College Football Scores: Impact of Week 4 on Top Teams' Championship Hopes

Jessica Marie@ItsMsJisnerCorrespondent IISeptember 23, 2012

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 22:  Running back Kenyan Drake #17 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates with wide receiver Nathan McAlister #24 and offensive lineman Austin Shepherd #79 after scoring a touchdown while playing against the Florida Atlantic Owls on September 22, 2012 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Florida Atlantic Owls 40-7.  (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
Michael Chang/Getty Images

For some of the nation's top teams, Week 4 of the college football schedule brought more of the same dominance we've been used to seeing all season.

Others, for the first time all season, were tested.

Which teams passed and which failed? And what does that mean for their early BCS title hopes? Here's a look. You can see the entire Week 4 scoreboard here

No. 1 Alabama

Here we are, four weeks into the season, and we have yet to see any team challenge the defending national champs. So do the Crimson Tide really have a shot at repeating?

Florida Atlantic isn't the toughest opponent any SEC team has ever faced, but Alabama's 40-7 win was nothing if not a positive. For the fourth straight week, this A.J. McCarron-led offense has put up 35 points or more, and for the third straight week, the defense has allowed seven points or fewer.

Pretty good for a team that entered the 2012 season with serious concerns about its defense.

Ever since facing then-No. 8 Michigan in Week 1, Alabama hasn't had a lot of tough tests, but even so, it's obvious that this is the most complete team on both sides of the ball. As of now, Alabama is rolling offensively and defensively, and its grasp on that top spot hasn't been threatened. The next several weeks should tell us a lot about how far ahead of the pack the Crimson Tide are.  

No. 2 LSU

And Alabama's grasp on that No. 1 spot looks even stronger in light of the scare LSU faced on Saturday.

Up until then, the Tigers appeared to be neck-and-neck with the Crimson Tide. But what we learned this weekend was either that LSU is vulnerable, or Auburn is a little more formidable than we thought.

Most likely, it's the former. In a slim 12-10 win over Auburn, LSU managed only a field goal over the final three quarters of the game. Fortunately, though, the defense chose a good time to show up to play, shutting out Auburn in the second half after it had taken a 10-9 halftime lead.

We all know that defense wins championships, and in that sense, Saturday was encouraging for the Tigers. But we also know that Alabama's defense has been just as good as LSU's, and its offense has been much stronger, too.

No. 3 Oregon

The Ducks, like Alabama, are still sitting pretty after another stellar performance in Week 4. Oregon rolled over No. 22 Arizona 49-0, marking the fourth straight game in which it has scored 42 points or more.

By all indications, the Ducks boast one of the strongest offenses in the top five. They've averaged almost 53 points per game over the first four weeks of the season, but it's worth noting that Arizona is by far the toughest team the Ducks have faced thus far.

But although their defense has been steadily improving ever since opening weekend, it isn't quite up there with Alabama's. Could it continue to measure up? Absolutely—especially given how much weaker the Pac-12 is in comparison to the SEC.

If Saturday's game is any indication, this team is going to continue to put up huge numbers even as the schedule gets tougher. That means one misstep for LSU, and the Ducks can slide right in there and take advantage.

No. 4 Florida State

By far, the Seminoles faced the toughest task of any of the top five teams in Week 4. And their numbers may not have been as scintillating as they have been over the first few weeks of the season, but there aren't a lot of people complaining about Saturday's 49-37 win over No. 10 Clemson.

Defensively, there was a little bit of cause for concern for the Seminoles. Prior to Saturday, they had allowed three total points in the first three weeks of the season. Nobody expected the Seminoles to shut out a top-10 offense, but they likely didn't expect them to surrender five touchdowns, either.

It may only be Week 4, but with wins over Clemson and Wake Forest, FSU has essentially assured itself of a spot in the ACC title game, barring a total meltdown. Like Oregon, it's going to have to keep winning and rely on the other top teams to lose in order to crawl up the polls, but it could happen.

The ACC is far from the toughest conference in the country, so objectively—and yes, it is far too early to make a claim like this, but I'll go with it—the Seminoles have a better chance than anyone to win out.