Photo courtesy of Georgia athletics
Special thanks to tiermaker.com for being a free, online tier maker.
For anyone that would like to participate and share with us their own personal tier list, the template to make it can be found here.
Each week, this tier list will be updated based on how they play each of their opponents. A loss does not necessarily mean a drop, and a win does not necessarily mean an increase. In some rare instances, the opposite might apply.
Note: teams are alphabetized in each tier, not ranked. This is a stratification exercise, not a ranking exercise.
Fair warning, there are some logos that show up too darkly or do not fit properly. We tried to find the best logo for each team possible.
There was no article following Week 1, but the tier list was updated.
Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma
After a loss to Oregon, Ohio State drops out of Tier 1. It is now a three-team tier, with Oklahoma having bounced back nicely after a close call with Tulane.
Close to dropping to Tier 2: Oklahoma
Cincinnati, Clemson, Iowa (+1), Ohio State (-1), Oregon (+1), Texas A&M
A win over Ohio State catapulted Oregon from Tier 3 to Tier 2.
Iowa also found itself a big winner of the early going, jumping up from a preseason designation in Tier 4.
Cincinnati struggled with FCS opponent Murray State early, but scored on all but one drive in the second half to put the Racers away. That saved it from dropping a rung.
Like the Bearcats, Texas A&M also struggled against a team it should’ve beaten more handedly. Those are games the Aggies are going to want win more dominantly if they are going to make a play for that first tier.
Close to rising to Tier 1: Clemson
Close to dropping to Tier 3: Cincinnati, Texas A&M
Florida, Michigan (+1), North Carolina (+1), Ole Miss, Penn State, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin
There are not a ton of new teams into the third tier. However, there are a few names that have ended up here in spite of preseason expectations. And that goes both ways.
Michigan and Virginia Tech finding themselves in the same tier with Florida, Wisconsin, and North Carolina after only the second week probably would’ve been at least a little surprising for fans of all of those teams.
Close to rising to Tier 2: Virginia Tech or Florida maybe? Not a whole lot of options.
Close to dropping to Tier 4: Michigan
Appalachian State (+1), Arizona State, Arkansas (+1), Auburn, Boise State, BYU (+1), Coastal Carolina, Colorado (+1), Fresno State, Iowa State (-1), Kentucky, Liberty, Miami, Mississippi State (+1), NC State, Nevada, Notre Dame (-1), TCU, Texas (-1), Tulane, UCF, UCLA, USC (-1), Utah
Four teams fall from Tier 3 and five teams rise from Tier 5. Just like that, Tier 4 is starting to fill up.
This tier held 17 in the preseason, 19 following Week 1, and now 24 after Week 2.
Despite being in the same tier, some of these teams have taken wildly different paths to get here.
Notre Dame is a top-10 team that is 2-0, yet has fallen a tier each week. Narrowly beating Florida State, who would go on to lose to an FCS team, did not help its cause.
Colorado and Tulane are both unranked and winless against FBS competition, yet have gone up thanks to how they performed in losses to top teams.
Close to rising to Tier 3: Arizona State, Auburn, Iowa State, Notre Dame, Texas, UCF
Close to dropping to Tier 5: Fresno State, Miami, NC State, Tulane
Air Force, Army, Baylor, Boston College, California, Florida Atlantic (+1), Indiana, Louisiana, Louisville, LSU, Marshall, Maryland, Memphis, Michigan State, Minnesota (-1), Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma State (-1), Oregon State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Rutgers, San Diego State (+1), San Jose State, SMU, Stanford (+1), Syracuse, Tennessee, Toledo (+1), Utah State, UTSA, Virginia, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Western Kentucky
The Stanford Cardinal pulled off a top-15 upset over USC, earning them a spot in Tier 5.
Oklahoma State continues to fall, having gone from Tier 3 in the preseason to Tier 5 after squeaking by Tulsa. The Cowboys do possess a ton of talent, but squeaking by FCS Missouri State and a Tulsa team that lost to FCS opponent UC Davis lands them in a large sea of mediocrity.
A rare example of a winner falling a spot and the loser rising a spot, Toledo almost knocking off Notre Dame sees the Rockets jumping up into the fifth tier. Tulsa at Oklahoma State had a similar impact on our tier rankings.
Close to rising to Tier 4: Indiana, Louisiana, LSU, Maryland, Oklahoma State, West Virginia
Close to dropping to Tier 6: Florida Atlantic, Nebraska, Rutgers
Arizona, Arkansas State, Ball State, Central Michigan, Eastern Carolina, Florida International, Florida State (-2), Georgia Tech, Hawaii, Houston, Kansas State (-1), Kent State, Louisiana Tech (-1), Miami University, Middle Tennessee State, North Texas, Northern Illinois, Northwestern, South Alabama (-1), South Carolina, Texas State, Texas Tech (-1), Troy, Tulsa (+1), UAB, Washington (-1), Washington State, Wyoming (+1)
Florida State experienced a rare ‘two-tier move’ after momentarily being in Tier 4 following its loss to Notre Dame. But, no matter how close a team plays a ranked opponent, losing to an FCS team is a massive knock against any team, including the Seminoles.
Tulsa has yet to win a game, but the Golden Hurricane did hang tough with Oklahoma State.
After dominating Stanford in Week 1, who would go on to upset USC in Week 2, Kansas State narrowly got by Southern Illinois. This led to a drop in its tier ranking by a spot.
Close to rising to Tier 5: Ball State, Houston, Kansas State, Washington
Close to dropping to Tier 7: Northern Illinois, Tulsa, Wyoming
Buffalo (-1), Charlotte, Duke, Eastern Michigan, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Illinois (-1), New Mexico, Old Dominion, South Florida (+1), Southern Mississippi, Temple, UTEP, Western Michigan
Buffalo didn’t just lose to Nebraska, it got rolled. Illinois also got rolled. The losses were bad enough that dropping a tier felt like a fair consequence.
South Florida didn’t get rolled by Florida, which is enough to get the Bulls out of the cellar that is known as Tier 8.
Temple looked good against Akron, a Tier 8 mainstay. But, its 61-14 loss to Rutgers looks even worse after the Scarlet Knights failed to manage 200 yards of total offense in their 17-7 win over Syracuse.
Close to rising to Tier 6: Buffalo, Charlotte, South Florida
Close to dropping to Tier 8: New Mexico, Old Dominion, Temple, UTEP
Akron, Bowling Green, Colorado State (-1), Connecticut, Kansas, Louisiana Monroe, Massachusetts, Navy (-1), New Mexico State, Ohio (-1), Rice, UNLV, Vanderbilt
Colorado State and Navy both find themselves in Tier 8 after dropping a tier each of the last couple of weeks.
Ohio lost to an FCS team, which is all but a guarantee to drop a tier.
Outside of playing each other, there are not many — if any — wins against FBS teams that we can expect to see out of these teams.
Close to rising to Tier 7: Ohio. Vanderbilt was also given consideration after beating Colorado State 24-21, but that 23-3 loss to East Tennessee State, an FCS team, looms large over the Commodores’ chances of leaving this basement.
Bottom three, ranked from 128th to 130th: Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Mexico State