Each week, the Sports editorial team is tasked with selecting our Top 25 Division I college football teams for the Student Media Poll.
The SMP is a nation-wide poll that features 122 student journalists from all different FBS conferences. There are voters from 69 different schools across 34 states. The SMP is in its second year.
The Post Sports will break down our ballots each week. Here are our top five, those we kicked out of the Top 25 and those we added:
Molly Burchard, Asst. Sports Editor
- Ohio State
Georgia took the top spot in my poll for Week 2. It has been consistent for the first two weeks of the season and is the defending national champion. Yes, it just beat Samford 33-0, but it also proved they could win big against historically good programs like Oregon.
I previously had Alabama at No. 1 in my preseason and Week 1 polls, but dropped it to No. 2 after it almost lost to Texas on Saturday. Yes, Alabama did win, but not without looking shaky. It’s still a very good team, but in order to be No. 1, Alabama must be able to dominate other Top 25 teams, not just smaller programs.
Ohio State has also been consistently good in the first two weeks of the season, but I had a hard time putting it above Georgia and Alabama, which is why it stays at No. 3 in my poll.
Michigan and Clemson are at No. 4 and 5, which is where I had them in the Week 1 poll. Although none of the teams either program has faced so far this season have been that tough, Michigan and Clemson continue to play well.
Who I added:
Appalachian State, Texas, Penn State
Appalachian State is coming off a big Week 2 upset against No. 6 ranked Texas A&M, and stayed neck-and-neck with North Carolina in week one. For that reason, it cracked my Top 25 at No. 22.
Texas secured my No. 24 spot for almost beating Alabama, and Penn State snagged spot 25 after beating Purdue and Ohio in Weeks 1 and 2.
Who I dropped:
Notre Dame, Oregon, Wisconsin
The first team I pulled out of the Top 25 is Notre Dame. This may seem a bit harsh, but Notre Dame is now 0-2. Its loss against No. 2 ranked Ohio State was understandable and somewhat expected, but Notre Dame’s 26-21 loss to Marshall on Saturday was unforgivable. Marshall’s defense made quick work of Notre Dame, earning two sacks and two interceptions.
I also took Oregon out of the Top 25, despite its 70-14 win against Eastern Washington. Eastern Washington is an FCS team, so Oregon’s 56 point smackdown didn’t come as a shock. The win wasn’t enough to keep them in the Top 25 because there are a lot of other teams who, even though they may have lost this week, are more competitive against other Top 25 teams.
Wisconsin also dropped out completely after its 17-14 loss to Washington State.
Teams who are still in the Top 25 but dropped significantly are Texas A&M and Baylor. Both lost Saturday, but I believe they will continue to be competitive and win big games for the rest of the season.
Will Cunningham, Sports Editor
- Ohio State
Even after a close win over Texas, Alabama remains No. 1 in my poll. We saw some flaws with the Crimson Tide on Saturday, but until they lose, they stay atop my poll.
Ohio State remains at No. 2, where I have had them since the preseason. The Buckeyes didn’t drop after being threatened in Week 1 by Notre Dame, and they won’t drop after comfortably dispatching Arkansas State, despite how good my No. 3 team has looked this season.
That team is Georgia, who have only stayed at three because the teams above them have not yet lost. The top three are on a different level than every other team in the country, and one has to be third.
Clemson holds onto its spot at No. 4, but given how poorly the offense has played up to this point, it may not hold on for long. After the top three, there is a jumble of other teams, and Clemson is on top, for now.
Michigan, who replaced Notre Dame at No. 5 after Week 1, retains its spot after another dominant win, this time over Hawaii. The Wolverines’ nonconference schedule is a joke, but as long as they keep winning by 40, they will stay in the top five.
Who I Added:
Tennessee, Appalachian State, Syracuse, Kansas
Tennessee enters the rankings after defeating Pitt in overtime. The Volunteers offense is one of the most explosive in the country, and they look to be one of leading contenders to finish second in the Southeastern Conference East, behind Georgia.
After almost knocking off North Carolina in Week 1, Appalachian State finished the job against Texas A&M in Week 2, and a road win over a top six team is easily enough to get into the Top 25. The only disappointment for the Mountaineers is that if they had completed the upset of North Carolina, they would likely be a top 10 team.
Syracuse and Kansas have been two of the most surprising teams of this season, and both now have a signature Power Five win: Syracuse over Louisville and Kansas over West Virginia, and they have been rewarded with the final two spots in my rankings.
Who I Dropped:
Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Houston, Penn State
Notre Dame dropped to 0-2 under first-year head coach Marcus Freeman, and while I didn’t punish the Fighting Irish too much for an 11-point loss in Columbus, losing to Marshall at home means they drop out of the Top 25 completely.
Wisconsin is in a similar situation, as a loss to Washington State means the Badgers lose their tenuous hold on the spot in the rankings. It looks like another disappointing year for the Big Ten West, without a single team in the Top 25 after two weeks.
Houston played its second overtime game of the season and came away with a tough loss to Texas Tech, and were replaced by Appalachian State as the only Group of Five team in my rankings.
It was a bit unfair to drop Penn State, as the Nittany Lions did their job in easily dispatching Ohio. However, there are still concerns about the quarterback situation, as Sean Clifford was unconvincing once again. That being said, if the rankings consisted of 26 teams, Penn State would be in.
Ashley Beach, writer
- Ohio State
Alabama is a clear No. 1 because it has continued to preserve itself. Sure, it almost lost to Texas and had poor play, but Texas played the exact same way. Alabama simply had an off night.
Georgia and Ohio State are steady. Both teams have been in my top three since the preseason rankings. The two will stay there until either makes a blunder. The two have faced big opponents, and Georgia buried Oregon nonetheless.
Clemson dropped one spot in my votes to make room in the top five for Michigan, who climbed three spots from my last ballot. Michigan reclaimed its excellence from last season with two dominant wins. It deserves to be in a top spot.
Who I added:
The Volunteers are on a hot-streak, and admittedly, I forgot to give them a vote last week.
Tennessee easily defeated Ball State 59-10 Week 1 and stomped out No. 23 Pitt 34-27 in overtime during Week 2. It sits third in the Southeastern Conference East, but there is space for Tennessee to grow before conference play.
Who I dropped:
Cincinnati and Florida State
Florida State fell off my poll because of its strength of schedule. It had a narrow 24-23 victory over LSU in Week 1, but then jumped down to play an FCS opponent, Duquesne. Florida State didn’t deserve the No. 25 spot again.
The story is the same for Cincinnati. It went from the College Football Playoff to a brutal Southeastern Conference defeat, but the strength of Cincinnati’s schedule does not earn it a vote. It did win against Kennesaw State, but that is not a strong enough win to earn Cincinnati a vote this week.
Now, both Will and Molly dropped Notre Dame. However, Notre Dame played well against Ohio State and it almost held on against Marshall, so I left it in my poll. I stand by that choice.
The Fighting Irish have a first-year head coach and they started the season against a top five opponent on the road. That’s all a tough go. The Fighting Irish may be fighting for their lives right now, but they will figure things out… eventually.