LSU survived a high-scoring showdown at Texas on Saturday night, and the Tigers might be in position to join college football's upper echelon because of their ... offense?
That's right. The Longhorns couldn't slow down LSU's new hurry-up in, spread offense, and the Tigers might finally have enough firepower to challenge Alabama in the SEC West.
Texas might not be all the way back, but the Longhorns appear to be pretty close to Oklahoma in the Big 12.
Here are the ESPN Power Rankings after Week 2:
1. Clemson (2-0)
After escaping Texas A&M with a two-point victory last season, the Tigers were absolutely dominant in a 24-10 win over the Aggies at Death Valley on Saturday. Clemson moved to 19-2 against ranked opponents over the past five seasons, which is tops in the FBS. The Tigers are also 14-5 against SEC foes since the start of the 2012 season. The Tigers didn't surrender a touchdown until the final seconds of the fourth quarter. That late score snapped Clemson's streak of 11 consecutive victories by 20 points or more, which was the second-longest such streak in the AP poll era (since 1936), according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Up next: at Syracuse (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
2. Alabama (2-0)
Alabama's Henry Ruggs III took a lateral and ran 75 yards for a touchdown on the game's first play Saturday, and the Crimson Tide never slowed down in a 62-10 rout of overmatched New Mexico State. The Crimson Tide had 603 yards of offense, including 318 rushing, and Jerry Jeudy tied an Alabama single-game record with three touchdown catches. Tua Tagovailoa completed 16 of 24 passes for 227 yards with four touchdowns (one rushing) before leaving early in the third quarter.
Up next: at South Carolina (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)
3. LSU (2-0)
The Tigers' new-look offense is for real, and even more surprising, their coaching staff seems committed to opening up the passing game. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow completed 31 of 39 passes for 471 yards with four touchdowns and one interception in a 45-38 victory at Texas. Burrow is the first LSU quarterback to throw for more than 400 passing yards against an AP-ranked opponent since Rohan Davey against Illinois in the 2002 Sugar Bowl. For the first time in school history, the Tigers had three 100-yard receivers (Justin Jefferson had nine catches for 163 yards, Ja'Marr Chase had eight for 147 and Terrace Marshall Jr. had six for 123). One big concern: LSU's defense surrendered 409 passing yards and 38 points.
Up next: vs. Northwestern State (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, SECN)
4. Georgia (2-0)
The Bulldogs got early resistance from FCS foe Murray State before pulling away for a 63-17 victory, their 14th consecutive win at home. The Bulldogs piled up 561 yards of total offense, and a few underclassmen emerged as potential playmakers who can help right away. Tailback Zamir White, who tore the ACL in his left knee during preseason camp in 2018, ran eight times for 72 yards with one touchdown. Freshman receiver George Pickens had four catches for 78 yards with a nifty touchdown, and freshman Dominick Blaylock had three receptions for 48 yards with one score. Georgia played without right tackle Isaiah Wilson (ankle), who had started the previous 15 games.
Up next: vs. Arkansas State (Saturday, noon ET, TV TBD)
5. Oklahoma (2-0)
The Sooners rolled past FCS opponent South Dakota 70-14 on Saturday night, allowing quarterback Jalen Hurts to go to the sideline early. The Alabama transfer threw for 259 yards with three touchdowns on 14-for-18 passing, while running eight times for 47 yards. Two of OU's freshman receivers, Jadon Haselwood and Theo Wease, had big nights as well. Haselwood had three catches for 78 yards with one score; Wease had a 37-yard touchdown on a nice catch and run. They'll have another chance to put up big numbers next week at UCLA, which lost to San Diego State 23-14. The Bruins have started 0-2 in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1942 and '43.
