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AP Top 25 Takeaways: On a Statement Saturday, Colorado wilts, Florida State soars, 'Bama bows up


The bill came due for Coach Prime and Colorado in Oregon.

Florida State stared down Clemson's Death Valley.

Alabama embraced winning ugly.

A Statement Saturday in September that featured six games matching ranked teams was the first chance to make some sense of first few weeks of the season.

Here's what we learned.

Deion Sanders' Buffaloes have been a fun and fascinating story, maybe the biggest in all of sports during a 3-0 start. Team Transfer Portal has had television networks chasing it all over and been must-see TV.

“The Cinderella story's over, men. They’re fighting for clicks, we’re fighting for wins. There's a difference," Ducks coach Dan Lanning said in a fiery pregame speech in front of ESPNs cameras.

The Ducks then backed it up with 35-0 first half. It was every bit as lopsided as the 42-6 final score.

There were plenty of red flags for Colorado coming into the game at Autzen Stadium: A one-dimensional offense; a porous defense; needing a miraculous comeback and overtime to beat Colorado State last week.

Oregon exposed all the Buffs' flaws.

Sanders called it “a good, old-fashioned butt kicking.”

But don't think it's going make the Buffaloes any less brash.

“You better get me right now. This is the worst we going to be,” Sanders said.

Sanders still deserves a ton of credit for his hyper-speed roster flip and already tripling CU's win total from last year — but now we see the ceiling and it's more like six or seven wins than Pac-12 contender.

Fox is already down for another trip to Boulder, Colorado, for Big Noon Kickoff last week when Caleb Williams and No. 5 Southern California come to town. That might not go much better than Saturday for CU.

We have probably seen the best of the Buffs this season.

Florida State, meanwhile, appears ready to soar. Only two days into the fall, and the Seminoles have on their resume a resounding victory against LSU and their first win against Clemson since Jameis Winston was their QB1.

“Ultimately, if every day we can continue to get better, I’m going to put no limits on what this team can accomplish,” Florida State coach Mike Norvell told reporters.

Florida State's schedule is about to open up. The Seminoles' next three games are home and their only remaining games against ranked Atlantic Coast Conference foes (No. 18 Duke and No. 20 Miami) are at home.

Credit Clemson for a tremendous effort, three weeks after the Tigers got buried for losing their opener at Duke.

That said, you can already put coach Dabo Swinney's team down for a third straight season that ends outside the College Football Playoff.

This from a program that made it to the CFP six straight years, played in three national title games and won two championships from 2015-2020.

There will be more talk about the trajectory of the program and Swinney's reluctance to aggressively use the transfer portal.

He brought in one of the most sought-after offensive coordinators in the country in Garrett Riley to fix that side of the ball, but Clemson managed only seven points after halftime and couldn't get a first down in overtime.

“Just situationally — we’ve got to be better as coaches there and help our quarterback," Swinney said about a curious third-and-1 pass play in the extra period.

Since starting last season 8-0, Clemson is 3-5 against Power Five opponents. At 0-2 in the ACC, the Tigers are in danger of missing the league championship game for the second time in three years.

Speaking of ailing dynasties: Alabama's still got problems, but the Crimson Tide muscled up to put Lane Kiffin and Mississippi in their place.

“We dominated the line of scrimmage,” Nick Saban said about a second half that 'Bama won 18-3.

The Crimson Tide went back to Jalen Milroe at quarterback. The offense still looks limited but Milroe went 17 for 21 for 225 with a pretty, long touchdown pass and a really bad red zone interception.

It might take a return to the murderball days of ferocious defense and power running for Alabama to contend in the Southeastern Conference this season. That might actually be enough to get the Tide back to Atlanta and keep it in playoff contention.

AROUND THE COUNTRY: No team is leaning into the new clock rules to shorten games more than Michigan. The Wolverines came into Saturday running 56 plays per game, tied for 127th in the country and then beat Rutgers with 61 plays. ... Under-the-radar 4-0 teams about step into the spotlight: Syracuse, which hosts Clemson next week, and Kentucky, which welcomes No. 25 Florida. ... After Houston lost its first Big 12 game against TCU last week, Cincinnati and BYU were both welcomed to the their new conference with losses. No. 16 Oklahoma beat the Bearcats at Nippert Stadium and Kansas improved to 4-0 with a home win over the Cougars. ... The Jayhawks are 4-0 in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1915.


Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at http://www.appodcasts.com


AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll