Oklahoma ascends, USC slips in Joel Klatt’s top 10

When it came to Oklahoma’s performance, FOX Sports’ Joel Klatt put it simply.

“That was as impressive a victory as I can remember,” Klatt said of the Sooners’ 49-14 rout at Nebraska.

The time might soon come for the Sooners to creep into college football’s top four, and to Klatt, they’re more than equipped to be one of the last teams standing come January. 

Still, although the Sooners’ showing was enough to vault them up a few spots on Klatt’s weekly top 10 list, four teams remained unshakable atop the registry.

Klatt explained his rankings during the latest episode of “The Joel Klatt Show,” which features three episodes per week, offering unique takes and analysis of the biggest games and storylines throughout the college football universe.

Here is a look at Klatt’s updated top 10 rankings following Week 3 of the college football season.

1. Georgia (Previous ranking: 1)

Week 3 result: Defeated South Carolina, 48-7

Why they are ranked here: Teams just don’t score on the Bulldogs. A garbage-time TD against Georgia’s backup crew was the lone TD the Dawgs have given up all season. The 10 total points they have allowed is the lowest through three games since 1927.

Key stat: Georgia’s 41-point win at South Carolina is the biggest margin of victory in the schools’ 75-game series.

What’s next?: The Dawgs (3-0) play host to Kent State (1-2) in Athens, Georgia, in Week 4 (Saturday, 12 p.m. ET).

2. Ohio State (Previous ranking: 2)

Week 3 result: Defeated Toledo, 77-21

Why they are ranked here: Because of 77 points. That’s all the Buckeyes need to justify their position at the top of the leaderboard. Their offense is perhaps the best in the nation, and C.J. Stroud’s excellence (22-for-27, 367 yards, five TDs vs. Toledo) is complemented by an NFL-caliber RB, a Heisman candidate at receiver, and a host of freshmen wideouts who have shown a natural propensity for big plays.

Key stat: Ohio State’s streak of 64 consecutive games with 20-plus points scored ranks second all-time, overtaking USC’s 63-game streak from 2002-06. Oklahoma’s 69-game streak from 2016-21 is still the high mark.

What’s next?: The Buckeyes (3-0) are up against the Wisconsin Badgers (2-1) in Week 4 (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET).

“Ask Klatt”

Joel Klatt answers fan questions from social media, including ones about Ohio State and Michigan.

3. Alabama (Previous ranking: 3)

Week 3 result: Defeated LA-Monroe, 63-7

Why they are ranked here: When it comes to complete rosters, Alabama might fit the bill more than any other team in the nation. Only one team in college football has a defensive player that’s considered a Heisman hopeful, and the squad’s QB is the reigning trophy holder. ‘Bama mustered just 20 points in a narrow victory vs. Texas in Week 2, but followed that up with 63 this past Saturday.

Key stat: Alabama improved its regular-season win streak against non-conference opponents to 55 games, and its home win streak in that scenario to 41 games. The Tide’s last loss came to the team they just beat, UL Monroe.

What’s next?: Alabama (3-0) takes on Vanderbilt (3-0) at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Week 4 (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET).

4. Michigan (Previous ranking: 4)

Week 3 result: Defeated Connecticut, 59-0

Why they are ranked here: Michigan scores a lot of points. It’s surpassed 50 in each tilt thus far, and that’s while starting two different QBs in three games. Not to mention, the Wolverines have only given up 17 points in their three matchups, their fewest total since 2003.

Key stat: The Wolverines have winning margins of 40-plus points in their first three games (51-7, 56-10, 59-0). The last time Michigan won three straight games with a scoring margin of 40 points or more was during the 1991 season.

What’s next?: The Wolverines (3-0) host Maryland (3-0) at the Big House (Saturday, 12 p.m. ET on FOX).

5. Oklahoma (Previous ranking: 7)

Week 3 result: Defeated Nebraska, 49-14

Why they are ranked here: “Oklahoma kicked Nebraska’s butt.” And it wasn’t even close. QB Dillon Gabriel’s familiarity with Jeff Lebby shone through vividly, and he looked unflappable in his first hook-up with his former coordinator. He has a slew of weapons around him — Marcus Major, Jalil Farooq, Marvin Mims Jr. — and his defense backed up him up with an impressive display from its pass-rushers.