Up next: at UCLA (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, Fox)
6. Ohio State (2-0)
The Justin Fields show continued, as the Georgia transfer had two more touchdown passes and two more scoring runs in a 42-0 rout of Cincinnati on Saturday. His nine total touchdowns is tied for the most by an Ohio State quarterback through two games in the past 15 years; Dwayne Haskins and J.T. Barrett also did it in 2018 and 2016, respectively. Fields completed 20 of 25 passes for 224 yards, and he again excelled in the pocket, completing 18 of 21 attempts for 175 yards with two scores.
Up next: at Indiana (Saturday, noon ET, Fox)
7. Notre Dame (1-0)
The Fighting Irish had an extra week to fix things after their so-so performance in a 35-17 victory at Louisville on Monday night. Notre Dame will be without starting tailback Jafar Armstrong for at least a month because of a groin/abdominal injury. Tony Jones Jr. and Jahmir Smith will be asked to carry the load until he's back. The Irish won't see former coach Bob Davie when New Mexico travels to South Bend, Indiana, next week. Davie won't make the trip because of health problems; offensive line coach/running game coordinator Saga Tuitele will serve as the Lobos' acting head coach.
Up next: vs. New Mexico (Saturday, 2:30 p.m. ET, NBC)
8. Auburn (2-0)
The Tigers got off to a very slow start against Tulane at home on Saturday night, which shouldn't have been a surprise after last week's emotional win over Oregon. The Tigers gained only 41 yards on their first four offensive possessions and ran for just 20 yards in the first half of a 24-6 win over Tulane. Freshman quarterback Bo Nix played well and completed 19 of 37 passes for 207 yards with one touchdown. Auburn's thin receiver corps took a couple of more hits; Seth Williams injured his left shoulder and Will Hastings left with a head injury. Their status for next week wasn't immediately known.
Up next: vs. Kent State (Saturday, 7 p.m., ET, ESPN2/ESPNU)
9. Utah (2-0)
The Utes started slow against Northern Illinois for the second season in a row, before pulling away with a 35-17 victory in Salt Lake City. Utah's defense held the Huskies to only 69 yards of offense in the second half, 67 rushing yards on 25 attempts and only 2-for-12 on third down. Utes quarterback Tyler Huntley completed 14 of 19 passes for 214 yards with one touchdown, and Zack Moss ran for 80 yards with two scores. Moss now has 26 rushing touchdowns in his career, tying Eddie Johnson for second in Utah history (Del Rodgers had 31 from 1978 to '81).
Up next: vs. Idaho State (Saturday, 4:15 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network)
10. Florida (2-0)
After struggling a bit in the Gators' opener against Miami, quarterback Feleipe Franks got a needed confidence boost in a 45-0 shutout of UT Martin. Franks completed 25 of 27 passes for 270 yards with two touchdowns against the FCS team. He completed his first 15 passes, marking the second-longest streak in a single game in UF history, and his completion percentage set a Gators record and is the third-highest mark in SEC history for players with at least 25 pass attempts.
Up next: at Kentucky (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN)
11. Wisconsin (2-0)
The Badgers continued their dominant start with a 61-0 shutout of Central Michigan on Saturday. Combined with last week's 49-0 rout of South Florida, Wisconsin has scored 110 points without allowing a point, which is the second-highest such total by a Big Ten program in the AP poll era. (Illinois scored 113 points without surrendering a point in the first two games of 1942.) Even more important, quarterback Jack Coan continued to play well, completing 26 of 33 passes for 363 yards with three touchdowns. The Badgers had 400 passing yards for only the third time in school history.
Up next: vs. Michigan (Sept. 21, noon ET, Fox)
Slovis throws 3 TDs in 1st USC start
Freshman QB Kedon Slovis throws for three touchdowns in USC's win vs. No. 23 Stanford.
12. Michigan (2-0)
Michigan's overhaul on offense isn't going as planned. For the second game in a row, the Wolverines' offense looked a lot like it did last season. Michigan ran 45 times for 108 yards (2.4 yards per carry) and lost three fumbles (five in two games) in a 24-21 double-overtime victory over Army at the Big House. Quarterback Shea Patterson averaged 7.1 yards on 29 pass attempts and hasn't shown much improvement under new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis. The good news is Michigan's defense keeps bailing out the offense. The Wolverines will have an extra week to try to get things right before opening Big Ten play at Wisconsin.
