PFF’s Top 25 teams in college football
Gordon McGuinness, Steve Palazzolo and Mike Renner use PFF's data to rank the top 25 teams after Week 1.
PFF’s Top 25 teams in college football
With a wealth of data at our fingertips as we break down and analyze every play of the 2015 college football season, we thought it would be a good idea to give you our thoughts on the top 25 teams in the country. Every week myself, Steve Palazzolo and Mike Renner will combine to come up with the PFF College Top 25.
Here’s a look at where teams stand following Week 1:
1. Ohio State
The defending champions got their season off to an impressive start on Monday night, beating Virginia Tech. Even better news, they get 2014’s highest-graded defensive end Joey Bosa (+66.5) back this week.
The Crimson Tide had one of the toughest teams to go up against in the opening weekend, but they looked relatively comfortable beating a good Wisconsin team on Saturday. Running backs Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake combines to force five missed tackles from 22 carries.
Defensive linemen Andrew Billings (+4.1) and Jamal Palmer (+5.5) really stood out for Baylor this week on defense. Offensively Seth Russell showed an impressive deep arm, going 4-for-11 for 175 yards and two touchdowns on passes 20 yards or more through the air.
They’ll need better performances in the future from quarterback Jeremy Johnson (-3.9), but their defensive front looked outstanding with three sacks, six hits and 17 quarterback hurries against Louisville.
The offense was solid if unspectacular, but the Trojans had 15 defensive players finish the opening game of the season with a grade of +1.0 or higher. A team that’s loaded across the board, they get their first true test against Stanford on the September 19th.
Are we buying the Josh Rosen (+4.1) hype? Well we certainly liked the quarterback’s performance in the season opener, however it’s their loaded defense — with 10 players grading at +2.0 or higher against Virginia — that really has us excited.
7. Michigan State
Quarterback Connor Cook (+2.9) was solid against Western Michigan, but the Spartans are a team that are solid across the board. With a good offensive line and some playmakers on defense, we’ll know more about them after their game with Oregon this weekend.
8. Notre Dame
Did anybody make a bigger statement on the opening weekend than Notre Dame? Quarterback Malik Zaire had three incompletions from his 22 passing attempts, and two of those were drops!
9. Florida State
They may have lost quarterback Jameis Winston to the NFL, but the Seminoles looked impressive as they beat Texas State 59-16. Their schedule isn’t the worst in the country, and they have a really good chance to get to the end of the year deserving playoff consideration.
A win is a win, but we didn’t love the performance against Minnesota. They lost a considerable amount of talent heading into this season and the offense will need to have better days if they are to make some noise late into the year.
The offense put up 61 points but they have a big question mark at quarterback. Vernon Adams (-1.8) graded negatively, which is concerning in such a QB friendly offense. That being said, it’s hard not to like running back Royce Freeman (+5.2), who forced eight missed tackles and had 115 yards after contact on the ground.
The Clemson offense looked good in the opener, and we’re already looking ahead to that October 3rd clash against Notre Dame. They face Appalachian State on Saturday before Louisville the following week, which will be their biggest hurdle if they want to go into that game undefeated.
13. Ole Miss
Ok, so they didn’t do it against a top opponent, but it’s hard to ignore Ole Miss putting up 76 points at the weekend. With such a big win they were able to use a lot of players on both sides of the ball, with five defensive linemen finishing with a grade of +1.0 or higher.
We’re big fans of running back Nick Chubb, who forced 63 missed tackles and ran for 1,550 yards in 2014. The big question mark is at quarterback, but if Greyson Lambert can even be solid throughout the year then they have enough talent to at least make it to the SEC Championship game.
Baker Mayfield put up some good numbers in the 41-3 over the Akron Zips. They have plenty of talent on offense, but face a much tougher test on the road in Knoxville this weekend against the Tennessee Volunteers.
16. Texas A&M
Texas A&M beat a good Arizona State team at the weekend, thanks in no small part to the one man wreaking crew that is Myles Garrett (+8.4), who registered two sacks, a hit and five hurries against the Sun Devils.
17. Georgia Tech
The Yellow Jackets’ offense rolled in the 69-6 win over Alcorn State, as they rushed for a whopping 494 yards. They’ll be in the hunt in the ACC throughout 2015.
Scooby Wright being hurt worries us, but they still had big defensive performances from Will Parks (+6.4) and Anthony Lopez (+5.0). That being said, every starter on the offensive line finished the game with a negative grade, which will need to improve going forward.
19. Boise State
It wasn’t quite the impressive performance you’d have hoped to have seen against a Washington team who lost a lot of talent on defense, but the Broncos defense had an impressive day, particularly in the secondary where every starter graded positively.
20. Mississippi State
Dak Prescott graded well as a runner last year, so despite having his struggles as a passer he should still get things done for the Bulldogs this year. Their first big test comes on Saturday, when they host the LSU Tigers.
They lost to one of the best teams in the country, but there are still reasons for Wisconsin fans to be optimistic. Linebacker Vince Biegel (+4.1) looked very good against the Crimson Tide, grading positively against the run and as a pass rusher.
We won’t really know until they get to SEC play, but the Razorbacks still looked good against UTEP. They should see off Toledo before the tough games start and we see what they are made of.
23. Oklahoma State
You’d have liked to have seen them win by more against Central Michigan, but the Cowboys should head into their game against Texas on September 26tth undefeated.
The right side of the offensive line (-11.6) is a concern, but let’s not take away from a big win on the road for the Cougars. Defensive linemen Bronson Kaufusi (+4.2) and Travis Tuiloma (+4.8) both impressed.
They derailed the first game in the Jim Harbaugh era at Michigan, with standout performances by defensive end Hunter Dimick (+4.8) and defensive tackle Lowell Lotulelei (+4.0). That defensive line has the potential to cause opposing offenses big trouble in 2015.
Gordon McGuinness | Analyst, Lead Special Teams Analyst
Gordon has worked at PFF since 2011, and now heads up the company’s special teams analysis processes. His work in-season focuses on college football, while he is also heavily involved in PFF’s NFL draft coverage.