College Football Week 4 Rankings and Analysis

Finally a little shakeup in this week’s edition of the AP college football rankings. Over the past weekend we saw two ranked teams in 6 Wisconsin and 23 Arizona State lose to unranked teams, as well as 15 TCU losing to 4 Ohio State and 7 Auburn losing to 12 LSU. Other than that our Top 25 handled their opposition quite easily, with some few exceptions. Let’s not waste anymore time. Here is this week’s Top 25 and my latest Heisman rankings:


  1. Alabama Crimson Tide (3-0; Last Week: 1)

Who else did you expect to see here? Tua Tagovailoa has continued his dominance as the Crimson Tide starting quarterback in his limited dominant style, accruing 191 yards on 15 attempts and 2 touchdowns en route to a 62-7 slaughter of Ole Miss. Can we take a moment and look at sophomore wide receiver Jerry Jeudy’s stat line? 3 receptions, 136 yards, and 2 touchdowns. He AVERAGED 45.3 yards per catch. The next highest receiving total on the Alabama side was 42 yards by Irv Smith and had more receiving yards than Rebels QB Jordan Ta’amu passed for (133 on 7/22). I simply don’t see Alabama slowing down in the slightest, especially when their starters only have to play the first half. Can Texas A&M give them a challenge similar to Clemson two weeks ago? I guess we’ll find out Saturday.


2. Georgia Bulldogs (3-0; Last Week: 3)

And the Dawgs have jumped over the Clemson Tigers in the Top 25 coming after their 49-7 win over Middle Tennessee. Elijah Holyfield ran for 100 yards on just 8 carries and Jake Fromm threw for 3 touchdowns before bringing in the second unit. Georgia didn’t record a single sack in this game but Middle Tennessee simply couldn’t get anything going. And what the hell happened to D’Andre Swift? He recorded four carries in the first quarter and never saw the field again. Was this just Kirby Smart’s way of keeping the native Philadelphian ready for Mizzou next week? Let’s see if Drew Lock and his Tigers can knock off the Dawgs next week.


3. Clemson Tigers (3-0; Last Week: 2)

I would guess Clemson dropped in the rankings because they beat an awful team by less than Georgia. Georgia Southern is a truly terrible team and the Tigers only won 38-7. Running back Travis Etienne had himself a day, rushing for 162 yards and 2 touchdowns while receiver Justyn Ross picked up 103 yards and a TD on just 3 catches. Clemson’s defensive line is very Philadelphia Eagles-esque with stars at every position, Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell, Dexter Lawrence, and Austin Bryant. Both Ferrell and Bryant recorded 2 sacks in the victory. Clemson has an easy one this week against Georgia Tech and their grade school level option offense. Seriously, my 8th grade football team ran the same offense.


4. Ohio State Buckeyes (3-0, Last Week: 4)

With the first victory over a ranked opponent in this week’s rankings, may I present to you the Ohio State Buckeyes. Dwayne Haskins is a *Stephen A. Smith voice* baaaaddd man throwing for 344 yards and 2 touchdowns against the 15th ranked TCU Horned Frogs in a 40-28 win AT TCU. Running back JK Dobbins finally showed up in this one, rushing for 121 yards on 18 carries. A projected top-5 pick in the next NFL Draft, Nick Bosa, brother of LA Chargers defensive end Joey, is having himself a great year. In this game he recorded his fourth sack of the year and a forced fumble. With Dwayne Haskins doing it all on offense and Nick Bosa terrorizing opposing quarterbacks, there are very few teams that the Buckeyes can’t beat. This week they have a home game against Tulane in what should be an easy win.


5. Oklahoma Sooners (3-0; Last Week: 5)

Kyler Murray, are you sure that you wanna play for the Oakland Athletics once your college career is over? The quarterback threw for 348 yards and 3 touchdowns on 21/29 passing and picked up another 77 yards on the ground in a 37-27 win over Iowa State. The kid definitely has a future in the NFL if he chose that route putting up numbers like these. I’m not going to lie; Murray is making it very difficult for me in my Heisman rankings. The kid continues to put on a show each and every week for his Sooners squad. I expect Murray to continue his run of dominance next week against Army.


6. LSU Tigers (3-0; Last Week: 12)

Ed Orgeron and his Tigers pulled out a huge win over SEC opponent Auburn last week 22-21. Running back Nick Brossette showed for once that he was merely mortal as he came back down to Earth with just 69 yards on 19 carries. Perhaps the number one cornerback in the upcoming NFL draft, Andraez “Greedy” Williams recorded an interception (his second on the year) and 2 tackles in the win. LSU looks to be back on track after a couple shaky years and look to stay on track against Louisiana Tech next week.


