The Pac-12 has announced its intent to play a college football season this year, so we’ll be seeing all five major college football conferences this season. It also means we added one of the Power-5 conferences in each of the past two weeks. How has the introduction of the Pac-12 as well as the games this weekend affected our rankings for the top 25 college football teams in Week 4?
Top 25 College Football Week 4 Rankings
1. Clemson Tigers
Clemson didn’t play this weekend, so there was no way to damage their stock. Clemson still possesses a majority of their starters from last season where they finished second in the nation, losing to LSU in the National Championship game. That loss also happens to be the only loss in Lawrence’s collegiate career, but will it remain his only loss come the end of this season?
2. Ohio State Buckeyes
The Big Ten doesn’t start games for nearly another month, but barring one of the next two teams looking absolutely dominant, Ohio State will remain in this second spot until they take the field. One of the most talented teams on both sides of the ball, expect the Buckeyes to seek revenge against the Clemson team that knocked them out of the college football playoffs last season.
3. Alabama Crimson Tide
The SEC started conference play today, and Alabama wasted no time getting out to a strong start this season. The Crimson Tide dominated Mizzou as expected, and looked like a National Championship contender. Nick Saban has his team hungry to win.
4. Florida Gators
Dan Mullen and Kyle Trask have the Florida offense clicking. They were able to score 51 in their season opener against Ole Miss and looked like one of the best offenses in the nation. Kyle Pitts was absolutely sensational, scoring four touchdowns and producing 170 receiving yards. They have obvious questions on defense, specifically in the secondary. They gave up 35 points but scored 51. Not the outcome Florida is used to, but a result they’ll be happy to repeat.
5. Penn State Nittany Lions
Penn State will be without its best player this season. Linebacker Micah Parsons has opted out of the 2020 seasons, and signs seem to indicate that he won’t reconsider. However, Penn State does still possesses an elite front-7 with Shaka Toney and Jayson Oweh being arguably the top pass-rushing duo in the country,
6. USC Trojans
The Pac-12 is returning and will be playing college football this season. The Trojans will be one of many teams attempting to win the conference championship — so why do I have USC as the highest-rated team from the conference? Easy, it’s because they have the top quarterback in the conference. Kedon Slovis was phenomenal last season after being forced onto the field due to injuries, and he expects to dominate this season as the incumbent starter.
7. Oregon Ducks
I’m hesitant to put Oregon even this high. I’m not overly impressed by the coaching staff after they held back Justin Herbert for the majority of his career. Add that to the fact that they lost Herbert to the NFL, and the Ducks are one of the most volatile teams in college football. Can they continue to be the top dog in the Pac-12, or will the loss of Herbert expose the program’s flaws?
8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame did not play this week. However, that means they couldn’t lose like a number of top ten teams did. Ian Book has looked very good so far this season, and the Irish are always a well-coached and competitive team. Star safety Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah has already played like one of the top defenders in the country, and he’ll likely be an early selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.
9. Auburn Tigers
Bo Nix and the Auburn offense came out slow, but a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes vaulted them over a dangerous Kentucky team. The pair of Seth Williams and Anthony Schwartz is as dangerous as they come in the SEC. Auburn must get a better running game moving forward, however.
10. Oklahoma Sooners
Oklahoma just suffered a brutal loss to Kansas State. They were gashed for passes of 77 and 78 yards, and K-State quarterback Skylar Thompson rushed for 3 touchdowns and threw one more. After going up 35-14, Oklahoma allowed Kansas State to tie the game and eventually win 38-35. Will the Sooners defense continue to hold-back one of the nation’s most explosive offenses? They barely cling on to a top-10 spot in these top 25 rankings for Week 4 of college football.
11. Minnesota Golden Gophers
The Gophers naturally fall in the rankings after the reinstatement of the Pac-12 and its teams into these rankings. Head Coach P.J. Fleck is one of the top motivators in the country, as his players just want to play for him. Star receiver Rashod Bateman has also started to process of applying for reinstatement and will be attempting to play football this season.
12.. LSU Tigers
LSU looked abysmal against the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The team lost around 90% of their starters from last season, so it’s understandable that they’re not the same juggernaut they were in 2019. However, if Myles Brennan cannot get more comfortable within the offense, the season could already be lost. On the bright side, 2021 draft prospects Terrace Marshall and Jabril Cox both had strong performances.
