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Fornelli 50 college football rankings: Respect Clemson as the nation’s best team – CBSSports.com

At what point is it acceptable to start giving
Clemson Tigers
the same kind of respect we show
Alabama Crimson Tide
? As I was watching Clemson beat
Louisville Cardinals
47-21 on Saturday night, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “This is the best team in the country.” Of course, I knew that when the rankings came out on Sunday that Alabama would still be No. 1. I knew this because Alabama was already No. 1, and it’s seemingly illegal to not rank Alabama No. 1 if it was already there and didn’t lose.

This all led to me wondering how much more Clemson needs to do before we give it the same kind of respect. This is a Clemson team that has gone 31-2 since the start of the 2015 season. Its only two losses in that time span were a one-point loss to
Pittsburgh Panthers
last year and a 5-point loss to Alabama in the 2015 title game. Alabama is also 31-2 in that same span with its two losses being a six-point loss to Ole Miss in 2015 and a four-point loss to Clemson in last year’s title game.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Alabama has been the premier program in college football over the last decade. I understand why it gets all the credit it does. But both Clemson and Alabama have won the same amount of national titles in the last four years, and it’s Clemson who is your current champion.

So while I understood some of the doubt about the Tigers in the preseason — losing
Deshaun Watson
isn’t something you can just dismiss — what we’ve seen so far erases those doubts.
Kelly Bryant
is incredibly talented, and Clemson’s defense is the best unit in the country. Period.

No disrespect meant to Alabama, but it’s time we start showing Clemson the respect it deserves and ranking it No. 1. My formula certainly agrees this week, but before we get to the Fornelli 50, here’s a quick reminder on how it all works (full details here).

  1. My opinion has absolutely nothing to do with the rankings
  2. There is true equality to start as math doesn’t play favorites
  3. Wins and losses mean more than anything
  4. The formula is in no way predictive, it’s a meritocracy
  5. I won’t share the formula, but it works

There, now that we’ve gotten all of that out of the way, let’s find out who the best 50 teams in college football are so far this season.

Clemson 3-0: The Tigers were the best team in college football last season, and they’ve been the best one so far this year, too. (Last week: 3)

Oklahoma Sooners
3-0: The Sooners aren’t far behind Clemson, but I guess the math just hates watching games on PPV. (1)

Penn State Nittany Lions
3-0: We’re going to get a much better idea of who this Penn State team is on the road against
Iowa Hawkeyes
this week. (4)
Alabama 3-0: Alabama was never in danger against
Colorado State Rams
, but it wasn’t its typical dominant self, either. (2)

Oklahoma State Cowboys
 3-0: The Cowboys gave Pitt a beating it won’t forget anytime soon. (8)
UCF 1-0: The Knights are still here because they haven’t played a second game yet, and the math still loves that first game. (5)

Mississippi State Bulldogs
3-0: You can file the Bulldogs 37-7 win over
LSU Tigers
on Saturday into the “Did Not See That Coming” file. CLANGA CLANGA CLANGA. (23)

Southern California Trojans
3-0: A week after looking impressive against
Stanford Cardinal
, the Trojans looked iffy again against
Texas Longhorns
. And Stanford lost to
San Diego State Aztecs
. Hmmm. (6)

Wisconsin Badgers
3-0: Wisconsin just did what Wisconsin does against
Brigham Young Cougars
on Saturday. (9)

Minnesota Golden Gophers
3-0: They’re rowing the boat at a nice pace so far in Minneapolis. (11)

Michigan Wolverines
3-0: Michigan has had 10 offensive possessions in the red zone this season. It has scored one touchdown. That’s awful. (7)

Duke Blue Devils
Daniel Jones
might be the best QB in the country that you’ve never heard of. (13)

Houston Cougars
2-0: The offense that struggled against
Arizona Wildcats
showed up against
Rice Owls
. Of course, Rice is Rice. (22)

Wake Forest Demon Deacons
3-0: We live in a world where the ACC has four 3-0 teams, and Wake Forest and Duke are two of them. (18)

Washington Huskies
3-0: Washington keeps winning, but it just doesn’t look like the same team that I saw last year. (20)

Oregon Ducks
3-0: With Stanford’s struggles, it looks like the Ducks will be Washington’s biggest threat in the Pac-12 North this year. (28)

TCU Horned Frogs
3-0: The Horned Frogs have a huge test with a road trip to Oklahoma State this week. (17)

Virginia Tech Hokies
3-0: I’m guessing the Hokies got caught looking past
East Carolina Pirates
on Saturday, which is why they fell behind 17-7 early. (32)

Vanderbilt Commodores
3-0: Vanderbilt has allowed only 13 points through its first three games this season. (31)