Key stat: Since the start of the 2012 season, OU is 83-5 when scoring at least 35 points and 72-3 when scoring at least 40.

What’s next?: Two of the stingiest defenses in the Big 12 square off when the Sooners (3-0) battle Kansas State (2-1) on Saturday (8 p.m. ET on FOX).

Oklahoma-Nebraska takeaways

Joel Klatt reacts to Oklahoma’s impressive 49-14 blowout victory against Nebraska in Week 3.

6. Clemson (Previous ranking: 6)

Week 3 result: Defeated LA Tech, 48-20

Why they are ranked here: Dabo Swinney sprinted onto Memorial Stadium’s field with the ardor that he did for a reason. Clemson just gets up differently for its home games, and the Tigers defended Death Valley yet again against Louisiana Tech, chalking up their 36th straight home W, the longest streak in the nation.

Key stat: Clemson RB Will Shipley became the first Clemson player to start a season with multiple rushing touchdowns in each of his first three games dating back to 1950.

What’s next?: The Tigers (3-0) are headed to North Carolina to take on Wake Forest (3-0) in Week 4 (Saturday, 12 p.m. ET).

7. USC (Previous ranking: 5)

Week 3 result: Defeated Fresno State, 45-17

Why they are ranked here: Lincoln Riley has the Trojans’ offense humming beautifully. The team’s offense has exploded in three straight games on the backs of its immensely talented transfer group. Those names include QB Caleb Williams (eight TDs, zero INT this season), WR Jordan Addison (five receiving TDs) and RB Travis Dye (two games with 100+ rushing yards and a TD). 

Key stat: USC has totaled 152 points in the first three games of the 2022 season. The last USC team to score more points through the first three games was the 2005 team, which scored 178 points.

What’s next?: The Trojans (3-0) hit the road to take on Oregon State (3-0) in Week 4 (Saturday, 9:30 p.m. ET).

8. Oklahoma State (Previous ranking: 9)

Week 3 result: Defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 63-7

Why they are ranked here: Very few teams score with the speed and frequency that the Cowboys do. The team has 13 TDs in drives that have spanned two minutes or fewer so far this season, which is four away from their total scores of the sort in 2021.

Key stat: Oklahoma State’s 28 points in the first quarter against Arkansas Pine-Bluff matches the sixth-most in a quarter since 1945, and 14th-most at any point in school history. Its 49 points in the first half matched the third-most points scored in a half since 1945, and ninth-most in program history.

What’s next?: Expect fireworks when Oklahoma State (3-0) takes on Baylor (2-1) in Week 4 (Saturday, TBD ET).

9. Penn State (Previous ranking: None)

Week 3 result: Defeated Auburn, 41-12

Why they are ranked here: Penn State ventured into halftime Saturday with a 14-6 lead over Auburn. At the end of the outing, the Nittany Lions had a 29-point win at Jordan-Hare after unleashing 27 second-half points on their adversary. Running back Nick Singleton was superb, notching the most total rushing yards (334) for a Nittany Lion through his first three games since Heisman finalist Larry Johnson in 2002.

Key stat: Penn State has won 15 consecutive games over non-conference opponents during the regular season.

What’s next?: The Nittany Lions (3-0) meet Central Michigan (1-2) in Week 4 (Saturday, 12 p.m. ET)

10. Texas (Previous ranking: 10)

Week 3 result: Defeated UTSA, 41-20

Why they are ranked here: Texas running back Bijan Robinson was quiet in the games that led up to the Longhorns’ Week 3 affair, but his third outing was his charmed jewel thus far. He rushed for 183 yards on 20 carries (9.15 yards a carry) and scored three TDs. Texas has had one real test up to this point, but Robinson will get a chance to prove himself again in the Battle For The Chancellor’s Spurs Saturday. 

Key stat: The plus-62 point differential for Texas through three games is the best since 2012, when they were plus-100.

What’s next?: The Longhorns (2-1) will face a familiar foe in Texas Tech (2-1) in Week 4 (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET).

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