13. Georgia Bulldogs
The final score of Georgia vs Arkansas would indicate that Georgia dominated the game. However, it was anything but. Arkansas held Georgia to five points in the first half, despite being arguably the worst team in the SEC. Georgia came into this week expecting to compete for the conference title, they leave this week wondering if they’re even a top-five team in the SEC.
14. Wisconsin Badgers
The Badgers will learn to live without star running back Jonathan Taylor, but it will take some time to get used. They’ll play teams tough, and Nakia Watson will do his best to fill the massive shoes left by Taylor. However, I find it unlikely Wisconsin is in a position to compete for the Big Ten.
15. UNC Tarheels
Sam Howell and company didn’t play this weekend but have a sneaky difficult task next week when they travel north to face Boston College. UNC was able to defeat Syracuse 31-0 last week, but it took a while for the offense to get going. The Tarheels might have the most explosive passing attack in the ACC, but they need to get a bit more consistent.
16. Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State managed an impressive win over West Virginia without starting quarterback Spencer Sanders. Hopefully, Sanders will return next week in a wide-open Big-12 that saw both Oklahoma and Texas lose. Can the Cowboys win their first Big 12 championship since 2011? It will depend on how Sanders returns from injury — because without him, the passing offense pathetic.
17. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Mississippi State showed that they are not to be taken lightly in the SEC. They moved the ball at will against the defending National Champions. KJ Costello looked right at home in Mike Leach’s offense and running back Kylin Hill proved he’s still one of the backs in the nation. The defense is talented as well, despite struggling against LSU.
18. Miami Hurricanes
Arguably the most explosive offense in the nation right now, Miami is starting to play like they might be the second-best team in the ACC. The offense has been electric with D’Eriq King under center, and they can go head to head with a team like UNC. Miami’s defense also had a nice bounce-back game against Florida State and will attempt to bring the momentum in their next game as Clemson is their upcoming opponent.
19. Texas Longhorns
Texas barely pulled out a win in over-time against a Texas Tech team that only beat the Houston Baptist Huskies by 2 last week. The Big 12 has been a major disappointment so far, Oklahoma lost to Kansas State and Texas should’ve lost to Texas Tech if not for major late game blunders by the Red Raiders.
20. Memphis Tigers
The defending AAC champions, Memphis didn’t play this week but they’ll be back next week against the explosive SMU offense. SMU is good enough to pose a threat against Memphis, and if Memphis is to remain the top Group of Five team, then they must find a way to win this game.
21. Cincinnati Bearcats
Cincinnati faced off against a very competitive Army team. While they may not have dominated like they would’ve preferred, they pulled out a quality win against a respectable opponent. However, they should be worried as UCF was absolutely dominant today. Which team will come out atop the AAC?
22. UCF Knights
There’s a very real chance the UCF Knights return to the top of the AAC. Starting QB Dillon Gabriel has been electric to start the season, and the Knights offense has scored 100 points in two weeks. A well-oiled machine, they can hurt teams on the ground or through the air. The defense could be better, but this is a team that has a chance to win the conference.
23. Pittsburgh Panthers
The Panthers have one of the top defenses in sports. Patrick Jones Jr. is one of the nation’s premier pass rushers and Paris Ford is one of the nation’s top defensive backs. The unit held an explosive Louisville offense to only 20 points. However, the offense still has work to do, only putting up 23 on a team that gave up 47 points last week.
24. Virginia Tech
Despite missing 23 players, including their starting quarterback, for their first game, the Hokies dominated NC State. The offense clicked on all cylinders and the defense was aggressive and played downhill. This team is in a great spot to rise up rankings once they get back to full strength. Their next game is against Duke, followed by a dangerous UNC offense. How will Virginia Tech perform against the stronger ACC teams?
25. Baylor Bears
Starting the season with a blow out of Kansas isn’t exactly a shocking development for Baylor, but it’s a good sign regardless. The team got stronger as the game went on and the Dave Aranda era starts off with a strong win. A strong performance against West Virginia will go along away in comparing them to the other top Big-12 teams.