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College Football Rankings: NCAAF Top 25 (After Week 3)

Bryce Young, Alabama Crimson Tide Football

Bryce Young, Alabama Crimson Tide Football

Weekly college football top 25 rankings are a big part of every season, and Athlon Sports will update its top 25 following the games each weekend. The third weekend of the 2021 season was headlined by Alabama's win at Florida, Penn State's victory against Auburn and Fresno State's upset of UCLA. Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma and Oregon take the top four spots, with Texas A&M at No. 5 and Iowa at No. 6 in the post-Week 3 top 25 rankings. With the third week of the 2021 season officially in the books, here are the top 25 teams in college football:

College Football Top 25 Rankings (After Week 3)

1. Alabama (3-0)
Week 3 Result:
Defeated Florida

Crimson Tide survive upset-minded Gators, and there’s plenty for coach Nick Saban to work on before the heart of SEC play arrives. Alabama needs to get better up front on offense and has to stop the run better on defense.

2. Georgia (3-0)
Week 3 Result:
Defeated South Carolina

The Bulldogs finally allowed an offensive touchdown, but quarterback JT Daniels threw for 303 yards in his return, as coach Kirby Smart’s team crushed South Carolina 40-13.

3. Oklahoma (3-0)
Week 3 Result:
Defeated Nebraska

The Sooners beat Nebraska to move to 3-0, but coach Lincoln Riley’s team hasn’t played up to its potential this year. Quarterback Spencer Rattler has to perform at a higher level for this team to win it all in 2021.

4. Oregon (3-0)
Week 3 Result:
Defeated Stony Brook

No letdown for the Ducks after last week’s win at Ohio State. Oregon’s defense limited Stony Brook to just 4.4 yards per play, and the offense scored on eight of 12 drives to score a 48-7 victory.

5. Texas A&M (3-0)
Week 3 Result:
Defeated New Mexico

Quarterback Zach Calzada was solid (19 of 33 for 275 yards and three scores) in his first start. The Aggies were solid as always on defense, limiting New Mexico to just 122 yards in a 34-0 win.

6. Iowa (3-0)
Week 3 Result:
Defeated Kent State

Another week, another stellar effort from Iowa’s defense. The Hawkeyes limited Kent State to seven points and 4.1 yards a snap over 64 plays. Running back Tyler Goodson also chipped in three rushing scores and 153 yards over 22 carries in the 30-7 win.

7. Penn State (3-0)
Week 3 Result:
Defeated Auburn

Sean Clifford had an uneven performance in 2020, but the quarterback has rebounded in a big way this year. Clifford connected on 28 of 32 throws for 280 yards and two scores and added 24 yards to lift Penn State to a 28-20 win over Auburn.

8. Cincinnati (3-0)
Week 3 Result:
Defeated Indiana

The Bearcats checked off a major piece in their quest to make the CFB Playoff by beating Indiana 38-24. After a slow start, Cincinnati’s offense scored on six of its final seven drives, and the defense did not allow the Hoosiers to score in the fourth quarter.

9. Clemson (2-1)
Week 3 Result:
Defeated Georgia Tech

Clemson’s offense remains a work in progress after averaging only 4.3 yards per play against Georgia Tech. However, the Tigers have time to fix the issues before the stretch run to the CFB Playoff.

10. Ohio State (2-1)
Week 3 Result:
Defeated Tulsa

Freshman TreVeyon Henderson is the next star back in Columbus, but the defense still needs a lot of work after giving up 501 yards to Tulsa in Saturday’s 41-20 win.

11. Florida (2-1)
Week 3 Result:
Lost to Alabama

Nothing for coach Dan Mullen’s team to be ashamed about despite Saturday’s 31-29 loss to Alabama. The Gators outgained the Crimson Tide 439 to 324, showed improvement after a rocky year on defense and had a chance to get a stop and play for the win in the fourth quarter.

12. Notre Dame (3-0)
Week 3 Result:
Defeated Purdue

Timely big plays by the defense, quarterback Jack Coan and running back Kyren Williams ensured Notre Dame wouldn’t fall victim to an upset loss versus Purdue. 

13. Ole Miss (3-0)
Week 3 Result:
Defeated Tulane

Quarterback Matt Corral shredded Tulane’s defense for seven overall touchdowns to help Ole Miss to its first 3-0 start since 2015.

14. BYU (3-0)
Week 3 Result:
Defeated Arizona State

The Cougars picked up another huge win against the Pac-12 by defeating Arizona State 27-17 on Saturday night. BYU is now 3-0 against the Pac-12 this season.

15. Iowa State (2-1)
Week 3 Result:
Defeated UNLV

A blowout victory over UNLV helps remove some of the bad feelings from last week’s loss to rival Iowa. 

16. Wisconsin (1-1)
Week 3 Result:
Off Week

The Badgers were off in Week 3 and return to action next Saturday against Notre Dame in Chicago.

17. Coastal Carolina (3-0)
Week 3 Result: Defeated Buffalo

The Chanticleers’ balanced production on offense (232 passing yards and 228 rushing yards) prevented Buffalo from finding a path to an upset.

18. Arkansas (3-0)
Week 3 Result: Defeated Georgia Southern

A confidence-building performance by quarterback KJ Jefferson (13 of 23 for 366 yards and three scores) versus Georgia Southern could be huge with Texas A&M looming next week.

19. Michigan (3-0)
Week 3 Result: Defeated Northern Illinois

Wolverines continued their fast start to 2021 by winning 63-10 over Northern Illinois on Saturday. Michigan has rushed for over 300 yards in every contest, while the defense has surrendered just 34 points in three games this year. 

20. Michigan State (3-0)
Week 3 Result: Defeated Miami

Spartans join the top 25 after impressive 38-17 win at Miami. Second-year coach Mel Tucker has brought major improvement to Michigan State after a 2-5 debut last fall. 

21. North Carolina (2-1)
Week 3 Result: Defeated Virginia

North Carolina’s offense was on fire in Saturday’s 59-39 win over Virginia. Quarterback Sam Howell accounted for 419 total yards and five scores and guided the attack to an average of 10.3 yards per play.

22. Auburn (2-1)
Week 3 Result: Lost to Penn State

The Tigers showed plenty of positives for new coach Bryan Harsin but fell short against Penn State. However, there’s no shame in a 28-20 loss in Happy Valley.

23. Fresno State (3-1)
Week 3 Result: Defeated UCLA

Late-game heroics from quarterback Jake Haener lift Fresno State to 40-37 upset over UCLA and a spot in the top 25.

24. UCLA (2-1)
Week 3 Result: Lost to Fresno State

Bruins had no answer for Fresno State’s passing game, while a ground attack that entered Week 3 averaging 227 yards a contest was limited to just 117 yards.

25. TCU (2-0)
Week 3 Result: Off Week

The Horned Frogs were off in Week 3 and return to action next Saturday against SMU.