ESPN 2023 college football Power Rankings after Week 2


Huddled in a corner of Bryant-Denny Stadium, Texas players sang the “Eyes of Texas” to a large contingent of fans in burnt orange T-shirts and arms raised with Hook ‘Em hand signs Saturday night. It was a rare scene.

Texas’ 34-24 win over No. 3 Alabama was the Longhorns’ first against an AP Top-3 team since 2008 against Oklahoma. It was their first against Alabama since the 1982 Cotton Bowl, and the first by double-digits against Alabama since the 1948 Sugar Bowl.

For Alabama it was their first loss by double digits when entering the fourth quarter since 2008 against Florida in the SEC title game, and it snapped a 21-game home win streak (longest active home win streak in FBS).

The win launched Texas up to No. 4 in this week’s power rankings.

Here’s a look at Texas and the rest of the power rankings after Week 2 of the college football season.


Quarterback Carson Beck delivered a workmanlike 283 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, and if you’re offensive coordinator Mike Bobo you have to like the way the ball was spread around with 12 different players catching passes. But the story once again was the Georgia defense, which pitched a first-half shutout for the 21st time since the start of the 2021 season — the most during that span. Ball State got a fourth quarter field goal to avoid the full shutout, but only 3 points allowed and 2.8 yards per rush allowed should have Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart feeling good about his team’s effort. — Alex Scarborough

Up next: vs. South Carolina (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)


The Seminoles were not perfect against Southern Miss, but you would not know it from the final score. There was no letdown from Florida State after a big Week 1 win over LSU. Trey Benson ran for three touchdowns, while Keon Coleman added another receiving touchdown — and a ridiculous hurdle after another reception as the starters played a little more than a half. This is the first time Florida State has scored 45 or more points in each of its first two games since 2016. — Andrea Adelson

Up next: at Boston College (noon ET, ABC)


‚ÄčWolverines’ quarterback J.J. McCarthy threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns, completing 22 of 25 passes against UNLV. Through two games, McCarthy owns the second- and third-highest one-game completion percentage by a Michigan quarterback (88% this week and 86.7 last week). He’s the first Big Ten quarterback in the past 25 years to post an 85% completion percentage or higher in consecutive games. Running back Blake Corum put points on the board, as well, running for three touchdowns. The Wolverines defense gave up just seven points to UNLV after holding East Carolina to three points. Despite losing some pieces along the defensive line from last season, they have been dominant through two weeks. — Tom VanHaaren

Up next: vs. Bowling Green (7:30 p.m., Big Ten Network)


Texas and Quinn Ewers made a Texas-sized statement in Tuscaloosa, beating No. 3 Alabama and snapping the Tide’s 21-game home winning streak. Ewers completed 24 of 38 passes for 349 yards with a 44-yard TD to Xavier Worthy and 7- and 39-yard TD strikes to Georgia transfer Adonai Mitchell. The defense, much-maligned in recent years, intercepted Jalen Milroe twice and held the Tide to 107 yards rushing and 3.1 yards an attempt. This was the win Texas fans have been awaiting since Steve Sarkisian arrived from Alabama. The hype around this Texas team was legit, and the toughest game on their schedule this year is now behind them. — Dave Wilson

Up next: vs. Wyoming (8 p.m. ET, Longhorn Network)


Caleb Williams needed only half a game to throw for 300 yards, three touchdowns and add a rushing score to boot as the Trojans dominated Stanford in the Pac-12 finale between the two teams. An invigorated USC defense had their best performance of the season, limiting the Cardinal offense to only three points through three quarters while also forcing two turnovers. Thanks to Williams’ play, rushing touchdowns from MarShawn Lloyd and Austin Jones as well as a 75-yard punt return TD by the electric freshman Zachariah Branch, the second half was a mere formality and another chance for USC to test out its depth ahead of a bye week and tougher matchups to come— Paolo Uggetti

Up next: at Arizona State, Sept. 23


The Nittany Lions’ run game was in full effect, accounting for touchdowns on their first four possessions of a 63-7 win over Delaware. Kaytron Allen (103 rushing yards, one TD) and Nicholas Singleton (47 rushing yards, three TDs) took turns for an offense that churned out 315 rushing yards. The two sophomore running backs allowed Penn State to control the clock considerably, scoring on eight of 11 possessions. Quarterback Drew Allar completed 22 of 26 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown, hitting eight different receivers and adding a one-yard TD run. Defensively, the Nittany Lions held Delaware to 140 total yards, and linebacker Dominic DeLuca had a 26-yard pick-six. — Blake Baumgartner

