessee all held on for dear life
  • Colorado rolled to another big-time win
Sep 9, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Texas Longhorns quarterback Quinn Ewers (3) drops back to
Sep 9, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Texas Longhorns quarterback Quinn Ewers (3) drops back to / John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
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Do you believe? Deion Sanders was asking that question about Colorado after the Buffaloes' Week 1 win over TCU. But now Steve Sarkisian could be holding a similar press conference after the Texas Longhorns upset the No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday night to make a massive statement -- and vault up the college football rankings.

It was a strange day outside of Tuscaloosa with Texas dominating Alabama, particularly on the back end of the AP Top 25 with those teams. Ole Miss toppled a Michael Pratt-less Tulane, the Oregon Ducks nearly got clipped in Lubbock by a Texas Tech team that was upset by Wyoming last week, North Carolina nearly fell to App State for the second straight year, Tennessee struggled with FCS Austin Peay for far too long, and the list goes on.

So what will the AP Top 25 college football rankings for Week 3 look like now? We're still figuring out many teams around the country through two (or three) weeks of action. But here's what the AP Top 25 should look like when its released on Sunday based on our projections.

Projected AP Top 25 college football rankings after Week 2: No. 25-21

25. Clemson Tigers

With Cade Klubnik struggling in the first half against Charleston Southern after the Clemson offense was highly lackluster in last week’s loss to Duke, everyone was ready to bury the Tigers. They put it together in the second half, though, eventually boat-racing their FCS opponent in a 66-17 rout. Clemson still has plenty to work out, but showing signs of life was something positive to take away. 

24. Iowa Hawkeyes

Look, I don’t want to rank Iowa as much as the next guy. But the Hawkeyes captured the Cy-Hawk on Saturday – though Brian Ferentz fell further behind the 25 ppg pace in the 20-13 win – and they continue to look the part of a Top 25 team. It’s never pretty and the offense is still an eyesore. Phil Parker’s defense, however, remains suffocating and will carry Iowa to another strong finish this season. 

23. UCLA Bruins

There’s been a longstanding narrative around Chip Kelly that he simply doesn’t care about the non-conference schedule. So with UCLA heading south to take on a fiery San Diego State team, some expected to see a stumble from the Bruins. Instead, it was a breakout performance for true freshman Dante Moore and, perhaps more impressively, the defense. UCLA forced three interceptions and dominated on the road, more than earning a spot firmly inside the Top 25. 

22. Miami Hurricanes

With Miami and Texas A&M meeting on Saturday afternoon, it felt like the “who’s for real” bowl. The Canes came out on top by hanging 48 on the Aggies. Tyler Van Dyke threw it back to 2021 with a monster five-touchdown game and the defense made timely plays. I’m still cautious when it comes to this team for the entire season, but it feels like they could threaten double-digit wins if they build off of this performance and don’t shell up moving forward. 

21. Colorado Buffaloes

You can’t stop the Deion Sanders hype train and you might not be able to contain it either. Shedeur Sanders and Colorado admittedly looked a tad shaky early but pulled himself up, especially after halftime, to dominate Nebraska in the home opener for the Coach Prime era. Look, the Huskers aren’t special – but the Buffs have a ton of playmakers and dominated in a way that was hard to see after how close the TCU win was a week ago.