Up next: at Wisconsin (Sept. 21, noon ET, Fox)
13. UCF (2-0)
Knights coach Josh Heupel made a surprise move by replacing Notre Dame transfer Brandon Wimbush with true freshman Dillon Gabriel for Saturday night's game at Florida Atlantic. Gabriel completed 7 of 19 passes for 245 yards with two touchdowns and ran for another score in a 48-14 victory. Wimbush didn't play at all against the Owls. He started the opener against FCS opponent Florida A&M and passed for 168 yards with two scores. Gabriel also played well against the Rattlers with 127 yards and three touchdowns. It's unclear who will be the starting quarterback going forward.
Up next: vs. Stanford (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2)
14. Oregon (1-1)
The Ducks bounced back from their disappointing offensive performance against Auburn in the opener by routing Nevada 77-6 on Saturday night. Quarterback Justin Herbert had 310 passing yards with five touchdowns. He joined Marcus Mariota and Joey Harrington as the only Oregon players with multiple games with five touchdowns or more. Mariota did it four times; Harrington did it twice. Even more impressive, Oregon's defense held Nevada to only 192 yards of offense (83 rushing on 40 attempts) and forced four turnovers in new coordinator Andy Avalos' second game.
Up next: vs. Montana (Saturday, 10:45 p.m. ET, Pac-12)
15. Texas (1-1)
OK, so maybe the Longhorns aren't all the way back yet. After boasting that Texas was the real "DBU," the Longhorns were victimized by LSU quarterback Joe Burrow and his receivers in a 45-38 loss at home. While Burrow made some difficult throws and took some hits, LSU's receivers were running open on too many other plays. The good news is Texas' offense moved the ball at will against LSU's defense, too. Quarterback Sam Ehlinger threw for 401 yards with four touchdowns and ran 19 times for 60 yards with one score.
Up next: at Rice (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, CBSSN)
16. Iowa (2-0)
The Hawkeyes became the latest Big Ten team to dismantle Rutgers with a 30-0 rout on Saturday. It was the eighth time the Scarlet Knights didn't score in a game since joining the league in 2014. No other team in the conference has been shut out more than three times during that span. Iowa's defense held Rutgers to five first downs, 41 passing yards and 125 yards of offense. Iowa travels to Ames, Iowa, next week, where the Cy-Hawk Trophy will be on the line. The Hawkeyes have defeated Iowa State four straight times and have won the past three games in Ames.
Up next: at Iowa State (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, FS1)
17. Penn State (2-0)
The Nittany Lions played so poorly in the first half against Buffalo on Saturday that they actually heard a few boos while running to the locker room. Penn State trailed 10-7 at the half, after the Bulls ran 46 offensive plays to the Nittany Lions' 20, outgained them 270-82 in total yards and held the ball for about 21½ minutes. The Nittany Lions played much better in the second half, scoring four touchdowns in the third quarter to pull away with a 45-13 victory.
Up next: vs. Pittsburgh (Saturday, noon ET, ABC)
18. Michigan State (2-0)
The Spartans' offense looked a lot better in its 51-17 win over Western Michigan than it did in a sloppy win over Tulsa in the opener. Michigan State had 31 first downs, 582 yards of offense and only two penalties (after piling up 14 against the Golden Hurricane). Quarterback Brian Lewerke had 314 passing yards with three touchdowns, and Elijah Collins ran 17 times for 192 yards. It was Mark Dantonio's 109th win as MSU's coach, tying him with Duffy Daugherty for most in school history.
