AP Top 25 Heat Check: Balancing good with bad in AP Top 25

There are no good wins on the internet.

A running theme on college football Twitter is the insistence that the result of any game is more an indictment of the losing team than an accomplishment for the winner. So, basically, nobody has played anyone.

Early in the season it is especially easy to trash resumes because the top teams have played so few games against opponents who have even remotely comparable talent. Also, fact is, it really is too early to truly know what these teams will become.

Maybe LSU is just really terrible and Mississippi State’s win actually isn’t a major one. Maybe Ohio State is way overrated, so big whoop Oklahoma. Beating Notre Dame on the road? Big deal, Georgia.

Of course, more often than not, when the question is: Is Team X that good or is Team Y that bad? The answer is: Little of both.

Three weeks into the college football season, AP voters are trying to decide how to weigh the good with the bad. How did they do?

Heat check:

No. 1 Alabama (3-0)

The Tide has done nothing to make anyone question its bona fides. But it’s not always about what you do when it comes to the rankings. Sometimes others do more.

Next: at Vanderbilt.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 2 Clemson (3-0)

The Tigers picked up a season-high 15 first-place votes after a second straight win against a top-20 team. Voters need to start giving Clemson the Alabama treatment. If the Tide deservingly gets the benefit of the doubt in the rankings, so should the team that beat the Tide to win the national championship last year.

Next: vs. Boston College.

Heat check: Too cold. Should be No. 1.

No. 3 Oklahoma (3-0)

The Sooners slipped but did nothing wrong. This is also all about what Clemson did right.

Next: at Baylor.

Heat check: Just right.

No. 4 Penn State (3-0)

The Nittany Lions have done exactly what an elite team should do going against inferior competition. But others have done more against better.

Next: at Iowa.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 5 Southern California (3-0)

Yes, the Trojans struggled to beat Texas. And Texas might not be “back,” but the Longhorns are certainly better than Akron and Georgia State and probably no worse than Pitt. That’s who Penn State has played.

Next: at California.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 6 Oklahoma State (3-0)

The Cowboys schedule so far looks similar to Penn State’s, but includes two road games and an even more decisive victory against Pitt.

Next: vs. No. 16 TCU

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 7 Washington (3-0)

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