NCAA Football Rankings 2013: Winners and Losers from Week 4
The Alabama Crimson Tide remained the unquestioned No. 1 team in the nation after a win over Texas A&M, but Oregon also garnered a first-place vote in the Week 4 Associated Press and USA Today coaches Top 25 polls.
The cockamamie closing of Arizona State's contest with Wisconsin shook up the back end of both polls, as the Sun Devils upended the Badgers to cause a major mix-up.
As some teams dropped out of the rankings, it made way for a number of newcomers, including one Mountain West Conference contender looking to make a BCS run.
Finally, three top programs earned no respect in the polls, despite winning their Week 3 tilts.
Loser: Dave Reardon
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Dave Reardon just had to be the rebel.
Reardon of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser stood alone as the only one of 60 AP Top 25 voters not to select Alabama at No. 1.
Reardon chose the Ducks No. 1 last week as well, but it was his explanation for that vote that made his Week 4 vote even more confusing. As he explained his choice last week, he said that he would probably put the Crimson Tide back at No. 1 if they beat Texas A&M.
To his credit, the Ducks have outscored their opponents 184-27 this season. However, they haven't exactly been playing juggernauts in wins over Nicholls State, Virginia and Tennessee.
While Oregon's start has been impressive, was it more impressive than the way Alabama manipulated a national title contender in Texas A&M on the road?
Fifty-nine media voters didn't think so, but Reardon did.
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LSU broke out its purple uniforms and pummeled Kent State 45-13 on Saturday, which was enough for a two-spot bump in the AP poll.
The Tigers leapfrogged Louisville and swiped the open spot left by Texas A&M in moving from No. 8 to No. 6.
The scenario played out perfectly for LSU, as it looked clearly stronger in its win than the Cardinals did against rival Kentucky. Louisville struggled in Lexington, winning just 27-13 against a Wildcats team that won only two games last season.
This could be the start of a negative trend for Louisville, as chances to impress will be few and far between as it continues through its weak schedule.
The situation couldn't be more different for the Tigers, who have five ranked opponents still left on their schedule.
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Coaches: NR (27)
After being hosed on the field in the most bizarre ending imaginable against Arizona State, Wisconsin was bamboozled again in the morning when the polls were released.
The media was understanding of the Badgers, who hadn't allowed a point in their first two games, sliding them back to No. 24.
The coaches, however, saw the loss as a loss and nothing more, bouncing Wisconsin all the way out of the rankings.
While the coldness of the coaches may sting in the short term, the Badgers will have plenty of opportunities to make up ground in the rankings, particularly in two weeks when they travel to Columbus to take on Ohio State.
Winner: Arizona State
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The benefactor of the Badgers' blunder is Arizona State.
Thanks to the wacky ending, the Sun Devils escaped with a 32-30 victory and jumped into the Top 25 in the process. The ranking isn't entirely undeserved, as ASU looks like a darkhorse contender in the Pac-12 Conference.
Quarterback Taylor Kelly and running back Marion Grice give the Sun Devils a dangerous offensive attack. Against UW, ASU notched 468 total yards as it improved to 2-0.
The ranking also comes as a perfect setup for Arizona State's date with No. 5 Stanford this weekend. A win over the Cardinal, and this fluke ending will be forgotten.
Loser: Ohio State
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Ohio State started the season at No. 2 and has done nothing but win, even despite the injury to star quarterback Braxton Miller.
And as the Buckeyes have won, the media has turned the other direction, holding the 3-0 Buckeyes back to No. 4 in the Week 4 poll.
Without Miller, the Buckeyes outgunned California in Berkeley, amassing 608 yards of total offense in the process. Still, that wasn't enough to jump a Clemson team that didn't even play.
At the going rate, Ohio State might as well just book its ticket for the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day and a flight out on Jan. 2, because the Jan. 6 BCS title game is out of the question—at least in the eyes of the media.
OSU will take on a few ranked teams before the season is over, but will it be enough to actually go the right direction in the polls?
Winner: Texas Tech
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Coaches: NR (28)
Texas Tech didn't have its best game in a Thursday night win over TCU, but it was enough for the Red Raiders to make the climb to No. 25 in the AP poll.
What make's TTU's jump most impressive, is that the Red Raiders didn't garner a single vote in the Week 3 AP poll.
Now that they're in, their schedule sets up nicely for a slow, steady climb. After facing Texas State next week, the Red Raiders will ease into Big 12 play, taking on Kansas, Iowa State and West Virginia in their first three games.
KU, ISU and WVU were selected to finish in the bottom three of the league going into the season.
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Michigan is lucky it didn't drop further in the polls.
Just a week after an enormous win over Notre Dame, the Wolverines fell face-first against Akron and came within inches of defeat.
The Zips had the ball just two yards away from upsetting Michigan in the Big House, but their final pass attempt fell incomplete as time expired.
As a result of the near loss, Michigan dropped six spots between the AP and coaches polls.
It also didn't help that its key win lost its luster when Notre Dame nearly fell upset to Purdue.
Winner: Fresno State
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
AP: NR (27)
Fresno State had a great opportunity to pick up its second win over a BCS conference opponent when it was scheduled to take on Colorado in Week 3.
However, massive flooding in Boulder caused the game to be postponed.
Still, the Bulldogs were slated in the Top 25 by the coaches just in time for their crucial contest with Boise State.
A win against Boise will put Fresno in the driver's seat to run the table and obtain an at-large BCS berth.
Quarterback Derek Carr has the Bulldogs looking strong enough to win out, as he ranks No. 5 in the nation in passing yards per game.
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Joining Michigan and Ohio State as teams that won but were disrespected in the polls is Stanford.
The Cardinal are not known for blowing teams out or "winning pretty," and their Week 3 victory over Army was no different.
In the 34-20 win, Stanford was gouged for 284 yards on the ground by Army's triple-option offense. After falling behind early, the Cardinal eventually pulled away for the fairly decisive victory.
However, the coaches weren't particularly impressed and slid them back from No. 4 to No. 5 behind a Clemson team that didn't even play over the weekend.
Stanford will have a chance to impress this week against Arizona State, or it could just win ugly again.
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It must be nice to be Clemson.
The Tigers sat at home, watched all of Week 3's action and still managed to move up in both polls.
CU held off Ohio State for No. 3 in the AP poll and jumped Stanford to No. 4 in the coaches poll, while both the Buckeyes and the Cardinal won their games.
Maybe the voters were impressed at how many bags of Tostitos Tajh Boyd and the Tigers downed while watching college football this weekend.
That's the only explanation I can think of.