Up next: vs. Arizona State (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, Fox)
19. Texas A&M (1-1)
If Saturday's loss at Clemson is any indication, Year 2 under Jimbo Fisher might be a bit of a rebuilding season. The Aggies couldn't block Clemson's menacing defensive front, and quarterback Kellen Mond was hurried and hit early and often. A year ago, he completed 12 of 19 passes for 306 yards with two touchdowns on throws of 10 yards or longer against the Tigers. On Saturday, he completed 6 of 15 passes for 91 yards with one interception on such attempts. With games remaining against Auburn, Alabama, Georgia and LSU, which are similarly talented on defense, it might be a struggle for Texas A&M's offense this season.
Up next: vs. Lamar (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPNU)
20. Washington State (2-0)
The Mike Leach School of Passing continues with senior Anthony Gordon, who became the first WSU player under Leach to throw for 400 yards or more in his first two starts to start a season. Gordon was 31-for-39 for 464 yards with four touchdowns in a 59-17 win over FCS program Northern Colorado on Saturday. In two starts, Gordon is 60-for-74 for 884 yards with nine touchdowns and one interception. It's the sixth time WSU has scored 50 points or more in consecutive games in the AP poll era; three of those occurrences happened under Leach since 2012.
Up next: at Houston (Friday, 9:15 p.m. ET, ESPN)
21. USC (2-0)
Maybe a different freshman quarterback will save Clay Helton's job. The Trojans seemed all but done after quarterback JT Daniels suffered a torn ACL in last week's opener against Fresno State, which will sideline him for the rest of the season. But Kedon Slovis, an 18-year-old freshman from Arizona, had a debut to remember, completing 28 of 33 passes for 377 yards with three touchdowns in a 45-20 upset of Stanford on Saturday. Slovis' 377 passing yards are the most by a USC freshman in a single game.
Up next: at BYU, Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET, TV TBD)
22. Washington (1-1)
We'll give the Huskies the benefit of the doubt after their Pac-12 opener against California turned into Pac-12 After Midnight because of a nearly three-hour weather delay. The game didn't end until after 4 a.m. ET Sunday, and the Bears walked away with a 20-19 victory on a late field goal. Washington quarterback Jacob Eason threw for 162 yards with one interception while battling tough conditions and a good defense.
Up next: vs. Hawaii (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12)
23. Boise State (2-0)
The Broncos' offense sputtered a bit after its big opener at Florida State, but it didn't matter in a 14-7 win over Marshall on Friday night. Boise State's defense held the Thundering Herd to zero yards of offense -- yep, not a single yard -- in the second half. The Broncos are the first team to accomplish that against an FBS opponent since Florida did it to New Mexico State in 2015. Marshall ran 16 plays and held the ball for only 6:52 after halftime. Boise State freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier was efficient for the second game in a row, completing 22 of 34 passes for 282 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also ran for a score.
Up next: vs. Portland State (Saturday, 10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
24. Virginia (2-0)
The Cavaliers won for the 10th time in their last 15 games with a 52-17 rout of FCS foe William & Mary (and former coach Mike London). Virginia had 511 yards of offense and didn't punt in a game for the first time since 1989. It was the first time the Cavs scored 50 points or more since 2005. Bryce Perkins passed for two touchdowns and ran for another score. Virginia seeks its second ACC win when it hosts Florida State next week. The Seminoles are 15-3 against the Cavaliers (one win was vacated) since joining the league in 1992.
Up next: vs. Florida State (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ACCN)
25. Maryland (2-0)
The Terrapins' 79-0 rout of FCS foe Howard in Mike Locksley's debut probably didn't raise many eyebrows because of the opponent. But Saturday's 63-20 upset of No. 21 Syracuse will certainly turn some heads. It was Maryland's most lopsided win ever against a ranked AP opponent. The Terrapins scored 42 points in the first half, averaged 7.8 yards per carry while running for 354 yards and had 650 yards of offense (after piling up 623 last week). The Terrapins' 142 points in two games is third most in the AP poll era (since 1936). Ole Miss had 149 in 2015 and Florida had 143 in 1994.
Up next: at Temple (Saturday, noon ET, CBSSN)