College Football Week 4 AP Poll Analysis

Week 4 AP Poll

1) Alabama(45) – 3-0
2) Clemson(15) – 3-0
3) Oklahoma(1) – 3-0
4) Penn State – 3-0
5) USC – 3-0
6) Oklahoma State – 3-0
7) Washington – 3-0
8) Michigan – 3-0
9) Wisconsin – 3-0
10) Ohio State – 2-1
11) Georgia – 3-0
12) Florida State – 0-1
13) Virginia Tech – 3-0
14) Miami – 1-0
15) Auburn – 2-1
16) TCU – 3-0
17) Mississippi State – 3-0
18) Washington State – 3-0
19) Louisville – 2-1
20) Florida – 1-1
21) South Florida – 3-0
22) San Diego State – 3-0
23) Utah – 3-0
24) Oregon – 3-0
25) LSU – 2-1

Week 3 of the 2017 College Football season did not disappoint with some highly anticipated matchups and some shocking upsets. With the results of Saturday’s games, there has been a big shift of rankings in the Week 4 AP Poll. The Alabama Crimson Tide remains #1 with 45 first place votes while the Clemson Tigers overshoot the Oklahoma Sooners to take the #2 spot with 15 first-place votes. Clemson had themselves a big win against reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson and the #14 Louisville Cardinals in Louisville. Oklahoma takes the #3 ranking with 1 first place vote and the Penn State Nittany Lions take the #4 ranking.

There are four teams in the Week 4 AP Poll that have been ranked for the first time this season; #17 Mississippi State Bulldogs, #22 San Diego State Aztecs, #23 Utah Utes, and #24 Oregon Ducks. There are four teams that have fallen out of the top 25; the Kansas State Wildcats, UCLA Bruins, Stanford Cardinal, and Tennessee Volunteers. There are a lot of rises and falls from the previous poll’s to the Week 4 AP Poll. Let’s take a look at the biggest risers and fallers in the Week 4 AP Poll.

The Biggest Rises

#2 Clemson Tigers (3-0) – previous ranking: 3

One noticeable rise in the Week 4 AP Poll includes the Clemson Tigers at #2 having risen one spot from last week after their big win over the #14 Louisville Cardinals. The Tigers defense held Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals offense to 433 total yards, while Clemson’s offense accounting for 613 total yards. The previous week, the Tigers defense accounted for eleven total sacks against a ranked Auburn Tigers team. Against Louisville, the Tigers defense accounted for four sacks and seven total tackles for loss. Clemson remains the favorite to win the ACC and to secure a College Football Playoff spot.

#6 Oklahoma State Cowboys (3-0) – previous ranking: 9

After demolishing a Pittsburgh Panthers defense 59-21, the Cowboys find themselves in a very good spot this early in the 2017 season. The Cowboys have the biggest rise in the top ten of the AP Poll, rising three spots. Quarterback Mason Rudolph put his name in the Heisman Trophy race after passing for 497 yards and five touchdowns. Wide receiver Jalen McCleskey caught seven receptions for 162 yards and three touchdowns. The Cowboys might be the most explosive and dangerous offensive team in the nation. Look for the Cowboys to win in shootouts through the season.

#17 Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-0) – previous rankings: unranked

The most shocking game from week three would have to be the crushing defeat of the #12 LSU Tigers. The Mississippi State Bulldogs defeated the Tigers 37-7 in Starkville. The Bulldogs didn’t just win against a heavily favored LSU team, they beat the Tigers in every phase of the game. Bulldogs quarterback Nick Fitzgerald passed for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Fitzgerald also rushed for 88 yards and two touchdowns. Fitzgerald tore apart the Tigers’ defense with the Bulldogs run/pass option offense. While LSU struggled to get an offensive drive going, this game was more on the indication that State’s defense was underrated. As of right now, the #17 Bulldogs are the biggest threats to the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC West.

#20 Florida Gators (1-1) – previous rankings: 24

After an embarrassing offensive performance in the first week of the season against the Michigan Wolverines and a delayed matchup against Miami due to hurricane Irma, the Gators were eager to get their troubles behind them. The efficiency for the Gators offense was not better against the #23 Tennessee Volunteers as both teams went to a 6-3 halftime score. The second half was better but was still lacking consistency on both sides. With 50 seconds to go the game was tied up and about to go to overtime until Florida makes one more drive. Freshman quarterback Feleipe Franks tosses a 63-yard Hail Mary touchdown to win the game for the Gators. The win gives the Gators their first win of the season. The Gators also now have a more favorable spot in the Week 4 AP Poll despite their current offensive struggles.

The Biggest Falls:

#5 USC Trojans (3-0) – previous ranking: 4

The USC Trojans won their game against the Texas Longhorns (1-2) in double overtime with a 27-24 score. However, the Trojans are now currently the first team out of the playoff spot in the Week 4 AP Poll. The rankings will keep changing but the Trojans are going in the wrong direction after almost getting upset by the Longhorns. This could be a big season outlook once the Trojans start PAC-12 conference play. There still will be time for USC to rise, but this could be potentially big later in the season if the Trojans continue to play close games.

#19 Louisville Cardinals (2-1) – previous ranking: 14

For the Cardinals to lose their biggest game this early in the season can be a problem, especially if Clemson continues to get better. This loss does not put Louisville out of the playoff race, but it makes their chase next to impossible. By this standard, the Cardinals cannot afford to lose another game including a matchup against the #12 Florida State Seminoles.

#25 LSU Tigers (2-1) – previous ranking: 12

By far, the biggest drop in the AP Poll goes to the LSU Tigers after their shocking loss to Mississippi State. The loss might come with ripple effects for the season as the Tigers are stuck looking for a proper rebound. This comes as a surprise for LSU as they put-up a shutout win over BYU in the first week of the season. LSU still has games against Alabama, Auburn, and Florida to boost their resume for a playoff spot. The Tigers will need to fix their stability on defense and create more momentum on offense especially with running back Derrius Guice.

Teams that have Fallen out of the Top 25:

Kansas State Wildcats (2-1) – previously ranked: 18

The Wildcats had a tough road game against a Vanderbilt Commodores team that is usually undervalued but has a consistently tough defense and a good offense. While the Wildcats have a great offense of their own, they’ll need to score more than seven points per game to win.

Stanford Cardinal (1-2) – previously ranked: 19

Playoffs hope for the Cardinal may have just run out after back to back losses to USC and San Diego State. Many analysts and writers were putting the Cardinal above USC in the standings and in the playoffs in the preseason.

Tennessee Volunteers (2-1) – previously ranked: 23

Ironically, the team who had the most luck last season had the worst luck with Florida’s game-winning Hail Mary toss last weekend. With tough competition still in the SEC East, the Volunteers are at a grind to make themselves more relevant in the standings and rankings.

UCLA Bruins (2-1) – previously ranked: 25

The #25 UCLA Bruins vs Memphis Tigers shootout was a great matchup from start to finish. Unfortunately, a 48-45 loss to a non-automatic conference playoff team will hurt the Bruins for a few weeks in the standings.

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