Ryan Mallet was great at times, but made crucial mistakes down the stretch in Arkansas' 24-20 loss to Alabama.
1. Alabama (4-0)
Survived at Arkansas, 24-20. Arkansas almost backed into a win against Alabama. The Tide scored 17-straight points to seal an amazing comeback. But, McElroy, in my opinion, showed how horribly overrated he is.
I was tempted to drop 'Bama for this, but when you are No. 1, everyone is gunning for you. And their defense made some huge plays against Mallet down the stretch. Alabama has won 18-straight games overall, and 28-straight regular season games.
2. Boise State (3-0)
Won on the "smurf turf" versus Oregon State, 37-24. Penalties, stupid mistakes, and bad luck may be Boise's only weaknesses. Oregon State was lucky the score was as close as it was. Boise nearly doubled OSU in total yardage. Kellen Moore is the best QB in the country, which is why I'd love Boise's chances to beat anyone in the BCS championship game.
Nevada's 4-0 start gives Boise State another quality opponent coming up. Nevada will probably be ranked when they play the Broncos in Reno in November. BSU has won 17-straight games overall, and 28-straight regular season games.
3. Ohio State (4-0)
Beat E. Michigan, 73-20, at home. Ohio State will probably get a few No. 1 votes, but they shouldn't, since they are yet to play on the road.
I don't think the Big 10 is quite as strong as preseason prognostications would have us believe. I think they are behind the Pac-10 and Big 12 in overall quality. Ohio State has been more than impressive up to this point of the season, but I want to see them play (and win) a road game.
4. TCU (4-0)
Won at SMU, 41-24. Before the end of the season, this team has a real chance to make some noise. If you are looking for a team that might sneak into the BCS championship game if Boise State slips up, TCU may be that team.
The MWC is ranked fifth in the country according to ESPN's conference power rankings, behind only the SEC, Pac-10, Big 12, and Big 10. TCU has won 16-straight regular season games.
5. Stanford (4-0)
Beat Notre Dame, 37-14, at South Bend. Their 35-0 victory at UCLA is looking better and better.
6. Oregon (4-0)
Struggled with Arizona State, but forced seven turnovers to secure a road victory in the Pac-10—never an easy feat. They were out-gained by over 200 yards, and were only 2-14 on third downs, but they still came away with a 42-31 victory over the same team that was an extra point away from forcing OT at Wisconsin.
7. Nebraska (4-0)
Beat South Dakota State, 17-3. Not a very impressive offensive performance for the Cornhuskers, but their relatively anemic offensive performance was offset by yet another impressive "black-shirt" defensive performance, though admittedly against a weak opponent.
8. Oklahoma (4-0)
Survived at Cincinnati, 31-29. Oklahoma has beaten the one ranked opponent they faced by 30 points. The other three unranked opponents they've faced they've outscored by a combined 12 points. Oklahoma deserved a little "luck" after how many close losses they suffered in 2009.
9. Florida (4-0)
Won at home versus Kentucky, 48-14. Florida's defense has been excellent. Their offense has been incredibly inconsistent. But everything seemed to come together against the Wildcats. Tim Burton looked like Tim Tebow, rushing for six TDs as a QB. Florida has to hope that Brantley can avoid having as many costly mistakes as Ryan Mallet did down the stretch if they hope to pull off the upset at Alabama next week.
10. Utah (4-0)
Beat San Jose State, 56-3. Utah has been very impressive in the first four weeks, and is very deserving of this ranking. Their win against Pitt at home to start the season doesn't look as good as it did at the time though.
11. Nevada (4-0)
Won at BYU, 27-13. Winning in Provo isn't easy. TCU and Florida State are the only other teams to have managed to win a game in Provo in the last five seasons. Plus, if you compare Nevada and Arizona (the team I have right behind the Wolfpack), both faced Cal at home in back-to-back weeks. Nevada beat Cal by three TDs. Arizona scored a late TD to sneak away with a one-point victory.
12. Arizona (4-0)
Survived at home against Cal, 10-9, in a potential trap game after their impressive win against Iowa.
13. LSU (3-0)
Survived at home home against WVU, 20-14. LSU nearly blew a 17-0 lead...but they didn't.
14. Auburn (4-0)
Got another tough home comeback-win against South Carolina, 35-27.
15. Wisconsin (3-0)
Beat Austin Pea, 70-3. A blocked extra-point made the difference against ASU last week. ASU is no slouch though, as they gave Oregon everything they could handle.
16. Iowa (2-1)
Beat Ball State, 45-0.
17. Miami (2-1)
Beat Pitt, 31-3.
18. Arkansas (3-1)
Lost at home, 24-20, against Alabama in a heartbreaker. Arkansas had the game under total control, but they failed to come through in the red zone (throwing an interception, settling for two FGs), and Mallet failed to avoid the costly turnover (two interceptions in the fourth quarter).
I can't drop the Hogs too much considering how impressively they were in building a 20-7 lead, but they should drop after blowing a game they should have won at home.
19. Michigan (4-0)
Beat Bowling Green, 65-21.
20. NC State (4-0)
Beat Georgia Tech, 41-24. NC State is the sole remaining unbeaten team in the ACC. The Big East has no unbeaten teams remaining.
21. Michigan State (4-0)
Beat Northern Colorado, 45-7.
22. Kansas State (4-0)
Beat UCF, 17-13. Their 22-13 opening victory over UCLA is looking pretty good right now. For now, they are ranked ahead of Texas.
23. USC (4-0)
Beat Washington State, 50-16.
24. South Carolina (3-1)
Lost at Auburn, 35-27.
25. Air Force (3-1)
Won at Wyoming, 20-14.