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Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher wasted no time announcing that quarterback Jameis Winston is back and the Seminoles are back on top of the XN Sports College Football Rankings again this week.
The Seminoles survived Winston’s suspension to outlast Clemson, 23-17, in overtime. No. 2 Oregon was tested by Washington State while third-ranked Auburn barely survived a trip to Kansas State.
Mississippi State breaks into the rankings in a big way this week after winning at LSU while East Carolina gets a nod in the rankings after hanging 70 points and over 700 yards of offense on formerly-ranked North Carolina. Duke and Nebraska are both 4-0 and both in the XN Top-25 this week.
25. Kansas State (2-1) – Kansas State has now lost seven straight games with non-conference Top 25 opponents after blowing a golden opportunity against Auburn. The Wildcats had three turnovers, including an interception in the end zone, and missed three field goals in the loss that came despite limiting the Tigers to just 128 yards rushing. Last game: Lost to Auburn, 20-14 Next game: Saturday vs. UTEP.
24. Penn State (4-0) – After punting on its first two possessions, Penn State scored on its next eight and had its highest scoring game since a 52-3 win over Eastern Illinois on Oct. 10, 2009. Last Game: Beat Massachusetts, 48-7. Next game: Saturday vs. Northwestern.
23. Duke (4-0) – The Blue Devils returned two interceptions for TDs against the Green Wave and are off to their best start since the 1994 team opened the season with seven straight wins. Last Game: Beat Tulane, 47-13. Next Game: Saturday at Miami (FL).
22. East Carolina (3-1) – The Pirates have won four straight against ACC opponents and blasted the Tar Heels with a school-record 789 total yards. QB Shane Carden led the way with 438 yards passing with four TDs. Last Game: Beat North Carolina, 70-41. Next Game: Oct. 4 vs. SMU.
21. Nebraska (4-0) – The Cornhuskers ran for 343 yards against the Hurricanes and got through their non-conference slate unscathed for the first time in three seasons. There are some areas Nebraska can improve though as they allowed Miami freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya to throw for a career-high 359 yards and three touchdowns. Last Game: Beat Miami (FL), 41-31. Next Game: Saturday vs. Illinois.
20. BYU (4-0) – BYU trailed 16-13 at the half against Virginia and were out gained 519-332 but still found a way to win. QB Taysom Hill threw for two TDs and ran for another for the Cougars, who also committed 12 penalties for 133 yards. Last game: Beat Virginia, 41-33, Next game: Oct. 3 vs. Utah State.
19. Wisconsin (2-1) Melvin Gordon ran for a career high 253 yards and five touchdowns and Wisconsin set a Big Ten-record with 644 yards rushing as a team against Bowling Green. Wisconsin’s schedule includes just one game against a currently ranked team (Nebraska) and no scheduled meeting with either Ohio State or Michigan State. Last game: Beat Bowling Green, 68-17 Next game: Saturday vs. South Florida.
18. Stanford (2-1) – Stanford leads the FBS in total defense (204.3) and scoring, allowing only 4.3 points per game. The defense has surrendered only one touchdown and is unscored upon in the second quarter this season. Senior QB Kevin Hogan has thrown seven TD passes and one interception to start the season. Last Game: Beat Army, 35-0. Next game: Saturday at Washington.
17. USC (2-1) – Coming off a bye the Trojans look to get back on track against the Beavers. The two teams have split the last six meetings but Oregon State has not won in the Coliseum since 1960 (22 games). Last game: Lost at Boston College, 37-31. Next game: Saturday vs. Oregon State.
16. LSU (3-1) – The Tigers lost to an unranked team at home for the first time since falling to Mississippi in 2008. This one was a complete breakdown as the defense appeared confused at times, missing assignments and allowing big plays while the offensive line struggled for much of the contest. Much will be made of the late comeback to make it a game but LSU is what it is, 3-1 and fortunate not to be 2-2. Last game: Lost to Mississippi State 34-29, Next game: Saturday vs. New Mexico State.
15. UCLA (3-0) – Big game for the Bruins on Thursday night. The last three seasons either UCLA or Arizona State has represented the Pac-12 South Division in the Pac-12 title game Last game: Beat Texas, 20-17, (in Arlington, Texas). Next game: Thursday at Arizona State.
14. Arizona State (3-0) – See above. The Sun Devils will need a solid game from QB Mike Bercovici in his first career start. Bercovici is filling in for injured senior Taylor Kelly, who is out with a foot injury. Last Game: Beat Colorado, 38-24 Next game: Thursday vs. UCLA.
13. Michigan State (2-1) – The Spartans bounced back from their loss at Oregon by crushing the Eagles. Michigan State scored touchdowns on its first five possessions and led 49-0 at halftime. Last game: Beat Eastern Michigan, 73-14. Next game: Saturday vs. Wyoming.
12. Georgia (2-1) — Heisman candidate Todd Gurley got only six carries in the rout of Troy but Georgia still rushed for 367 yards. Freshman RB Sony Michel gave Bulldogs fans a glimpse of the future with 155 yards and three touchdowns Last game: Beat Troy, 66-0. Next game: Saturday vs. Tennessee.