Up next: at Illinois (noon ET, Fox)


After an unsettling offensive opener against Indiana that largely ignored its star wide receivers, Ohio State not surprisingly got right against FCS Youngstown State. Quarterback Kyle McCord found Biletnikoff Award favorite Marvin Harrison Jr. for a 71-yard touchdown on the game’s opening possession, and a 39-yard score later in the first quarter. Harrison and fellow standout receiver Emeka Egbuka, who had only five receptions and 34 yards against Indiana, steadied themselves with a combined 254 yards and three touchdowns on 12 receptions. McCord looked more comfortable, finishing with 258 passing yards and three touchdowns, and running back TreVeyon Henderson averaged 11.2 yards per carry with two scores. Ohio State still has room to improve, scoring only once after halftime and struggling a bit on early third-down chances. But the much-maligned defense has allowed only 10 points through two games, as high-powered Western Kentucky visits next week. — Adam Rittenberg

Up next: vs. Western Kentucky (4 p.m. ET, FOX)


Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. did nothing to hurt his Heisman Trophy candidacy in a win against Tulsa, completing 28 of 38 passes for 409 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. He completed passes to 10 different receivers. The Huskies racked up 563 total yards and had two 100-yard receivers in Jalen McMillan (eight receptions for 120 yards and a score) and Rome Odunze (seven catches for 107 yards and a TD). Two receivers — Ja’Lynn Polk and Odunze — each ran for a touchdown as well. Washington tallied at least 37 points for the fifth time in its last six games, dating back to last season. — Baumgartner

Up next: at Michigan State (5 p.m. ET, Peacock)


In 2016, Notre Dame played in hurricane conditions at NC State and lost 10-3 as part of a miserable 4-8 season. The Irish wouldn’t let another weather-impacted game in Raleigh derail them, overcoming a one-hour, 45-minute delay early in the second quarter to pull away from the Wolfpack behind a big-play offense and an aggressive defense. Al Golden’s blitzing defense harassed NC State quarterback Brennan Armstrong and picked off three passes, including interceptions on consecutive possessions, by Xavier Watts and DJ Brown to prevent any chance of a rally. Audric Estime set the tone on offense early by racing for an 80-yard touchdown. Quarterback Sam Hartman had four more touchdown passes to give him 10 through three games at Notre Dame, which won its 29th consecutive regular-season game against an ACC foe, tying Florida State (1992-95) for the league record. — Rittenberg

Up next: vs. Central Michigan (2:30 p.m., ET, Peacock)


Since coming to Tennessee, Josh Heupel’s Tennessee teams have typically beaten up on the teams the Vols were supposed to. That wasn’t the case Saturday as Tennessee sputtered to a 30-13 win in its home opener over FCS foe Austin Peay, the same Austin Peay team that lost 49-23 in its opener to Southern Illinois. The game was tied at 6-6 with 4:55 left in the second quarter, and the Vols didn’t score their first touchdown until the 15-second mark of the second quarter when quarterback Joe Milton III scored on a 6-yard run. The Vols had 10 penalties for 88 yards, lost a fumble in the red zone and gave up a 52-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. Austin Peay actually had more first downs than Tennessee (19 to 17), so it was anything but a clean performance for the Vols, who have some things to clean up before they travel to Florida for their SEC opener next week. — Chris Low

Up next: at Florida (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)


With Jalen Milroe, apparently you have to take the good with the bad. The good being elite athleticism running the ball, and a strong arm to take shots deep. The bad being that you never know quite what you’re going to get with the rest of his game. Too often he stares down receivers and telegraphs his passes. Twice Texas took advantage with interceptions. And lest we put the loss all on Milroe’s shoulders, the running game didn’t do much, and the offensive line consistently allowed pressure. The defense, on the other hand, was good at points but couldn’t get home and sack the quarterback and was exposed when Quinn Ewers decided he wanted to let it rip. A non-conference 34-24 loss this early doesn’t mean Alabama’s season is over. But it doesn’t portend anything good. — Scarborough

Up next: at South Florida (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)


