College Football Rankings 2013: Teams Most Likely to Slide in Polls

Jeremy Fuchs@@jaf78Correspondent IIISeptember 21, 2013

Week 4 is a bit of a dud for college football. That said, there are plenty of opportunities for teams to slide in the 2013 rankings.

Only two ranked teams play each other—No. 5 Stanford against No. 23 Arizona State, a game we will get to in a moment—but there are still quality teams with a chance to pull off an upset.

Which teams are primed for a slide in the polls? Read on to find out.

 

Stanford

Stanford has cruised so far, but they face their first real test against Arizona State. The Sun Devils are coming off a wacky victory against Wisconsin, but they are for real and they are 2-0.

The team has the 20th-ranked defense, giving up only 15 points per game. And their offense has been humming, as they average 358.5 yards through the air, good for eighth in the country.

Taylor Kelly has been efficient, and he has two big-time weapons in Jaelen Strong and Marion Grice. The players have combined for 277 yards in two games. Combine that with Grice's strong running—he averages a solid four yards per carry—and the Sun Devils are tough to stop.

And we can't forget the influence of Will Sutton. Sutton is the best defensive player in the country not named Jadeveon Clowney. He is an all-around stud, equally adept at clogging up running lanes as he is blowing up the pocket.

He is a sure-fire first-round pick who is going to make life tough for the Stanford running backs.

The Cardinal rely on their running game. Led by Tyler Gaffney, who has rushed for 236 yards and five scores, the Cardinal average almost 200 yards per game on the ground. If Stanford can't get the ground game going, then that's going to put a lot of pressure on Kevin Hogan.

Hogan is decent, but he's no Andrew Luck. He's thrown for 395 yards and five scores, but he is more of a game-manager than game-breaker. If asked to do it all on his own, the Cardinal will struggle.

It says here that Sutton will have a huge game, penetrating the pocket and making life difficult for Gaffney. Hogan will struggle under the pressure and the Sun Devils will use their high-flying offense to pull off the big upset. 

 

Notre Dame

I'm not as high on Notre Dame as others. They are 2-1, but their two wins came against Temple and Purdue, both pretty mediocre teams. And then they crumbled against Michigan, and had no answer for Devin Gardner, who threw for 294 yards and four scores. 

Michigan State has had a pretty easy schedule, but they have really beaten up on opponents. Their defense has given up just 12 points per game and they have not trailed in a game all season.

Shilique Calhoun has three touchdowns and the defense as a whole has forced opponents into 104 three-and-out drives, the most in the FBS, per ESPN

It's true that the offense is putrid, and seven of their nine touchdowns came against FCS Youngstown State. This will be a low-scoring affair. But their defense is for real and Tommy Rees made too many mistakes against a decent Michigan team.

It's definitely not going to be a shootout, but Michigan State will pull off the upset, and they will find themselves in the rankings, while Notre Dame will be on the outside looking in. 

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