Bleacher Report's Official Top 25 Poll for Week 4

Jonathan McDanal@@jdmcdanalContributor IIISeptember 15, 2013

Bleacher Report's Official Top 25 Poll for Week 4

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    College football's Week 3 is over, complete with massive cross-conference battles like UCLA at Nebraska and Alabama at Texas A&M. The rankings are starting to shake out, and the shape of the offseason is becoming clearer with every week.

    Check out Bleacher Report's Official Top 25 Poll for Week 4 right here.

     

    Poll voters (in alphabetical order): Adam Biggers, Eric Bowman, Carter Bryant, Phil Callihan, Alex Callos, Andrew Coppens, Bill Eichenberger, Michael Felder, Trenise Ferreira, Sean Frye, Kyle Kensing, Ben Kercheval, Sanjay Kirpalani, Marc Kohn, Adam Kramer, David Luther, Jonathan McDanal, Lafe Peavler, Max Rausch, David Regimbal, Patrick Runge, Barrett Sallee, Alex Sims, Erin Sorensen, Marc Torrence and Greg Wallace.

    Each voter submitted an individual Top 25, and every first-place team was given 25 points. The second-place team received 24, and so on, with the 25th-place team earning one point. The teams are ranked in order according to total points.

     

    *All times are ET

Others Receiving Votes

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    Nebraska: 32

    Texas Tech: 28

    Fresno State: 20

    Georgia Tech: 13

    UCF: 11

    Northern Illinois: 9

    BYU: 4

    TCU: 3

    Kansas State: 2

    Virginia Tech, Arizona, Maryland and USC: 1

25. Michigan State Spartans

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    Previous Rank: N/A

    Week 3 Result: Michigan State 55, Youngstown State 17

    Week 4: at Notre Dame, Saturday, Sept. 21, at 3:30 p.m.

    Overall Record: 3-0

    Poll Points: 39

    Michigan State trounced Youngstown State 55-17 this week and moved from also-ran to the Top 25. The Spartans have an epic battle looming in Week 4, and they are going to have to use everything they know—and a little from the Purdue game tape—to take down a team as good as Notre Dame.

    The most important stat for Michigan State this week was “two.” The Spartans committed just two penalties for 19 yards against Youngstown State, and that is a recipe for success—no matter who your opponent is.

24. Wisconsin Badgers

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    Previous Rank: No. 20

    Week 3 Result: Arizona State 32, Wisconsin 30

    Week 4: vs. Purdue, Saturday, Sept. 21, at 3:30 p.m.

    Overall Record: 2-1

    Poll Points: 47

    Wisconsin outplayed the Arizona State Sun Devils for most of the 32-30 battle, and there was an incredibly bizarre ending to go along with the back-and-forth excitement of the match.

    The Badgers had the ball, down 32-30, with 1:36 left in the game. They got within range of a three-pointer but had 18 seconds left. With plenty of time to run another play and spike or kneel if necessary, they ran a play.

    What happened next was unbelievable. ESPN's take is that Joel Stave "tried to kneel," but he simply leaned forward and laid the ball down. He backed away with his hands in the air, all of which signified that he didn't want the ball, but he never actually downed it.

    Arizona State jumped on the ball, securing the "fumble." While the ball sat there, doing nothing, everyone in the stadium was trying to figure out what was going on. As it turns out, the only thing happening was the game clock winding down to zero.

    And here we all thought that the "targeting" rule would be the most controversial subject of the season. Wisconsin didn't prove that it should have been knocked out of the rankings, though.

    In fact, it was quite the opposite.

23. Ole Miss Rebels

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    Previous Rank: N/A

    Week 3 Result: Ole Miss 44, Texas 23

    Week 4: Bye

    Overall Record: 3-0

    Poll Points: 108

    Ole Miss came back from a 23-14 deficit—after allowing Texas to score 23 unanswered points—to win the rematch 44-23. The Rebels are quickly improving under Hugh Freeze, as expected, and they are doing it faster than anticipated.

    Whatever Freeze said at halftime led to the Rebels completely shutting out the Longhorns in the second half, 27-0. These Rebels aren't going to win the SEC, but they are going to ruin someone else's season. After the Week 4 bye, they take on Alabama. If the Tide don't respect what Freeze has built, that could be a season-making win for the Rebels.

22. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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    Previous Rank: No. 19

    Week 3 Result: Notre Dame 31, Purdue 24

    Week 4: vs. Michigan State, Saturday, Sept. 21, at 3:30 p.m.

    Overall Record: 2-1

    Poll Points: 115

    Notre Dame fought valiantly against the Purdue Boilermakers and came away with a 31-24 win after trailing 10-3 at the half. While it looks like an unnecessarily close game against a lesser opponent, Purdue plays Notre Dame like any other major rival plays its nemesis.

    It's always an unnecessarily tough win for the Irish, and it deserves respect. The Irish maintain a spot in the rankings, and the Michigan State game next week will be equally taxing.

21. Arizona State Sun Devils

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    Previous Rank: No. 25

    Week 3 Result: Arizona State 32, Wisconsin 30

    Week 4: at Stanford, Saturday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m.

    Overall Record: 2-0

    Poll Points: 126

    Arizona State was down 21-13 against Wisconsin late in the third quarter but came back with a vengeance to win the game by outscoring the Badgers 19-9 in the final 16 minutes of the battle.

    While it wasn't the most straightforward win, it was one of the most exciting of the weekend. The gruesome details were extensively covered in the Wisconsin slide and are probably worth a re-read if you're a Sun Devils fan.

20. Baylor Bears

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    Previous Rank: No. 22

    Week 3 Result: Bye

    Week 4: vs. Louisiana-Monroe, Saturday, Sept. 21, at 4 p.m.

    Overall Record: 2-0

    Poll Points: 157

    Baylor is yet another team that had a bye this past week. Baylor has proven itself worthy of respect in the Big 12 for the past few seasons, and its offense had started 2013 aggressively.

    This next game against Louisiana-Monroe will give it a perfect opportunity to break its defense in against a quality quarterback in Kolton Browning.

    If they can shut down that offense, Baylor could come out as one of the most talked-about teams in the conference.

19. Florida Gators

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    Previous Rank: No. 21

    Week 3 Result: Bye

    Week 4: vs. Tennessee, Saturday, Sept. 21, at 3:30 p.m.

    Overall Record: 1-1

    Poll Points: 159

    Florida has had its bye week to emotionally recover from the Week 2 Miami loss. When the Gators come back, they'll be taking on a wounded Tennessee unit that's just been schooled by the Oregon Ducks.

    Clean play, solid fundamental execution and special teams will play a large part in deciding the Gators' Week 4 fate. At least until that game, Florida can enjoy a spot in the rankings.

18. Washington Huskies

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    Previous Rank: No. 23

    Week 3 Result: Washington 34, Illinois 24

    Week 4: vs. Idaho State, Saturday, Sept. 21, at 3 p.m.

    Overall Record: 2-0

    Poll Points: 174

    With a 34-24 win over a plucky, albeit inconsistent, Illinois team, Washington has done everything it can to hold its bid for a ranked position. The 10-point win is yet another solid piece of evidence that Keith Price may have turned a corner.

    There are plenty of games for him to possibly drop along the way, but he's simply done enough to win every game so far. It's worth noting that those wins are over Boise State and the Illini, neither of which are cupcake teams.

17. Northwestern Wildcats

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    Previous Rank: No. 18

    Week 3 Result: Northwestern 38, Western Michigan 17

    Week 4: vs. Maine, Saturday, Sept. 21, at 3:30 p.m.

    Overall Record: 3-0

    Poll Points: 200

    The Northwestern Wildcats took down Western Michigan 38-17 in Week 3, and that kept them here. The Wildcats did not have any trouble taking care of the Broncos, and Trevor Siemian established that he knows what ball security is by throwing zero interceptions.

    With clean play from the quarterback like that, it's certain that the Wildcats won't be beating themselves this season. The only question is how many Big Ten teams they can keep from beating them along the way.

16. Michigan Wolverines

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    Previous Rank: No. 12

    Week 3 Result: Michigan 28, Akron 24

    Week 4: at Connecticut, Saturday, Sept. 21, time TBD

    Overall Record: 3-0

    Poll Points: 276

    Michigan didn't have the greatest performance against Akron on Sept. 14, but it was still a win. However, the Wolverines are going to have to do better than 28-24 over the Akron Zips to garner respect from...well, anyone.

    Devin Gardner was not having a good day against the Zips, and he finished 16-of-30 for 248 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. The good news for fans of the Maize and Blue is that he played one of the worst games possible, and they still won. As long as he doesn't do it again, a perfect record is still attainable.

