AUSTIN, TX – SEPTEMBER 04: The Texas Longhorns mascot performs on the field during the game between the Texas Longhorns and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 4, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Each week, before the rankings come out, we at The Comeback will give you a look at our predictions for upcoming rankings. These aren’t just based on our opinion of what the Top 25 will look like. It’s also based on trends regarding how the voters have treated similar teams in the past.

Here’s a look at the rankings outlook this week.

Biggest risers

Texas (not ranked to No. 12)

They always tell you not to overreact to week one, because week one is prone to flukes. But Texas proved consistently that its win over Notre Dame wasn’t just luck. The Longhorns finally seem to have a good quarterback system, with Shane Buechele and Tyrone Swoopes sharing snaps, and new offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert turned Texas into an honest-to-god up-tempo offense. The coaching and scheme are matching the talent at Texas, and that’s why the Longhorns are legitimately top-15-good.

Wisconsin (NR to No. 15)

The Badgers have one of the toughest schedules in the country, with games versus LSU, vs. Ohio State, at Michigan, at Michigan State and at Iowa, leaving some to wonder whether they would make a bowl game. But they passed the first test against LSU, and while the offense was as inconsistent as expected, the defense was brilliant in shutting down the Tigers. Regardless of how the schedule plays out, if you schedule and beat a top five team in week one, you deserve to shoot up the rankings.

Texas A&M (NR to No. 17)

Of all the big games this weekend, Texas A&M might have been the winner that looked the least convincing. The defense looked much-improved, but still gave up points very quickly in its win against UCLA. The offense is certainly capable under transfer quarterback Trevor Knight, though it was inconsistent. That said, thanks to other losses above them in the rankings, and with lower-ranked teams looking less-than-impressive in their wins, the Aggies will make a big jump with a win over a ranked team.

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 03:  Jamal Adams #33 of the LSU Tigers (R) reacts after being defeated 16-14 by the Wisconsin Badgers at Lambeau Field on September 3, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI – SEPTEMBER 03: Jamal Adams #33 of the LSU Tigers (R) reacts after being defeated 16-14 by the Wisconsin Badgers at Lambeau Field on September 3, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Biggest fallers

LSU (No. 5 to No. 22)

Even in losing the first game, most top 10 teams don’t drop that far, thanks to still-prevailing preconceived notions about their strength. However, LSU didn’t just lose to a Wisconsin team that’s expected to be very “meh” this season. The Tigers looked absolutely lifeless on offense in their 16-14 loss. Combine that with unranked teams pulling off some big upsets, and LSU is really going to fall hard.

Oklahoma (No. 3 to No. 13)

There’s no shame in losing to Houston, as Oklahoma did, and most poll voters realize that. But still, the name “Houston” will subconsciously get voters to put a lot of weight against the Sooners’ loss. OU is a year removed from the College Football Playoff, but the offense really struggled in the 10-point loss to the Cougars, and with enough teams winning directly behind them, the Sooners will take a tumble.

UCLA (No. 16 to NR)

Yes, UCLA took Texas A&M to overtime in its loss at Kyle Field, but the Bruins didn’t play particularly well in that game — at least not well enough to get a pass from the voters. The Bruins’ offense was extraordinarily inconsistent, and quarterback Josh Rosen’s outside shot at a Heisman campaign doesn’t look good, as he threw three interceptions. UCLA will likely make it back into the rankings this year, but has to play much better than it did Saturday.

Projected rankings

  1. Alabama (no change from previous AP poll)
  2. Clemson (no change)
  3. Florida State (+1)
  4. Ohio State (+2)
  5. Michigan (+2)
  6. Stanford (+2)
  7. Houston (+8)
  8. Tennessee (+1)
  9. Georgia (+9)
  10. Michigan State (+2)
  11. Washington (+2)
  12. Texas (+14)
  13. Oklahoma (-10)
  14. TCU (-1)
  15. Wisconsin (+11)
  16. Iowa (+1)
  17. Louisville (+2)
  18. Texas A&M (+9)
  19. Notre Dame (-9)
  20. Ole Miss (-9)
  21. Oklahoma State (no change)
  22. LSU (-17)
  23. Baylor (no change)
  24. Oregon (no change)
  25. Florida (no change)

5 games to watch next week

1. Arkansas at No. 13 TCU

Both teams struggled with inferior opponents last week, so this is a big week for each to prove they belong. Arkansas would vault into the rankings with a win, and TCU might completely fall out of the top 25 with a loss.

2. Virginia Tech vs. No. 9 Tennessee

The Battle at Bristol could have major top 10 rankings implications. Is Tennessee actually a College Football Playoff sleeper? The Vols can’t play like they did in an escape win against Appalachian State this week.

3. Penn State at Pitt

Neither team is ranked this week, and with good reason. But one of them could jump into the rankings with a win.

4. BYU at Utah

From a pure college football perspective, watch because it’s the Holy War. From a rankings perspective, the winner could sneak in if enough teams ahead of them lose.

5. Kentucky at No. 25 Florida

Kentucky lost to Southern Miss this week and is probably not getting ranked at any point this season, but the Wildcats can at least score points. That has to worry Florida, which would certainly drop out of the top 25 with a loss.

About Kevin Trahan

Kevin mostly covers college football and college basketball, with an emphasis on NCAA issues and other legal issues in sports. He is also an incoming law student. He's written for SB Nation, USA Today, VICE Sports, The Guardian and The Wall Street Journal, among others. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.

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