One month into the college season and it already seems as if all roads are leading to another Alabama-Clemson championship game.

The top-ranked Crimson Tide and No. 2 Tigers asserted themselves again on Saturday, though in different ways. The Tide looked ferocious in crushing Mississippi 66-3, showing that 59-0 against Vanderbilt the week before was no fluke.

National champion Clemson, meanwhile, convincingly beat a team ranked in the top 15 for the third time this season, taking out Virginia Tech 31-17.

Clemson once again grabbed first-place votes from preseason No. 1 Alabama in Sunday's new AP Top 25. The Tigers have 17 and the Tide received 44. Who should be No. 1? The better resume belongs to Clemson, but Alabama has done nothing to warrant any lack of confidence.

The last two national championship games were classics between the Tigers and Tide, with each winning one. A possible rubber match is a long way away, but who can stop it?

Until further notice, any debate about the rankings starts at No. 3. How did the voters do with that this week? Heat check:

No. 1 Alabama (5-0)

Jokingly, Nick Saban's team gets called a machine, but it truly is producing a consistent level of effort and technical soundness that seems inhuman.

Next: at Texas A&M.

Heat check: Just right.

No. 2 Clemson (5-0)

How about this: Alabama and Clemson alternate being No. 1 from week to week?

Next: vs. Wake Forest.

Heat check: Nobody should argue with Tigers being voted No. 1.

No. 3 Oklahoma (4-0)

The only issue with keeping the Sooners here is they have a one-game resume and that game was against an Ohio State team that has yet to post a victory against a top team. Though we're fine with giving the Buckeyes a certain benefit of the doubt.

Next: vs. Iowa State.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 4 Penn State (5-0)

Dominant, and clutch when things got squirrelly in Iowa City, but no signature victory yet for the Nittany Lions.

Next: at Northwestern.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 5 Georgia (5-0)

The Bulldogs have been 'Bama-lite the last two weeks — 72-3 over Mississippi State and Tennessee — which is pretty much what they were hoping to become with Kirby Smart as coach.

Next: at Vanderbilt.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 6 Washington (5-0)

It's going to be a while before the Huskies get a chance to prove themselves against a ranked team, but they are doing their best to prove they should be in the top-10 despite the flimsy competition so far.

Next: vs. California.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 7 Michigan (4-0)

Florida may be the worst good team in the country, but the Wolverines are still the only team to beat the Gators. Get a better read on Michigan after this week.

Next: vs. Michigan State.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 8 TCU (4-0)

How do the Horned Frogs handle success? Find out this week.

Next: vs. No. 23 West Virginia.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 9 Wisconsin (4-0)

The Badgers are set to chug on through their schedule without much chance to stamp themselves as better than about the 10th-best team in the country.

Next: at Nebraska.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 10 Ohio State (4-1)

The Buckeyes have outscored their last three opponents 148-28 and we still don't know if they have fixed their offensive issues.

Next: vs. Maryland.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 11 Washington State (5-0)

One nitpick of the Cougars: They still haven't played a road game.

Next: at Oregon.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 12 Auburn (4-1)

About two weeks away from safely taking coach Gus Malzahn off the hot seat.

Next: vs. Mississippi.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 13 Miami (3-0)

The Seminoles will be unranked, but don't think they won't be a good test for the Hurricanes.

Next: at Florida State.

Heat check: Just right.

No. 14 Southern California (4-1)

Good week for the banged-up Trojans to get healthy at home against the lowly Beavers.

Next: vs. Oregon State.

Heat check: Just right.

No. 15 Oklahoma State (4-1)

Cowboys defense — as usual — is sketchy.

Next: vs. Baylor, Oct. 14.

Heat check: Touch too hot.

No. 16 Virginia Tech (4-1)

Still, a contender in the ACC Coastal.

Next: at Boston College.

Heat check: Just right.

No. 17 Louisville (4-1)

Nice opportunity this week for Lamar Jackson to re-enter the Heisman Trophy discussion.

Next: at No. 24 NC State, Thursday.

Heat check Too hot.

No. 18 South Florida (5-0)

The Bulls schedule got a little tougher with the emergence of UCF. The I-4 rivals meet in the regular-season finale.

Next: vs. Cincinnati, Oct.14.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 19 San Diego State (5-0)

The Aztecs have one opponent left on their schedule (New Mexico) that currently has a winning record.

Next: at UNLV.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 20 Utah (4-0)

Getting ranked wasn't too tough for the Utes. To stay there, they'll need back-up QB Troy Williams to fill in capably with the injury to Tyler Huntley.

Next: vs. Stanford.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 21 Florida (3-1)

Still, not sure the Gators should be ranked at all, but they're making progress.

Next: vs. LSU.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 21 Notre Dame (4-1)

RB Josh Adams is one more really big game away from drumming up some Heisman buzz. Have a good opponent coming up this week to do it.

Next: at North Carolina.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 23 West Virginia (3-1)

The Mountaineers get a second chance to beat a ranked team and stay in the Top 25 after starting season with loss to Virginia Tech.

Next: at No. 8 TCU.

Heat check: Just right.

No. 24 North Carolina State (4-1)

Big game coming up and tuck this away: The Wolfpack also play Clemson at home. Still, a chance to make some noise in the ACC, and really regret letting that South Carolina game get away.

Next: vs. No. 17 Louisville, Thursday.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 25 UCF (3-0)

A team that was 6-7 last season has outscored its opponents 139-40.

Next: at Cincinnati.

Heat check: Just right.

INSTEAD OF ... Florida how about ...Stanford.


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