15. Miami Hurricanes

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    Previous Rank: No. 15

    Week 3 Result: Bye

    Week 4: vs. Savannah State, Saturday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m.

    Overall Record: 2-0

    Poll Points: 288

    The last time Miami took the field, it upset the Florida Gators. After that win, the Hurricanes get to take on Savannah State in the coming week. They should not have dropped in the rankings for Week 4, and they didn't.

    Heading into the next game, they need to watch out for margin of victory, as Michigan found out this week. You can drop just from allowing a team to be far too competitive. The Hurricanes have to cover the spread against Savannah State.

14. Oklahoma Sooners

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    Previous Rank: No. 14

    Week 3 Result: Oklahoma 51, Tulsa 20

    Week 4: Bye

    Overall Record: 3-0

    Poll Points: 299

    Oklahoma's 51-20 win over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane suggests that the Sooners are solidifying as a team. Where one week was full of offense, the next was almost strictly defense. Now, they have put together a complete game.

    Heading into conference play soon, they will have to ensure that it wasn't just a fluke against a non-AQ team. If the Sooners can play consistently like they did Saturday, the Big 12 may not be wide open anymore.

13. UCLA Bruins

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    Previous Rank: No. 16

    Week 3 Result: UCLA 41, Nebraska 21

    Week 4: vs. New Mexico State, Saturday, Sept. 21, at 10:30 p.m.

    Overall Record: 2-0

    Poll Points: 332

    UCLA put on an excellent show against Nebraska. The Bruins were down 21-3 with one minute to go in the first half. Little did Nebraska know that it had scored all it was going to score for the rest of the day.

    The Bruins scored 38 unanswered points to take the 'Huskers down, 41-21. If you were looking for a 2013 Pac-12 South favorite, UCLA has made the best argument of the division so far.

12. Oklahoma State Cowboys

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    Previous Rank: No. 13

    Week 3 Result: Oklahoma State 59, Lamar 3

    Week 4: Bye

    Overall Record: 3-0

    Poll Points: 366

    Oklahoma State's game against Lamar didn't look all that impressive until Michigan was almost overthrown by Akron. Sure, there's a difference between FBS and FCS schools, but Lamar has more similarities to Akron than the Zips have to Michigan.

    The Cowboys came away with a decisive 59-3 win in a season that looks to be filled with nail-biters. They retain a ranked position simply by winning games in a manner befitting a Top 25 program.

11. South Carolina Gamecocks

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    Previous Rank: No. 11

    Week 3 Result: South Carolina 35, Vanderbilt 25

    Week 4: Bye

    Overall Record: 2-1

    Poll Points: 376

    South Carolina scored a 35-25 conference win over the Vanderbilt Commodores, and that's enough to stay put in the polls. It may not have been pretty, but there were a ton of ugly wins this week, including a few from some of the teams near the top of the list.

    Connor Shaw went 21-of-29 for 284 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions.

10. Texas A&M Aggies

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    Previous Rank: No. 7

    Week 3 Result: Alabama 49, Texas A&M 42

    Week 4: vs. SMU, Saturday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m.

    Overall Record: 2-1

    Poll Points: 432

    Texas A&M might have lost the game in Week 3, but if Alabama is as good as advertised, the Aggies certainly proved they were worth their Top 10 ranking. Johnny Manziel went 28-of-39 for 464 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions.

    While it was far more offensively entertaining than the 2011 'Bama-LSU regular-season match, it felt all-too familiar when the final whistle blew. Which team was actually better? Is this another budding rematch? Aggies fans sure hope so.

9. Louisville Cardinals

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    Previous Rank: No. 8

    Week 3 Result: Louisville 38, Kentucky 17

    Week 4: vs. Florida International, Saturday, Sept. 21, at noon

    Overall Record: 3-0

    Poll Points: 446

    Louisville took Kentucky to task in its own stadium, and the Cardinals proved that they can adjust their play extremely well at halftime. The Cardinals led 10-3 at the half, but they pulled away in the third quarter.

    After staving off an attempted Kentucky comeback in the fourth, Louisville scored a solid win to stay inside the Top 10.

T-7. Georgia Bulldogs

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    Previous Rank: No. 9

    Week 3 Result: Bye

    Week 4: vs. North Texas, Saturday, Sept. 21, at 12:21 p.m.