7. Stanford Cardinal (3-0; Last Week: 9)

Running back Bryce Love did not play in Stanford’s 30-10 victory over UC-Davis due to a late knee injury against USC the week prior. Could this hurt his Heisman chances? It’s possible as he was already putting up lackluster performances and this could have been a chance for a monster game. Nevertheless, Stanford is the team to beat in the Pac-12 now. That is, if they can beat 20 Oregon this upcoming week.


8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3-0; Last Week: 8)

How is Notre Dame still in the top 10? They barely beat a below-average Vanderbilt team last week, 22-17. Commodores’ QB Kyle Shurmur threw for 326 yards as opposed to Brandon Wimbush’s 122 passing yards and 84 rushing yards. Maybe Wake Forest can pull out a big upset this weekend. I don’t know but I do know that the Irish are not true contenders this year.


9. Auburn Tigers (2-1; Last Week: 7)

Auburn didn’t fall too much this week after that 22-21 loss to LSU. Let me say this: Jarrett Stidham is an overrated quarterback who many presume to be one of the top QBs in the next NFL draft. This season, he has only thrown over 200 yards once (273 in week one against Washington) and only has 3 touchdown passes in three games. I’ll give the Tigers this: they do have a very strong running game behind JaTarvious Whitlow, Shawn Shivers, and Kam Martin. Auburn has SEC opponent Arkansas this week.


10. Penn State Nittany Lions (3-0; Last Week: 11)

And just like that, the Nittany Lions are back in the Top 10 after beating Kent State 63-10. Quarterback Trace McSorley is still leaving a lot to desire as a passer from myself personally but he is getting the job done on the ground after 3 more rushing touchdowns. However, his completion percentage is barely above 50% (51.7%) and is averaging just over 200 passing yards per game. If the Nittany Lions want to take that next step and compete with Ohio State in the Big 10, McSorley has to be a more consistent passer. Illinois should be an easy opponent for Penn State this week.


11. Washington Huskies (2-1; Last Week: 10)

Penn State’s big performance and LSU’s win over a top 10 team drops Washington to the 11 spot even after a 21-7 win over Utah. Jake Browning did not play well (14/24 for 155, 1 TD, 1 INT) and is no longer the Heisman candidate he was last season, but nevertheless the Huskies pulled out a win against a solid conference opponent. Miles Gaskin could not be contained, rushing for 143 yards and a touchdown, while Aaron Fuller was unstoppable on the outside, recording 6 receptions for 108 yards. I’m still pegging Washington as Stanford’s best competition in the Pac-12 but have a tough battle against Arizona State this weekend.


12. West Virginia Mountaineers (2-0; Last Week: 14)

Will Grier and his Mountaineers actually rose in the rankings without even playing due to Hurricane Florence postponing their game against NC State. They’ll take on Big 12 opponent Kansas State this week.


13. Virginia Tech Hokies (2-0; Last Week: 13)

Like WVU, Va Tech’s game against East Carolina was postponed due to Florence. Unlike WVU, they did not rise in the rankings. The Hokies will face off against Old Dominion on Saturday.


14. Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-0; Last Week: 16)

The Bulldogs continue to rise with the return of dual threat QB Nick Fitzgerald. In a 56-10 win over Louisiana-Lafayette, Fitzgerald threw for 243 yards and 2 touchdowns and ran for 107 yards and 4 more TDs. With Fitzgerald at the helm, State will compete for a top bowl game. They go on the road against Kentucky this week who knocked off former 25th ranked Florida in Week 2.


15. Oklahoma State Cowboys (3-0; Last Week: 24)

Another huge riser in the rankings is OK State after a dominant 44-21 win over Boise State behind Justice Hill’s 123 rushing yards and Tylan Wallace’s 105 receiving yards. On the defensive side, Jordan Brailford sacked Heisman candidate Brett Rypien 3 times to contribute to the Cowboys’ 7 total sacks. Is OK State a legit contender in the Big 12? It’s hard to say with Oklahoma and West Virginia ahead of them. One thing those two teams have that the Cowboys don’t is a dominant quarterback leading them (Kyler Murray and Will Grier, respectively). If OK State wants to contend, they need a step up from quarterback Taylor Cornelius. Texas Tech is on the table for the Cowboys this week.


16. UCF Golden Knights (2-0; Last Week: 18)

Another team rising after a postponed game is UCF thanks to losses by Wisconsin, TCU, and Boise State. The Knights will come back this week against FAU.


