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SQ College Football Top-25 Power Ranking: Week 4

Jaime Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson beat another top-15 team, but was it enough to claim our top spot?

Putting together the top-25 rankings for this week was not easy. On one hand, there were teams in the top-5 jockeying for position, with Clemson pulling out another impressive win over a top-15 team, while USC had to fight off Texas in a two-overtime contest. The rest of the field made things really interesting with teams like UCLA, LSU, Stanford, and Kansas State all getting upset. Now that the dust has settled, here’s what our writers decided for this week’s rankings.

Honorable Mentions

West Virginia

Previous Rank: Unranked


“After an opening week loss to Virginia Tech, the Mountaineers have come back to blow out East Carolina and Delaware State in consecutive weeks. And while West Virginia’s offense combined to put up 115 points in the last two games, it’s still hard to gauge just how good this team can be. Quarterback Will Grier has started the season off hot after throwing for over 300 yards in each of the team’s first three games. Look for him to add a fourth under his belt against Kansas this week.” - Sean Berger

LSU

Previous Rank: 13

“The 12th-ranked Tigers got handled in Starkville by junior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald and company, losing by 30 points. If the Tigers want to stay in the SEC title race, the offense will have to step up after mustering up a measly seven points last week. LSU looks to bounce back this Saturday as they host Syracuse.” - Colton Spaur

Top-25

25. Stanford

Previous Rank: 16

“Stanford was upended by San Diego State this week, making it two straight weeks in which the Cardinal have suffered a loss. Three turnovers ended up being too costly as the offense was only able to muster 238 total yards. While this most recent loss almost certainly eliminates Stanford from College Football Playoff consideration, the Cardinal needs to bounce back quick with a matchup against UCLA looming this week.” - Sean Berger

24. Utah

Previous Rank: Unranked


“Most of the PAC-12 talk right now surrounds teams like USC, Washington, Stanford, and Oregon. However, Utah is one of the teams you really should get to know. The Utes have had quiet success this season, but are ready to break things open in conference play. Utah completely decimated San Jose State, 56-14. Quarterback Tyler Huntley is a player you should get to know now; he tore apart the Spartans’ defense for 341 yards, his second straight 300-yard game. Look for Utah’s onslaught to continue against a weaker Arizona team.” - Sean Berger

23. Oregon

Previous Rank: Unranked

“Oregon is living up to the reputation of being the best first half team in college football this season. The Ducks’ high-flying offense has put up 126 points in the first half alone this season compared to 42 points in the second half. However, it should be noted 35 of those second half points came in a blowout of FCS opponent Southern Utah. Next week’s opponent Arizona State represents another defense that Oregon should have its way with as the Sun Devils have given up 11 pass plays of 25-plus yards and five rushing plays of 20-plus yards.” - Sean Berger

22. San Diego State

Previous Rank: Unranked


“If you don’t know who Rashaad Penny is, we’ll forgive you this week. However, it’s in your best interest if you get to know who he is as he’s currently running over every defense he faces. Penny leads the nation in rushing with 588 yards, with 391 of those coming against Power Five teams. The Aztecs have plenty of firepower on the ground, but they go up against an Air Force team that has only given up one defensive touchdown in its first two games.” - Sean Berger

21. USF

Previous Rank: 23

“I was a big believer in the Bulls as a team that could play spoiler in the CFP. After three games, I’m less confident. Slow starts and penalties have slowed the Bulls in the first couple games. They’ve been outscored by nine points in the first quarter over the first three games. USF also has 30 penalties this season, sixth-most in the country. If they want to dominate their opponents and show off for the CFP committee, they need to start off better and clean up both sides of the ball. ” - Alex Koslow

20. Florida

Previous Rank: 22


“Thanks to what is now being known as ‘The Heave to Cleve,’ the Gators beat the Volunteers on a last-second Hail Mary that connected quarterback Feleipe Franks to Tyrie Cleveland. This is the second time in three seasons in which the Gators have won thanks to a 63-yard pass. Tennessee missed three field goals and the Gators’ defense forced three interceptions, giving Florida the edge in this one. Florida’s offense still left much to be desired, but looked much better than it did against Michigan.” - Sean Berger

19. Louisville

Previous Rank: 14

“Louisville’s chances of winning the ACC all but evaporated during its blowout loss to Clemson. The Cardinals’ defense has serious holes. After giving up 28 points to a bad Purdue offense and 35 to a mediocre UNC offense, Louisville allowed Clemson to cruise to 47 points without much of an effort. Lamar Jackson is extremely talented, but he can’t play defense. So long as the Cardinals can’t stop a nosebleed, their ceiling is limited.” - Ryan Neu