    Overall Record: 1-1

    Poll Points: 457

    Georgia got a week to recover from the pair of epic games it played in the first two weeks of college football. As the Bulldogs sat there with their 1-1 record, part of the relief had to be that they couldn't lose during a bye week.

    It will be interesting to see how well they used the extra time to prepare for the next few weeks.

T-7. Florida State Seminoles

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    Previous Rank: No. 10

    Week 3 Result: Florida State 62, Nevada 7

    Week 4: vs. Bethune-Cookman, Saturday, Sept. 21, at 6 p.m.

    Overall Record: 2-0

    Poll Points: 457

    With the 62-7 victory over Nevada, Florida State has continued the journey toward a potential national championship. There are still 11 games between now and the final BCS championship match, but the Seminoles are looking like the team to beat in the ACC.

    Of course, the Clemson game later in the season will tell everyone a lot more, but nobody needs to worry about that just yet.

6. LSU Tigers

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    Previous Rank: No. 6

    Week 3 Result: LSU 45, Kent State 13

    Week 4: vs. Auburn, Saturday, Sept. 21, at 7:45 p.m.

    Overall Record: 3-0

    Poll Points: 523 (1)

    LSU stifled Kent State for the better part of 60 minutes in Week 3, and the Tigers came away with yet another solid win. Again, LSU doesn't look completely unbeatable, but it certainly looks unbeatable for most of the country.

    With so few teams able to mount a successful attack against the Tigers, their spot in this poll makes complete sense. Plus, some of the teams capable of handing them a loss are sitting ahead of them on their schedule already.

    Week 4 vs. Auburn will be a big test against a quality SEC West rival.

5. Stanford Cardinal

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    Previous Rank: No. 4

    Week 3 Result: Stanford 34, Army 20

    Week 4: vs. Arizona State, Saturday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m.

    Overall Record: 2-0

    Poll Points: 554

    Stanford topped Army by two possessions in Week 3, and that should cause Cardinal fans to be a little concerned. While Stanford's defense is solid, it is obviously still susceptible to a rushing attack. The Cardinal gave up 284 yards on the ground to the Black Knights this week.

    They will have some time to jell before facing Oregon, but conference play starts next week. The Cardinal will have to play much better defense to make it to the Oregon game undefeated.

4. Clemson Tigers

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    Previous Rank: No. 5

    Week 3 Result: Bye

    Week 4: at NC State, Thursday, Sept. 19, at 7:30 p.m.

    Overall Record: 2-0

    Poll Points: 567

    Clemson got to sit back and watch the epic battles all over college football in Week 3. Plus, Dabo Swinney was able to coach his players about not overlooking the NC State Wolfpack for the entire week.

3. Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Previous Rank: No. 3

    Week 3 Result: Ohio State 52, California 34

    Week 4: vs. Florida A&M, Saturday, Sept. 21, at noon

    Overall Record: 3-0

    Poll Points: 569 (1)

    Ohio State doesn't have to wait any longer to see what Urban Meyer will do once he has his system fully implemented. While it may not be at 100 percent yet, it's definitely achieved its purpose already.

    The big 52-34 win over Cal proves that, while the defense has some work to do, the offense is more than good enough to win 90 percent of the games on the schedule...even with the starting quarterback on the bench.

    The Buckeyes have a lot of tough contests ahead of them, but they will be just as winnable as the Cal game.

2. Oregon Ducks

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    Previous Rank: No. 2

    Week 3 Result: Oregon 59, Tennessee 14

    Week 4: Bye

    Overall Record: 3-0

    Poll Points: 613 (1)

    Oregon took down Tennessee 59-14 in the usual manner. With that cross-conference win, Oregon stands at 3-0 on the season with no signs of slowing down.

    It's too early to start naming the national championship participants, but Oregon is clearly one of the front-runners. With the way Alabama played against Texas A&M on Sept. 14, Oregon fans have to be salivating for that potential matchup.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

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    Previous Rank: No. 1

    Week 3 Result: Alabama 49, Texas A&M 42

    Week 4: vs. Colorado State, Saturday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m.

    Overall Record: 2-0

    Poll Points: 646 (23)

    With the big win over Texas A&M, Alabama comes back at the No. 1 position. As unlikely as it seems with the score so high, Alabama's defense made the difference in this game. Vinnie Sunseri's pick-six against Johnny Manziel essentially won the game.

    AJ McCarron went 20-of-29 for 334 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions in the game.