17. TCU Horned Frogs (2-1; Last Week: 15)

To be fair, TCU was up 14-13 at half against the Buckeyes. Then that lead was erased after OSU scored 20 points in the third quarter. Running back Darius Anderson ran all over the Buckeyes to the tune of 154 yards and 2 touchdowns. TCU is still a good team and they’ll be looking to prove that against Texas this week.


18. Wisconsin Badgers (2-1; Last Week: 6)

Maybe I was wrong about Wisconsin last week. Maybe I personally jinxed this game after showing too much love for the Badgers in my last edition of my college football rankings. They ended up losing to BYU at home 24-21 despite Jonathan Taylor’s best efforts (26 rushes for 117 yards). I’m sad about this loss because I honestly felt like the Badgers could contend with Ohio State this year. They’ll have a a bounce back opportunity this week against Iowa.


19. Michigan Wolverines (2-1; Last Week: 19)

The Wolverines’ ranking remains unchanged after defeating an abysmal SMU team 45-20. Shea Patterson played very well against the Mustangs with 237 yards and 3 TDs on 14/18 passing. They’ll be playing new coach Scott Frost and Nebraska next week.


20. Oregon Ducks (3-0; Last Week: 20)

The Ducks were able to escape San Jose State 35-22 behind Justin Herbert’s 300 yards and 3 TD passes. The one negative for this game: Herbert also threw 2 interceptions to allow San Jose to stay in the game. To be fair, the Ducks had 2 interceptions of their own (Justin Hollins and Jevon Holland). I still believe in Herbert and the Ducks to give Stanford and Washington a run for their money in the Pac-12. Let’s see if they can take down Stanford this week. Luckily for them Bryce Love is dealing with an injury and the Ducks must take advantage.


21. Miami Hurricanes (2-1; Last Week: 21)

Another team unchanged in the early 20’s is the U. They beat Toledo easily 49-24 behind Malik Rosier’s 2 TD passes and over 200 yards passing and DeeJay Dallas’ 110 rushing yards and touchdown. The defense kept Toledo uncomfortable on offense with 4 sacks and an interception. Miami plays in-state opponent FIU Saturday afternoon.


22. Texas A&M Aggies (2-1; Last Week: NR)

If only A&M could have converted the 2-pointer against Clemson. Maybe the Aggies would be sitting pretty in the top 20, maybe even top 15. They defeated Louisiana-Monroe 48-10 with running back Trayveon Williams rushing for 128 yards and a touchdown and the defense recording 4 sacks and an interception. The sad news is that A&M might return to being unranked after they play Alabama this weekend. Coach Jimbo Fisher would even go vegan for a whole year if it meant the Aggies defeated the reigning champions.


23. Boston College (3-0; Last Week: NR)

This Boston College offense is dynamite. Perhaps one of the best running backs you haven’t heard of is sophomore AJ Dillon. On the season, Dillon has 432 yards and 4 TDs on just 59 attempts. Against Holy Cross two weeks ago, he ran for 149 yards on just 6 carries. This week against Wake Forest, he picked up 185 yards and a touchdown on the way to a 41-34 win. It’s safe to say Dillon will enter my Heisman race after leading the Eagles to a 3-0 record to start their season. Not to be forgotten, quarterback Anthony Brown threw for over 300 yards and 5 touchdowns in the win. Let’s see how the Eagles fare against Purdue this upcoming week.


24. Michigan State Spartans (1-1; Last Week: 25)

The Spartans had off last week and look to get a win against Indiana this week. If not, they will drop out of the Top 25.


25. BYU Cougars (2-1; Last Week: NR)

Does BYU really deserve to be in the Top 25 after defeating 6 Wisconsin last week? I’m not entirely sure but they did beat Arizona in Week 1 28-23 before losing to Cal 21-18. They’ll be able to stick around for a week as they play McNeese State on Saturday before taking on Washington in the following week.


Fell Out of Top 25:

Boise State Broncos: Lost 44-21 to OK State

USC Trojans: Lost 37-14 to Texas

Arizona State Sun Devils: Lost 28-21 to San Diego State



aj dillon

My Heisman Race:

  1. Will Grier, QB, West Virginia
  2. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
  3. Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
  4. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
  5. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
  6. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
  7. AJ Dillon, RB, Boston College
  8. Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
  9. Bryce Love, RB, Stanford
  10. Brett Rypien, QB, Boise State



Pictures Courtesy of:

CNN (Kyler Murray)

Boston Globe (AJ Dillon)



Mike Johnston

Glenside, PA

University of South Carolina ’21

Twitter: @mjohnston0880

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