Don’t panic, fans! A heat check on AP’s Top 25

In this photo taken Sept. 5, 2015, UCLA defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes squirts himself during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Virginia at Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Vanderdoes tore a ligament in his knee during UCLA’s victory over Virginia last weekend. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Two pieces of advice after the first week of the college football season:

Do not panic.

Appreciate the victories.

The subjective nature of college football’s system for determining a champion encourages those who watch games to nitpick. Fans are inherently pessimistic, downgrading everybody’s performance: “Yeah, but who did they beat?”

On the flip side, sometimes the media can jump on a team or player’s bandwagon too soon.

September can be a strange month.

So without going overboard, let’s take a heat check of the first regular season AP Top 25 and try to get a feel of where teams are and where they might be headed.

(Too hot means ranked too high; too cold means ranked too low; just right is self-explanatory.)

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No. 1 Ohio State

Braxton Miller might still be Ohio State’s best player. The Buckeyes are about to spend the next couple months pulverizing opponents. That’s pretty much all you need to know.

Heat check: Just right.

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No. 2 Alabama

The Crimson Tide’s quarterback competition does not appear to be over, though Jake Coker looked perfectly fine in a drubbing of Wisconsin. RBs Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake are nice security blankets.

Heat check: A touch too hot. Still, a little skeptical long-term about the Tide’s QB situation.

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No. 3 TCU

Heat check was not quite as high on the Horned Frogs in the preseason poll and there’s no reason to change that assessment after a workmanlike 23-17 victory at Minnesota. There is no such thing as a bad road win.

Heat check: Still too hot.

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No. 4 Baylor

The Bears thought the SMU opener was going to be easy, and by the time they realized that Chad Morris’ Mustangs were going to be much different than June Jones’ it was 28-21 in the second quarter. Nothing some better tackling couldn’t cure.

Heat check: Too cold, but we really won’t know anything new about the Bears until after they get done with their all-cupcake nonconference diet.

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No. 5 Michigan State

The Spartans went up by 24 at Western Michigan and started looking for the next bus out of Kalamazoo and on to the Oregon game.

Heat check: Just right, heading into the best nonconference matchup of the college football season.

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No. 6 Auburn

Heat check was high on QB Jeremy Johnson coming into the season. Three interceptions against Louisville tapped the breaks on that.

Heat check: Strange game against a good opponent, but no reason to downgrade the Tigers, who are still too cold.

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No. 7 Oregon

Thumbs up for Vernon Adams. Thumbs down for that defense, scorched by an Eastern Washington quarterback not named Vernon Adams.

Heat check: Too hot.

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No. 8 USC

As expected, the Trojans made short work of Arkansas State.

Heat check: Too hot. Was not sure if the Trojans were better than UCLA coming into the season. Less sure now.

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No. 9 Notre Dame

The Fighting Irish dominated Texas in South Bend much the way they dominated Michigan in South Bend early last year. We all know how that ended.

Heat check: Buying the Irish before the season so, sure, still too cold.

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No. 10 Georgia

Lightning can stop Nick Chubb. For now.

Heat check: Just right.

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No. 11 Florida State

September should not be too strenuous for the Seminoles.

Heat check: Still a bit too hot.

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No. 12 Clemson

With the loss of star WR Mike Williams to a neck injury, the Tigers have now lost six key players since spring practice.

Heat check: Too many losses to be this hot.

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No. 13 UCLA

Believe this hype: Freshman QB Josh Rosen is going to be a star.

Heat check: Too cold.

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No. 14 LSU

Surely, coach Les Miles would have preferred more than a 10-play tuneup before playing Mississippi State on the road.

Heat check: Just right.

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No. 15 Georgia Tech

Lots of points, nothing learned.

Heat check: Too hot.

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No. 16 Texas A&M

Aggies had maybe best win of the first weekend against Arizona State and probably should have started the season around this spot.

Heat check: Just right.

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No. 17 Mississippi

When 296-pound DT Robert Nkemdiche scores it is a big guy touchdown, NOT a fat guy touchdown.

Heat check: Nkemdiche is just right.

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No. 18 Arkansas

As if trying to prove a point, coach Bret Bielema turned QB Brandon Allen loose in the opener.

Heat check: Too hot.

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No. 19 Oklahoma

Sooners have a chance to prove the heat check correct at Tennessee on Saturday.

Heat check: Too cold.

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No. 20 Missouri

Tigers play some strange road games: At Arkansas State on Saturday.

Heat check: Too hot.

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No. 21 Boise State

Broncos face maybe their toughest game of season at BYU on Saturday.

Heat check: Too cold.

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No. 22 Arizona

All-America linebacker Scooby Wright (knee) could miss the Wildcats’ first two Pac-12 games against UCLA and Stanford.

Heat check: Too hot.

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No. 23 Tennessee

Vols have a chance to prove the heat check wrong against Oklahoma on Saturday.

Heat check: Too hot.

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No. 24 Utah

If Utes can get efficient play out of QB Travis Wilson, as they did last week, they should be regulars in the rankings.

Heat check: Just right, but looking up.

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No. 25 Mississippi State

Bulldogs got quite a bump for a road win against Southern Mississippi, which has won four games in past three seasons.

Heat check: Too hot.

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AP college football website: collegefootball.ap.org

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Follow at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP



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