18. Washington State

Previous Rank: 21

“Washington State’s offense is back on track after a shaky Week 2. The Cougars dropped a 50-spot on Oregon State and quarterback Luke Falk looked himself again, tossing 396 yards and six touchdowns. For Washington State to live up to its potential, it needs to ride Falk and Mike Leach’s offense as far as it can take it, because the defense has allowed 33.5 points per game during the past two games.” - Ryan Neu

17. Mississippi State

Previous Rank: Unranked


“Mississippi State made LSU look like a below-average team when it bulldozed the Tigers, 37-7. Nick Fitzgerald has emerged as a dark horse Heisman contender in a big way. Fitzgerald has already accounted for 12 total touchdowns and has been one of the most dynamic all-around quarterbacks in the game. The junior has averaged 12.62 yards per completion as well as 7.74 yards per carry. Taking on Georgia will be another tough task this week after the Bulldogs held Notre Dame dual threat quarterback Brandon Wimbush to just 27 rushing yards (excluding sacks).” - Sean Berger

16. TCU

Previous Rank: 20

TCU’s offense is still rolling, with the Horned Frogs taking apart SMU, 56-36. Quarterback Kenny Hill led an offense that averaged 7.84 yards across 79 plays last week. However, the defense took a step back by allowing SMU to throw for 339 yards. Although the defensive front showed a good push up front by racking up six QB hurries, the secondary was torched by SMU with an average of 18.83 yards per completion. Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph won’t be forgiving either. If this secondary doesn’t get it together, this weekend could be disastrous.” - Sean Berger

15. Miami

Previous Rank: 17

“Due to the effects of Hurricane Irma, Miami has seen one game cancelled and another postponed until October 7. However, the program is ready to get back on the field on an upset-minded Toledo team. Miami had a lot of success on the ground in its only game thus far, rushing for 317 yards. That might be the recipe that Miami needs to follow again after Toledo just got burned by Tulsa on the ground for 423 yards. Regardless, this is not a team to take lightly as the Rockets are averaging 46 points per game coming into this contest.” - Sean Berger

14. Auburn

Previous Rank: 15

“Auburn fans need to be worried. After a disappointing outcome against Clemson, a game against Mercer was supposed to bring back confidence to an offense that had looked sluggish out of the gates. Needless to say, that didn’t happen. Quarterback Jarett Stidham completed 32 passes for 364 yards, but failed to throw for a touchdown. On top of that, Auburn has failed to run the ball successfully in its last two games, averaging 2.16 yards per carry on 85 attempts. There’s also the fact that the offense turned the ball over five times. Luckily, Auburn will get one last chance to get the offense right against a Missouri team that is 103rd in total defense (442.7).” - Sean Berger

13. Virginia Tech

Previous Rank: 18


“After falling behind 17-7 against East Carolina last week, the Hokies reeled off 57 points in a row en route to an impressive road win. Freshman quarterback Josh Jackson looks like he is the man of the future, as he threw for 372 yards and five scores. Virginia Tech hosts Old Dominion this week before starting ACC play the following week against the second ranked Clemson Tigers.” - Colton Spaur

12. Georgia

Previous Rank: 12

“No Jacob Eason? No problem for the Bulldogs. Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm has stepped in nicely, going 2-0 in his two starts since Eason went down with a knee injury against Appalachian State. Nick Chubb rushed for 131 yards and two scores last week, as Fromm only had to throw the ball 13 times. After routing Samford, Georgia will host 17th-ranked Mississippi State, led by dual-threat quarterback Nick Fitzgerald.” - Colton Spaur

11. Florida State

Previous Rank: 10

“Florida State hasn’t played since Sept. 2, which means new quarterback James Blackman has had two-plus weeks to prepare for his new role as the Seminoles’ starting quarterback. That could prove critical for helping the true freshman get ready, but there’s only so much prep you can do in practice. He’ll finally get some real playing time this week against N.C. State and we’ll find out just how ready he is for the big stage.” - Ryan Neu

10. Wisconsin

Previous Rank: 11

“The Badgers took care of business Saturday, throttling BYU, 40-6. Wisconsin racked up 235 yards on the ground, led by freshman running back Jonathan Taylor with 128 yards. Wisconsin starts the Big 10 portion of the schedule by hosting Northwestern. This should be another big game for the Badgers’ offense as the Wildcats have given up 50 plays of 10-plus yards in just three games this season.” - Colton Spaur

