1. Texas (1-0) (Next: UTEP)
Texas head coach Charlie Strong needs a big year out of his Longhorns. It is no secret that his job could be in jeopardy if they struggle again this year. But if Sunday night was any indication of how this year will go, Strong looks to be safe. Texas knocked off No. 10 Notre Dame, 50-47 in double overtime. Freshman quarterback Shane Buechele threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns, while running for another score. Senior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes ran for 53 yards and three scores. Behind those two quarterbacks, the Longhorns take over the No. 1 spot in the power rankings.
2. Oklahoma (0-1) (Next: UL Monroe)
Yes, No. 3 Oklahoma lost its season opener to No. 15 Houston, 33-23. And while it might have been a bit of an embarrassing game for the Sooners given how highly regarded they were entering the year, it isn’t enough to knock them down far. Houston is good. Like, really good. The Cougars have a chance to make the College Football Playoff. For Oklahoma, junior quarterback Baker Mayfield had a very impressive outing, throwing for 323 yards and two touchdowns. It was a tough test to start the year for Oklahoma, so don’t even think about writing them off yet.
3. Oklahoma State (1-0) (Next: Central Michigan)
No. 21 Oklahoma State put up 61 points on Saturday. Its opponent only hung seven points. Impressive? Very. But don’t get too excited yet. The Cowboys played Southeast Louisiana. Junior quarterback Mason Rudolph threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Jhajuan Seales caught two touchdowns. But in all reality, those players did what they were expected to do. The Cowboys will get a little bit of a tougher test next week against Central Michigan. Not much tougher, but a little bit.
4. Baylor (1-0) (Next: SMU)
Nothing like a 48-0 first half against an inferior opponent, Northwestern State, to make Baylor feel really good about themselves. The Bears showed some mercy in the second half and only ended up winning 55-7. Senior quarterback Seth Russell threw for four touchdowns. Baylor, like usual, doesn’t have much of a challenge in its nonconference schedule, so we will have to wait until Big 12 play to see what the Bears are made of.
5. Texas Tech (1-0) (Next: Arizona State)
The Red Raiders beat Stephen F. Austin 69-17 in Lubbock, Texas, behind junior quarterback Patrick Mahomes II’s 483 passing yards and four touchdowns. This game, much like what Baylor had, was not a challenge at all but was still impressive. The Texas Tech offense is for real this year. We knew this before the weekend. The question still is, does Texas Tech have a defense? We will find out next week against Arizona State.
6. Kansas State (0-1) (Next: Florida Atlantic)
Kansas State could have beaten No. 8 Stanford. Some would say K-State should have beaten Stanford. But that’s sports for you. Could’ve, should’ve, would’ve. The Wildcats struggled offensively, as junior quarterback Jesse Ertz threw for 207 yards and a touchdown, most of which came in the fourth quarter. And the ground game was nonexistent for K-State. But the Wildcats’ defense impressed many on Friday night. Heisman hopeful Christian McCaffrey ran for 126 yards, but 76 came on his two touchdown runs. Outside of that, K-State held McCaffrey to 50 yards on 20 carries. K-State’s defense is an early strength and could continue to be a strength in 2016.
7. West Virginia (1-0) (Next: Youngstown State)
The Mountaineers opened up the year with a nice 26-11 win over Missouri. Senior quarterback Skyler Howard threw for an impressive 253 yards, but no passing touchdowns. Beating an SEC team by 15 points in the season opener is an impressive feat, no doubt. But at the same time, it was Missouri. Missouri is clearly a struggling program, and it would have been a little more impressive had West Virginia dominated a little more.
8. TCU (1-0) (Next: Arkansas)
This may come off a little bit harsh, considering how highly regarded the Horned Frogs were entering the season. But Saturday night was a downright embarrassment for TCU. No. 13 in the country, at home in the season opener and still only narrowly escape South Dakota State? Late in the fourth quarter, the Jackrabbits’ starting quarterback suffered an ankle injury, which propelled the Horned Frogs to the win. Had that no happened, who knows what the end result would have been. TCU needs to step it up next week against Arkansas if they want to stay in the hunt for the College Football Playoff.
9. Kansas (1-0) (Next: Ohio)
Kansas won a football game. No, you didn’t read that wrong. After an 0-12 season in 2015, the Jayhawks started out 2016 with a win. And a convincing one at that. Granted, a 55-6 win over Rhode Island isn’t exactly an impressive win. But it was one they needed. Junior quarterback Montell Cozart threw for 199 yards and three touchdowns, while sophomore quarterback Ryan Willis threw for 144 yards and two scores. The Jayhawks have an ongoing quarterback competition entering next week’s game against Ohio, but the Jayhawks have confidence entering week two. Don’t be shocked if they start the season 2-0.
10. Iowa State (0-1) (Next: Iowa)
There couldn’t be a worse way for first-year head coach Matt Campbell to start his career at Iowa State than the 25-20 loss to Northern Iowa. Junior quarterback Joel Lanning threw for 256 yards and three touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions. And sophomore running back Mike Warren, possibly the top offensive weapon for Iowa State, was held to just 30 yards on 12 carries. Iowa State has a problem it needs to fix, and fast. The Cyclones are going to Iowa City, next week to face the No. 17 Hawkeyes for the Cy-Hawk trophy and that will not be an easy second game.