11. South Carolina (3-1) – Steve Spurrier collected win #202 as a Southeastern Conference coach against Vanderbilt and trails only Paul “Bear” Bryant (292), but he wasn’t exactly pleased with how his team played. ”We’ve all seen good football teams, we ain’t one,” Spurrier said after the game. ”Don’t say we’re one right now. The way we play? Maybe we can be? I don’t know . It’s no fun for me watching us play tonight.” Last game: Beat Vanderbilt, 48-34. Next game: Saturday vs. Missouri.
10. Mississippi State (4-0) – Bulldogs QB and Louisiana native Dak Prescott threw for two TDs and ran for another in the upset in Baton Rouge. Prescott was the main reason Mississippi State beat LSU for the first time since 1999 and won in Tiger Stadium for the first time since 1991. Last game: Beat LSU, 34-29. Next Game: Oct. 4 vs. Texas A&M.
9. Ole Miss (3-0) – The Rebels defense has eight interceptions in three games and on offense QB Bo Wallace has nine TD passes and has thrown for at least 316 yards in each of his first three games. Last game: Beat Louisiana-Lafayette, 56-15. Next game: Saturday vs. Memphis.
8. Notre Dame (3-0) – The Fighting Irish and Orange meet for the seventh time overall and the first time since 2008. The series is tied 3-3, but Notre Dame will be a heavy favorite to take the series lead. In three games this season QB Everett Golson has thrown for seven TD’s and run for four more without throwing an interception or losing a fumble. Last game: Beat Purdue, 30-14. Next game: Saturday at Syracuse.
7. Baylor (3-0) – Baylor is 3-0 for the fourth straight season and has been getting it done on both sides of the ball. The Bears lead the nation in scoring (59.3 ppg.) and total offense (654.3 ypg.), while the Baylor defense is third in scoring (9.0 ppg.) and fifth in total defense (221.0 ypg.). The all-time series with Iowa State is tied 6-6 but the Bears won last season’s meeting 71-7 in Waco. Last game: Beat Buffalo, 63-21 Next game: Saturday at Iowa State
6. Texas A&M (4-0) – With the drubbing of the Mustangs, the Aggies are 4-0 for the first time since 2006 and have won each of their four games this season by at least 24 points. Texas A&M does have an impressive win over South Carolina on its resume but hasn’t been pushed in its last three games. That will change with games against Arkansas, Mississippi State, Mississippi, and Alabama on the schedule the next four weeks. Last game: Beat SMU 58-6. Next game: Saturday vs. Arkansas.
5. Alabama (4-0) – Eleven penalties and four turnovers could not stop the Crimson Tide from pasting the Gators once again. Alabama will have to play much cleaner games down the stretch if it is to have a chance to reach its championship goals, but Blake Sims and Amari Cooper were enough for a win over Florida. Sims threw for 445 yards, the second most in school history and Cooper had 10 receptions for 201 yards and three TDs. Last game: Beat Florida, 42-21. Next game: Oct. 4 at Mississippi.
4. Oklahoma (4-0) – Freshman Samaje Perine rushed for 242 yards and four touchdowns to help the Sooners hold off the Mountaineers in Morgantown. The game was tied, 24-24, but Perine dominated after the break, rushing for three scores to lead Oklahoma to victory. Oklahoma has now won 11 of its last 12 road games ahead of its meeting at TCU on Saturday. Last game: Beat West Virginia, 45-33. Next game: Oct. 4 at TCU.
3. Auburn (3-0) – Auburn ran for 660 yards in two games with nine TDs and a gaudy 6.7 yards per rush average but was held to 128 yards by Kansas State. Quarterback Nick Marshall helped pick up the slack by throwing for 231 yards and a pair of TDs as the Tigers picked up a non-conference road win over a ranked opponent that will bode well for them if they are in contention for a playoff berth at the end of the season. Last game: Beat Kansas State, 20-14. Next game: Saturday vs. Louisiana Tech.
2. Oregon (4-0) — The Ducks went outside the friendly confines of Eugene for the first time Saturday and were promptly tested by the Cougars in their Pac-12 opener. Oregon QB Marcus Mariota threw a TD pass for the 30th straight game but the Ducks have work to do before hosting Arizona, which won last season’s meeting 42-16. Washington State QB Connor Halliday threw for 436 yards and four touchdowns, making the Oregon defense look plenty vulnerable. Last game: Beat Washington State, 38-31 Next game: Oct. 2 vs. Arizona.
1. Florida State (3-0) – Jameis Winston is coming back, the schedule is favorable, and the winner of the Florida State-Clemson matchup has played in the ACC championship the last five years. Winston needs to grow up off the field, that is not even debatable, but the Seminoles will be tough to beat with him back on the field. Florida State has won 19 in a row, battled to a win against Clemson despite some trying circumstances, and all that likely stands between them and another undefeated regular season is an Oct. 18th meeting with Notre Dame. Last game: Beat Clemson, 23-17 (OT) Next game: Saturday at North Carolina State.
Dropped out: Clemson, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Missouri
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