9. Michigan

Previous Rank: 9

“Michigan put together a workman-like win against a tough Air Force squad. The offense scored just one offensive touchdown and was a mere 5-for-14 on third downs, but the defense was able to hold off Air Force’s triple option attack. Michigan limited the Falcons to just 168 yards rushing, allowing just 3.43 yards per carry. The Wolverines will have to be careful this week traveling to a much- improved Purdue squad who thrashed Mizzou this past week.” - Quinn Douglas

8. Washington

Previous Rank: 7


“The Huskies put up a whopping 27 points in the first quarter en route to a 48-16 victory over Fresno State. Senior wide receiver Dante Pettis found the end zone four times on Saturday, catching three and returning a punt 77 yards to the house. The seventh-ranked Huskies travel to Boulder this week in what is a rematch of last year’s PAC 12 title game.” - Colton Spaur

7. Ohio State

Previous Rank: 6

“After the passing game looked miserable against Oklahoma, the Ohio State offense made a more concentrated effort to throw the ball down the field. And to his credit, J.T. Barrett looked much better than he did the week before, completing 10 passes that went 10-plus yards. Barrett finished with 25 completions that totaled 270 yards. J.K. Dobbins had another stellar game, rushing for 172 yards and a touchdown, while averaging more than 13 yards per carry. Although all of this production came against Army, it’s a good sign to see the passing game take a step forward.” - Sean Berger

6. Oklahoma State

Previous Rank: 8

“The Cowboys are a team that everyone needs to start taking seriously. QB Mason Rudolph is fifth nationally with 1,135 yards, and third with 11 touchdowns. That’s after not playing the entire fourth quarter against Pitt. The Cowboys’ offense is explosive and the defense may just be good enough to dethrone rival Oklahoma.” - Alex Koslow 

5. USC

Previous Rank: 5


“After the Trojans posted an impressive win against ranked Stanford, USC needed overtime to get past the Longhorns in Pasadena. The offense only rushed for 71 yards, and Sam Darnold turned the ball over twice. The Trojans will need more consistency from their offense if they want to challenge for a spot in the College Football Playoff.” - Colton Spaur

4. Penn State

Previous Rank: 4

“The Nittany Lions rolled over Georgia State, as the defense pitched a shutout for the second time in three games. The offense is also doing their part, as Penn State is averaging 47 points per game led by Heisman hopeful Saquon Barkley. The Nittany Lions travel to Iowa City this Saturday, playing the Hawkeyes under the lights at Kinnick Stadium. The last time the Hawkeyes played a home night game, they took down No. 3 Michigan and dashed the team’s title hopes. Expect Kirk Ferentz and company to give Penn State a run, and possibly upset the Nittany Lions.” - Colton Spaur

3. Oklahoma

Previous Rank: 2

“Baker Mayfield is well on his way toward a Heisman trophy. Mayfield has already thrown for 1,046 yards and 10 touchdowns. He’s also completing an astounding 76.8 percent of his passes, is averaging 12.76 yards per attempt, and has yet to turn the ball over. Oklahoma still has a few questions to answer defensively, but Mayfield and the offense appear capable of outscoring just about anyone.” - Ryan Neu

2. Clemson

Previous Rank: 3


“Deshaun Watson who? It hasn’t taken long for Kelly Bryant to take command of the Clemson offense as he led the Tigers to a second straight victory over a top-15 program. Bryant dismantled Louisville’s defense, throwing for 316 yards, while averaging 14.36 yards per completion. And while he may not be as dynamic with his legs as Watson was, Bryant still put up 61 yards (excluding sacks) on the ground. Clemson gets a lot of attention on defense, but this offense is pretty talented as well.” - Sean Berger  

1. Alabama

Previous Rank: 1

“Alabama will be the top-ranked team until they lose and that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen anytime soon. Vandy comes into this week’s game after a 14-7 win over ranked Kansas State, but the Tide is a different beast. This will be the first time the two play since 2011 and the Commodores haven’t beaten Alabama since 1993. Enjoy an undefeated season while it lasts, Vandy fans.” - Alex Koslow 

Edited by Emily Berman, Coleman Gray.

SQuiz
In the 2017 version of the Florida-Tennessee rivalry, the Gators won on a last second Hail Mary that went 63 yards. In 2015, the Gators also won on a 63-yard pass late in the fourth quarter. Who was the quarterback that threw that pass?
Created 9/21/17
  1. Tim Tebow
  2. Treon Harris
  3. Feleipe Franks
  4. Will Grier

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