Tuesday January 31st, 2023 6:16PM

AP Top 25 Reality Check: Should Georgia be No. 1?

By The Associated Press
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Florida entered The Associated Press college football poll with a jolt.

The first regular-season AP Top 25 presented by Regions Bank didn't have much turnover Tuesday because only one ranked team lost to an unranked team. That was Utah falling at the Swamp to the Gators.

The thrilling victory and impressive performance by the tantalizingly talented quarterback Anthony Richardson took Florida from deep into the others receiving votes pile in the preseason to No. 12.

That was the best season debut for a unranked team since 2016, when Texas and Wisconsin used Week 1 victories against ranked opponents to supercharge expectations.

How'd that work out?

Well, Wisconsin's win over then-No. 5 LSU at Lambeau Field in Green Bay was the start of an 11-3 season that ended with a Cotton Bowl victory and a No. 9 final ranking.

Texas, on the other hand, was most definitely not back after it beat then-No. 10 Notre Dame in a wild overtime game. The Longhorns finished 5-7. Notre Dame went 4-8.

Early season college football can be a real liar.

Reality check tries to not to overreact, but all measured restraint is no fun. How did the voters do in balancing those two?

No. 1 Alabama (1-0)

Next: at Texas, Saturday.

Reality check: Seven receivers caught at least two passes in the opener, led by Traeshon Holden, Kobe Prentice and Jermaine Burton with five each. Who emerges as Bryce Young's most reliable targets?

Ranked: Just fine.

No. 2 Georgia (1-0)

Next: vs. Samford, Saturday.

Reality check: Against Oregon, the Bulldogs almost seemed to be making a point of showing off just how explosive they can be and how much their offense has evolved.

Ranked: Could be No. 1.

No. 3 Ohio State (1-0)

Next: vs. Arkansas State, Saturday.

Reality check: The encouraging first outing by the Buckeyes' revamped defense was far more important in the long-term than a glitchy first half by their potent offense.

Ranked: Just right.

No. 4 Michigan (1-0)

Next: vs. Hawaii, Saturday.

Reality check: QB J.J. McCarthy gets the start, and guessing that he won't give up the job without injury again.

Ranked: Somebody has to be fourth.

No. 5 Clemson (1-0)

Next: vs. Furman, Saturday.

Reality check: Put the quarterbacks aside. RB Will Shipley needs to have more than 11 touches in meaningful games for the Tigers.

Ranked: Still seems too high.

No. 6 Texas A&M (1-0)

Next: vs. Appalachian State, Saturday.

Reality check: Aggies season ramps up from FCS to G5 to P5 nonconference (Miami) to SEC West (Arkansas).

Ranked: Seemed high in preseason. Still does.

No. 7 Oklahoma (1-0)

Next: vs. Kent State, Saturday.

Reality check: DE Reggie Grimes had 2 1/2 sacks in the opener as he tries to fill the void left by departed pass rushers in Norman.

Ranked: Maybe a little high, but who knows?

No. 8 Notre Dame (0-1)

Next: vs. Marshall, Saturday.

Reality check: Was Notre Dame's inability to run the ball just about playing the Buckeyes or will that carry over to other competition?

Ranked: About right.

No. 9 Baylor (1-0)

Next: at No. 21 BYU, Saturday.

Reality check: A lot to learn going from a low-level FCS school to a road game against a ranked team.

Ranked: Too high.

No. 10 Southern California (1-0)

Next: at Stanford, Saturday.

Reality check: Trojans had three picks-6s in the blowout against Rice. Probably not repeatable going forward.

Ranked: Too high.

No. 11 Oklahoma State (1-0)

Next: vs. Arizona State, Saturday.

Reality check: Cowboys need a big leap forward from QB Spencer Sanders this season and it got off to a good start with six touchdowns in the opener.

Ranked: About right.

No. 12 Florida (1-0)

Next: vs. No. 20 Kentucky, Saturday.

Reality check: QB Anthony Richardson might be the type of player that can take a team from scrambling to get bowl eligible to challenging for a division title.

Ranked: Little low.

No. 13 Utah (0-1)

Next: vs. Southern Utah, Saturday.

Reality check: Utes came in with questions about the sturdiness of their defensive front and that might be the biggest post-Swamp issue.

Ranked: About right.

No. 14 Michigan State (1-0)

Next: vs. Akron, Saturday.

Reality check: Spartans were hoping to find their next Kenneth Walker in the portal and Jalen Berger (16 carries for 120 yards) showed some flashes.

Ranked: Just right.

No. 15 Miami (1-0)

Next: vs. Southern Mississippi, Saturday.

Reality check: Probably won't learn all that much about the new-look Hurricanes until Week 3 in College Station, Texas.

Ranked: This is fine.

No. 16 Arkansas (1-0)

Next: vs. South Carolina, Saturday.

Reality check: The toughest schedule in the country has few respites with Texas A&M and Alabama before the halfway mark and a trip to BYU at the turn.

Ranked: Little low.

No. 17 Pittsburgh (1-0)

Next: vs. No. 24 Tennessee, Saturday

Reality check: Coach Pat Narduzzi said he wanted Pitt to run it more this season, but 29 carries for 98 yards from its non-quarterback ballcarriers is not the way to do it.

Ranked: Little low.

No. 18 North Carolina State (1-0)

Next: vs. Charleston Southern, Saturday.

Reality check: The trip to ECU turned out to be terrifying, but on the bright side the Wolfpack have lost that game plenty of times.

Ranked: Tad low.

No. 19 Wisconsin (1-0)

Next: vs. Washington State, Saturday.

Reality check: Braelon Allen ripped off the longest run in school history (96 yards) against Illinois State.

Ranked: Too high.

No. 20 Kentucky

Next: at No. 12 Florida, Saturday.

Reality check: There will be a lot of scrutiny on QB Will Levis this season as his potential draft stock has soared past his overall production. First big test.

Ranked: About right.

No. 21 BYU (1-0)

Next: vs. Baylor, Saturday.

Reality check: The Cougars started the season with 314 yards rushing against USF, but it won't come nearly that easy against the Bears.

Ranked: Bit low.

No. 22 Mississippi (1-0)

Next: vs. Central Arkansas, Saturday.

Reality check: At first look, RB Zach Evans was the best of Lane Kiffin's transfer portal additions with 130 yards on 20 carries against Troy.

Ranked: About right.

No. 23 Wake Forest (1-0)

Next: at Vanderbilt, Saturday.

Reality check: Deacs will have QB Sam Hartman (unspecified medical condition) available this week, which could have him back to form for the Clemson game in a few weeks.

Ranked: Just right.

No. 24 Tennessee (1-0)

Next: at No. 17 Pitt Saturday.

Reality check: Vols looked improved defensively against Ball State. Let's see what that looks like against a Power Five opponent on the road.

Ranked: Could have waited to rank the Vols.

No. 25 Houston (1-0)

Next: at Texas Tech, Saturday.

Reality check: The Cougars' offense was sluggish in an overtime win against UTSA. Will need better in Lubbock.

Ranked: Too low.

Should have been ranked: Cincinnati, dumped too soon after a loss at Arkansas; Penn State, which actually beat a pretty good team on the road.


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