Maryland Terrapins
2-0: The Terps took a week off and still moved up a spot. D.J. Durkin’s just that good. (21)

Memphis Tigers
2-0: A huge win over
UCLA Bruins
for the Tigers helps establish Memphis as a candidate for the coveted Group of Five spot. (38)
Iowa 3-0: Iowa has been Iowa so far this season. It ain’t pretty, but it gets the job done. (25)

Eastern Michigan Eagles
2-0: Your weekly reminder that EMU’s QB is named
Brogan Roback
. (26)

Michigan State Spartans
2-0: Sparty can make a statement with a win over
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
this week. (27)
San Diego State 3-0: Did you realize that San Diego State is 25-6 since the start of the 2015 season? And it just beat Stanford. (41)

Texas Tech Red Raiders
2-0: It looks like it’s going to be another “first team to 50 wins” kind of season in Lubbock. And I’m fine with that. (40)

Washington State Cougars
3-0: The Cougs didn’t have any trouble with
Oregon State Beavers
this week. Nobody ever does. (47)

Georgia Bulldogs
3-0: Wins over Samford tend to hurt your stock in these rankings, but Georgia still looks like the team to beat in the SEC East. (16)

South Florida Bulls
3-0: After a sloppy start, USF finally started looking like itself against
Illinois Fighting Illini
on Friday night. Need to see more of that. (46)

Navy Midshipmen
2-0: Navy had the weekend off, and it gets
Cincinnati Bearcats
this week. (30)
UTSA 2-0: It’s very early, but this Roadrunners team looks like a contender in the C-USA West. (15)

California Golden Bears
3-0: Cal has a defense! Justin Wilcox must be some wizard because I do not even recognize this Bears defense. (45)

Colorado Buffaloes
3-0: We probably shouldn’t take too much from wins over Colorado State,
Texas State Bobcats
, and Northern Colorado. Now if the Buffs beat Washington… (19)

Utah Utes
3-0: The Utes will open Pac-12 play with a road trip to Arizona this week. (48)

Toledo Rockets
3-0: Toledo’s 54-51 win over
Tulsa Golden Hurricane
on Saturday was the most exciting game nobody saw this weekend. (42)

Kentucky Wildcats
3-0: I love living in a world in which we have to consider both Vandy and Kentucky as contenders in the SEC East at this point. (50)
Notre Dame 2-1: When Notre Dame can run the ball, it’s pretty good. When it can’t, it’s not. (Not Ranked)

Purdue Boilermakers
2-1: I know
Missouri Tigers
isn’t good, but Purdue — PURDUE! — just went on the road and beat it by 32. What a time to be alive. (NR)

Ohio State Buckeyes
2-1: Ohio State worked out some of the kinks against
Army West Point Black Knights
, and will get another chance to straighten things out against
UNLV Rebels
. (NR)
Miami 1-0: A win over Bethune-Cookman wasn’t enough to rank Miami last week, but now that there aren’t 50 other undefeated teams left, the Canes squeeze in. (NR)

South Carolina Gamecocks
2-1: The loss to Kentucky hurt enough, but losing
Deebo Samuel
for the season is a devastating blow on top of it. (10)
Louisville 2-1: Can’t blame Louisville for losing to Clemson, but the Cardinals have struggled against good teams a lot lately. (12)

West Virginia Mountaineers
2-1: The Mountaineers open Big 12 play with a road trip to
Kansas Jayhawks
this week. I bet they win. (NR)
UCLA 2-1: I hope you didn’t think the comeback against
Texas A&M Aggies
solved all of UCLA’s problems. (14)
Arizona 2-1: I created the damn formula, and even I was surprised to see Arizona show up here. (NR)

Boise State Broncos
2-1: It has to kill Kansas fans to see
Montell Cozart
balling out on the blue turf. (NR)

Kansas State Wildcats
2-1: In years past, there would be shame in losing to Vanderbilt. That’s not the case anymore. (24)

Northwestern Wildcats
2-1: The Wildcats are ranked this week, but they look shaky. Luckily they have a week off before they have to head to Madison to play Wisconsin. (NR)

Southern Methodist Mustangs
2-1: TCU took the Iron Skillet and beat SMU over the head with it. (29)

Iowa State Cyclones
2-1: The Cyclones sneak past
Syracuse Orange
for No. 50 thanks to Iowa boosting its schedule strength just enough. (NR)

No longer ranked: LSU (33),
Air Force Falcons
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
Tennessee Volunteers
(36), Illinois (37), Army (39), Ole Miss (43),
Central Michigan Chippewas
Old Dominion Monarchs

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