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Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo

Josh Furlong's AP Top 25: BYU moves in as the college football landscape shifts

By Josh Furlong, | Updated - Sep. 13, 2020 at 12:25 p.m. | Posted - Sep. 13, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — On paper, BYU and Navy were expected to be fairly even opponents. But that's as far as the comparison went as the Cougars put on a show against the Naval Academy in a Labor Day rout of the Midshipmen.

The season-opening performance lifted BYU to a No. 22 spot in my first ballot of the season — after (some) games were played. The Cougars dominated the line of scrimmage and also unleashed an unstoppable run game on the offensive side of the ball. It may have prompted Navy to resume tackling in practice, but it was still a solid performance and one worth of a Top 25 ranking.

The ease of BYU's schedule will make it hard to move them up a ton in my ballot in the following weeks, but it appears the Cougars have a decent shot of going for an undefeated season, so we'll see how it all progresses and update accordingly. Also, that's assuming more games aren't postponed or canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

As for the rest of college football, it was a relatively ho-hum opening weekend of play — that is unless you belonged to the Big 12 and had to play a team from the Sun Belt. Only six teams ranked in the preseason Top 25 played this week, and those games went mostly as expected — minus a what-the-heck-happened performance from Iowa State.

No. 1 Clemson took care of business, while Oklahoma and Texas established early dominance in the Big 12. Notre Dame showed up well, but allowed an improving Duke team to hang around at the end — it was still a double-digit win. And North Carolina appears to be the rising team I expected, but Syracuse isn't exactly a big test in the ACC so time will tell.

As for the teams hanging out initially on the outside of the rankings, they get some help from all the Big Ten and Pac-12 teams dropping out of the rankings, as well as Iowa State — again, what happened there? A total of 10 teams from my preseason ballot have been removed, which feels weird since most of the teams in this week's ballot are ranked artificially high as a result. But with two Power Five conferences out of commission, there's plenty of room to be made for newcomers.

Many newcomers (and already established Top 25 teams) still haven't played a game yet this season, so there's plenty of room for flexibility moving forward in my ballot. Once the SEC begins play and college football starts in earnest, my ballot will start to take better shape.

Dropping Out: Ohio State, Penn State, Oregon, Wisconsin, USC, Michigan, Minnesota, Utah, Iowa, Iowa State

Checking In: UCF, Tennessee, Memphis, Louisville, Kentucky, Baylor, BYU, TCU, Virginia, Louisiana

If you have a question about any of the teams I ranked (or missed), hit me up on Twitter (@JFurKSL) and I'll do my best to explain my reasoning.

Josh Furlong

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