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Joe Boozell | | September 4, 2018

College football rankings: LSU skyrockets, Notre Dame jumps in new AP Top 25

Alabama stays on top after week one

Here is your new AP Poll after an exciting first week of college football.

1 Alabama (48) 1511 1-0 1
2 Clemson (12) 1467 1-0 2
3 Georgia 1350 1-0 3
4 Ohio State 1262 1-0 5
5 Wisconsin 1258 1-0 4
6 Oklahoma 1251 1-0 7
7 Auburn 1236 1-0 9
8 Notre Dame 1080 1-0 12
9 Washington 870 0-1 6
10 Stanford 865 1-0 13
11 LSU 801 1-0 25
12 Virginia Tech 777 1-0 20
13 Penn State 768 1-0 10
14 West Virginia 762 1-0 17
15 Michigan State 684 1-0 11
16 TCU 632 1-0 16
17 Southern California 628 1-0 15
18 Mississippi State 538 1-0 18
19 UCF 407 1-0 21
20 Boise State 391 1-0 22
21 Michigan 318 0-1 14
22 Miami (FL) 241 0-1 8
23 Oregon 217 1-0 24
24 South Crolina 125 1-0 NR
25 Florida 89 1-0 NR

LSU was the highest riser, jumping 14 spots after beating Miami (Fla.) by a score of 33-17. The Tigers were leading the Hurricanes by 30 at one point; the defense was absolutely suffocating.

It was easy to see why voters were a bit down on LSU coming into the year. The quarterback position left some to be desired, and Derrius Guice is in the NFL. The defense looked strong, per usual, but a stout defense alone can't take you to the College Football Playoff.

The thing is, the Tigers' offense didn't exactly light it up on Sunday. Joe Burrow went 11-for-24 for 140 yards and no touchdowns. The running game was steady, but LSU doesn't have a Guice or Leonard Fournette-level talent, and that was evident.

But its offense doesn't need to be elite in order to beat good teams. It just needs to be solid and let the defense carry the load. LSU has had trouble reaching 'solid' in recent years. It's too early to declare anything, but that was about as impressive of a debut as you could have hoped for if you're an LSU fan.

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Notre Dame was another noteworthy riser, jumping from No. 12 to No. 8 after a win over Michigan.

Nothing jumps out in the box score, but the Fighting Irish were able to win with defense. Brandon Wimbush only threw for 170 yards. Notre Dame only averaged 2.8 yards per carry. But the Fighting Irish struck quickly on offense and limited the Wolverines to 1.8 yards per carry. That will play.

All of that said, Notre Dame's ceiling still doesn't feel particularly high. The ranking is justified, and perhaps the Fighting Irish will continue to grind out wins. But was the result more about Michigan, or Notre Dame? We'll find out, but watching that game, neither of those schools screamed "College Football Playoff contender" at first glance.

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On the flip side, Auburn rose from No. 9 to No. 7 after a close win against Washington, which dropped three spots to No. 9. There's a case to be made that the Tigers should be even higher. Their win was more impressive than LSU's or Notre Dame's, but they hardly budged.

That has more to do with the teams in front of Auburn than Auburn itself. The top six did nothing to deserve to slip, even if the Tigers scored such a big win. And props to voters for not punishing Washington too harshly. The Huskies had to travel across the country to take on a top-10 team close to their campus and could have won had some bounces gone their way. It was a well-played game on both sides. Thus, both are still in the top 10.

The noteworthy teams who fell have already been discussed, since they lost to the schools we just highlighted. Miami dropped 14 spots to No. 22. The Hurricanes scuffled at the end of last season, and Malik Rosier didn't get off to the kind of start that Mark Richt was hoping for. That's an interesting quarterback situation to monitor in the coming weeks.

Michigan fell seven spots to No. 21. On one hand, the Wolverines just didn't look very good, and we're not seeing the kind of progress we expected from a Jim Harbaugh-led offense. On the other, Michigan was competitive in a road loss to then-No. 12 Notre Dame. The Wolverines will likely be in the top 25 for most of the season, but folks who pegged them as a darkhorse CFP contender should probably look elsewhere.

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Two new schools entered the fray: No. 24 South Carolina and No. 25 Florida. The Gamecocks had a sneaky decent 2017 and carried that momentum into Week 1, while the Gators pummeled Charleston Southern by a score of 53-6.

We still have so much to learn about these teams. But the highly-anticipated start to the 2018 season certainly didn't disappoint.

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