The Utes went into Waco without starting quarterback Cam Rising for a second straight game, and this time, his absence really showed. While dueling QBs Bryson Barnes and Nate Johnson were able to keep the Utes afloat against Florida in the season opener, both struggled to get anything going against Baylor, combining for only 153 passing yards and zero touchdowns the entire game. The Utes somehow managed to outlast Baylor thanks to a game-tying drive in the fourth quarter and an ensuing interception from safety Cole Bishop, which set up the game-winning drive. Ja’Quinden Jackson tallied 129 of the team’s 224 yards on the ground. A 2-0 start was almost ruined by a miracle Baylor drive with less than 30 seconds left in the game. After allowing a 47-yard pass that left a single second on the clock, the Utes found some luck when a throw to the end zone as time expired was not called for defensive pass interference, which would have given the Bears another shot at tying or winning the game in regulation. — Uggetti

Up next: vs. Weber State (2 p.m. ET, PAC-12 Network)


The Ducks rode a 20-3 fourth quarter to erase a 9-point deficit and win 38-30 at Texas Tech. Quarterback Bo Nix turned in what has become an expected performance from him in an Oregon uniform: 32 of 44 completed passes, 359 yards with two TD passes, along with 46 yards on nine carries. He outshined former Oregon QB Tyler Shough, who rushed for 101 yards and passed for 282, but threw three costly interceptions including a pick-six in the game’s waning moments that ended any shot of a Tech upset. — Kyle Bonagura

Up next: vs. Hawai’i (8 p.m., PAC-12 Network)


Two games in and Oregon State is still waiting for its first competitive game. FCS UC Davis hardly resembled a speed bump as the Beavers got their starters out of the game early, opening up the freshly-renovated Reser Stadium in style. Their next opponent, San Diego State, figures to provide a more difficult test, but after a 25-point loss to UCLA, the Beavers will be strong favorites to finish nonconference play undefeated. — Bonagura

Up next: vs. San Diego State (3:30 p.m., FS1)


The best kind of early season tuneup is one in which you get punched in the mouth and respond beautifully. Troy punched, and Kansas State responded. The Trojans scored to cut an early K-State lead to 14-10 late in the first half, and it looked destined to go to halftime with that score. Instead, quarterback Will Howard completed a 38-yard touchdown to Phillip Brooks with 10 seconds left in the half. In the second half, one Howard touchdown pass and two Howard keepers turned this one into a 42-13 laugher. Howard finished with 250 yards and had a hand in five touchdowns, and the defending Sun Belt champions just couldn’t keep up. — Bill Connelly

Up next: at Missouri (noon, SEC Network)


Coming into the season, it was fair to think Colorado — having gone 1-11 the year before — could start 0-2 with games at TCU and home against Nebraska. Instead, the Buffs sit at 2-0 with a pair of impressive victories and will welcome ESPN’s College GameDay to campus next week as a heavy favorite to triple its win total from last year before the start of conference play. Colorado started slowly against Nebraska, but was in control for nearly the entirety in a 36-14 win. It was a particularly encouraging performance from the defense, which rebounded from giving up 42 points last week and limited the Huskers to few scoring chances. — Bonagura

Up next: vs. Colorado State (10 p.m. ET, ESPN)


The offense that was such a mess in the season-opener against Florida State found itself on Saturday, scoring 72 points against Grambling. Jayden Daniels, whose Heisman Trophy campaign started with a dud, showed signs of life again with 269 yards and five touchdowns. And a nonexistent running game showed up to the tune of 302 yards, five touchdowns and an average of 6.3 yards per carry. In other words: it was the perfect get-right game ahead of next week’s trip to Mississippi State and the start of the SEC schedule. — Scarborough

Up next: at Mississippi State (noon ET, ESPN)


It is probably safe to say North Carolina does not want to see Appalachian State back on its schedule any time soon. A year after a wild 63-61 win, North Carolina needed double overtime to beat the Mountaineers 40-34. Omarion Hampton ran for 234 yards and three touchdowns as the Tar Heels relied on their ground game. In all, North Carolina had at least 300 rushing yards and 5 rushing touchdowns in a game for the seventh time since Mack Brown rejoined the program in 2019, the most by any Power 5 team during that span. Quarterback Drake Maye did not have a touchdown pass for just the third time in his career. — Adelson

Up next: vs. Minnesota (3:30 p.m. ET)


