College Football Rankings 2013: Early Post-Week 4 Projections for Top 25

Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2013

Sep 14, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA;  Michigan State Spartans wide receiver Bennie Fowler (13) and defensive end Shilique Calhoun (89) celebrate a touchdown during the first half in a game against the Youngstown State Penguins at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

College football rankings are at their most fragile this early in the season, so expect more turnover in the polls after Week 4.

Last weekend, Arizona State and Texas Tech leapfrogged past Nebraska and TCU while Michigan tumbled down four spots with a victory over Akron that was too close for comfort.

More changes are bound to come with another promising Saturday in store. The top can stay secure if the premier schools take care of business, but the bottom of the Top 25 leaderboard could swift drastically.

Here are the projected AP rankings after this weekend along with the top stories that will arise.


Michigan State Knocks out No. 22 Notre Dame

Much like Texas Tech forced its way into the rankings by beating then-No. 24 TCU, Michigan State will engineer a switcheroo with Notre Dame.

The Spartans are on the outside looking in with 26 points, but a win over the Fighting Irish catapults them up the ranks at 4-0. 

Last week, Michigan State trounced Youngstown State 55-17, compiling 547 total yards to the Penguins' 172. If the Spartans can ride that momentum into this weekend, they will steal a spot in the ranks with a big win.

On the other hand, Notre Dame is riding its past accolades to glory despite losing by 11 to Michigan and not looking particularly strong against Purdue last weekend. Voters blinded by the school's history will have no choice but to wake up and realize that a two-loss team can't occupy a precious seeding during the opening month.


Arizona State Quickly Loses Rank

The Sun Devils are a newcomer to the AP Top 25 after topping the Wisconsin Badgers last Saturday night. They won't have much time to appreciate the mark, however, as they now must square off against No. 5 Stanford.

Stanford has scored 34 points in each of its first two matchups with junior Kevin Hogan's five touchdown passes leading the way. It can quickly send ASU back out into the cold by improving to 3-0.

Taylor Kelly faces a steep test against a passing defense that has surrendered just 256 yards through two contests. While he totaled 352 passing yards in a narrow victory versus Wisconsin, the junior completed just 56.9 percent of his passes with no touchdowns and an interception.

This crucial Pac-12 clash will bear major ramifications for each club. A win keeps Stanford's title hopes alive, while Arizona State would soar up a few spots with an upset.

ASU might have deserved recognition before besting Wisconsin, but a loss to the Cardinal will make that point moot.


No. 25 Red Raiders Keep Rising

Texas Tech climbed up to the last seeded spot with a 20-10 win over TCU. Don't expect the Red Raiders to stop now.

While Baker Mayfield threw three picks against his first tough opponent, the freshman still has 996 passing yards and eight touchdowns to his credit this season. The defense truly shined against the Horned Frogs, limiting them to 336 yards while forcing two turnovers.

Facing the Sun Belt's Texas State should give Mayfield another chance to pile up the yardage while Texas Tech secures another convincing victory. Now that they're in, only a loss or a truly ugly win should knock them out.

The Raiders will make some noise in the upcoming week, which would set the stage for huge Big 12 clashes with conference rivals Oklahoma and Oklahoma State on Oct. 26 and Nov. 2, respectively.