The Rebels won their first road game against a nationally ranked opponent under Lane Kiffin and showed some serious grit in doing so. Leading receiver Tre Harris was injured in the first quarter after catching a 31-yard touchdown pass from Jaxson Dart and didn’t return to the game. And after falling behind 17-7 in the second quarter, Ole Miss owned the second half and went home with a 37-20 victory over Tulane in the kind of road environment that most SEC teams try to avoid – playing a Group of 5 team on its campus. The Rebels caught a break in that Tulane starting quarterback Michael Pratt was injured and didn’t play, but they also made their own breaks, particularly on defense. Deantre Prince returned an interception 44 yards to set up a fourth-quarter field goal and break a 17-17 tie, and Jared Ivey had a 26-yard fumble return for a touchdown to cap the game. For the second straight game, Ole Miss running back Quinshon Judkins had a quiet game. He finished with 48 rushing yards after rushing for 60 in the opener. — Low

Up next: vs. Georgia Tech (7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network)


Coach Brent Venables’ Sooners moved to 2-0 with a workmanlike 28-11 win over what appears to be a rock solid SMU. OU led 14-3 for most of the second and third quarters but faced a gut check when SMU cut the lead to three early in the fourth. They responded by driving 75 yards for a touchdown, forcing a quick four-and-out, then scoring the game-clinching points on a 27-yard Dillon Gabriel-to-Marcus Major pass. Gabriel finished with just 19 completions for 176 yards, but four of those completions went for scores, and thanks in part to a huge game from linebacker Danny Stutsman (17 tackles, 2.5 for loss), the Sooner defense made a number of huge stops. — Connelly

Up next: at Tulsa (3:30 p.m. ET)


The Blue Devils got off to a slow start against Lafayette, and who could blame them after an emotional win over Clemson just five days before? Once Duke settled down, they cruised to a 42-7 victory. Quarterbacks Riley Leonard and Henry Belin IV combined to go 20-of-20 passing in the game. According to ESPN Stats & Information, they are the first FBS duo since 1996 to each throw for 100 passing yards with a 100% completion percentage in the same game. Duke held Lafayette to 213 total yards. — Adelson

Up next: vs. Northwestern (3:30 p.m. ET, ACC Network)


Nobody is going to declare Miami back after a 48-33 win over Texas A&M, but it is clear the Hurricanes are a markedly improved team from a year ago. The Hurricanes completely controlled the second half, and quarterback Tyler Van Dyke played his best game since 2021, becoming the first player in Miami history to throw five passing touchdowns against an AP Top 25 opponent. Its 48 points are the most against an AP-ranked team since scoring 56 in a win over then No. 18 Virginia Tech on Dec. 7, 2002. Those two stats perfectly illustrate where Miami has been — and where it has the potential to go. — Adelson

Up next: vs. Bethune (7:30 p.m. ET, ACC Network)


Despite being a 6.5-point home underdog, the Cougars were in control for most of their 31-22 win against No. 19 Wisconsin. There were some shaky moments in the third quarter as Wisconsin came within a missed two-point conversion of tying the game, but the Cougars defense stodd tall and shut down the Badgers on their final three possessions. With a game against FCS Northern Colorado next week, WSU looks like a safe bet to head into the unofficial Pac-2 championship game against Oregon State on Sept. 23 in what will likely be a matchup between ranked teams. — Bonagura

Up next: vs. Northern Colorado (5 p.m. ET)


After generating only seven points and 150 yards in last year’s home loss to Iowa State, Iowa exceeded both totals somewhat easily in coach Kirk Ferentz’s 200th overall victory and sixth straight in Ames. Coordinator Brian Ferentz’s offense is far from dominant, especially when it gets behind the chains, but boasts some playmakers in tight end tandem Luke Lachey and Erick All, and emerging redshirt freshman running back Jaizun Patterson, who had a 59-yard run and tacked on a touchdown. Iowa not surprisingly won with defense, as Sebastian Castro returned an interception for a touchdown and the line stoned Cartevious Norton on fourth-and-1 after ISU had closed to within a touchdown. Iowa has only 44 points (37 on offense) through its first two games, but Kirk Ferentz likes the unit’s potential to grow behind quarterback Cade McNamara, who struggled with the deep ball against ISU but came out of the game setback-free with his quad injury. — Rittenberg

Up next: vs. Western Michigan (3:30 p.m. Big Ten Network)


True freshman quarterback Dante Moore not only started the game and played every potential snap at the position until garbage time, but also threw for 290 yards and three touchdowns on his way to leading the Bruins to a commanding 35-10 win over San Diego State. UCLA added 254 yards on the ground as a team as well as two rushing touchdowns. The story of the game, though, was once again Moore, who averaged nearly 11 yards a throw and showed exactly why he was such a highly touted recruit and the likely starter for the Bruins headed forward into conference play. — Uggetti

Up next: vs. North Carolina Central (5 p.m. ET)



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