NCAA Football Rankings 2017: Week 4 College Top 25 Standings Shakeup Predictions

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2017

LOUISVILLE, KY - SEPTEMBER 16: Clemson Tigers players celebrate after the game against the Louisville Cardinals at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on September 16, 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky. Clemson won 47-21. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Although Week 3 of the college football season didn't feature too many elite matchups on paper, there were several exciting battles that will create shifts in the upcoming rankings.

Clemson cruised against Louisville while USC narrowly survived against Texas in double overtime, but squads like LSU, Kansas State and Tennessee weren't as fortunate.

While the official rankings don't come out until later in the day Sunday, here are predictions for how they will shake up heading into Week 4.


Week 4 Ranking Predictions

1. Alabama

2. Oklahoma

3. Clemson

4. Penn State

5. USC

6. Washington

7. Oklahoma State

8. Michigan

9. Ohio State

10. Wisconsin

11. Florida State

12. Georgia

13. Auburn

14. Virginia Tech

15. Miami (Fla.)

16. Mississippi State

17. TCU

18. Washington State

19. Louisville

20. Florida

21. South Florida

22. Oregon

23. LSU

24. Utah

25. Maryland


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Oklahoma State

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 16: Mason Rudolph #2 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys celebrates after a touchdown by Dillon Stoner #17 (not pictured) during the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Heinz Field on September 16, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pen
Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Beating Pittsburgh isn't a head-turning result, but Oklahoma State continues to destroy teams this season.

Through three games, two on the road, the Cowboys are averaging 54 points per game with quarterback Mason Rudolph throwing 11 touchdowns with one interception. He also has two rushing touchdowns to start the year.

The potential Heisman Trophy candidate was outstanding Saturday in the 59-21 win over Pitt, throwing for 423 yards with five the first half! He ended the day with 497 passing yards before backup Taylor Cornelius took over.

Perhaps the most impressive stat was that four different receivers finished with more than 100 yards in the victory. 

"We got a lot of schemes designed for slot guys or outside guys and I thought everyone really clicked today and they all did their job," Rudolph said after the game, per Jake Trotter of ESPN. "If we keep doing that, it's going to take us far."

Things will get tougher with the start of the Big 12 season, but if the offense keeps this up, the Cowboys could find a spot in the College Football Playoff.


Mississippi State

Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

Although Mississippi State was considered somewhat of an afterthought in the SEC this year, the Bulldogs showed what they could do with their 37-7 win over LSU Saturday.

Aeris Williams ran all over one of the better front-sevens in the country, racking up 146 yards on 23 carries. Nick Fitzgerald did the rest with two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in a one-sided battle against the No. 12 team in the country.

On the other side of the ball, LSU quarterback Danny Etling finished just 13-of-29 passing, producing a QBR of just 10.2 out of 100, per ESPN. Although the senior has had his issues, he rarely looks as helpless as he did in this one.

We didn't know much about Mississippi State after its wins over Charleston Southern or Louisiana Tech, but this victory shows it is a legitimate threat in the SEC West.

With that said, consecutive road games against Georgia and Auburn coming up will really tell us if this win was a fluke.


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LOUISVILLE, KY - SEPTEMBER 16: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Louisville Cardinals runs the ball for a 30-yard gain in the first quarter of a game against the Clemson Tigers at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on September 16, 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Alabama and Oklahoma still deserve to be the top two in the rankings after their big wins in the last two weeks, but Clemson solidified itself as a top-three team with its victory over Louisville Saturday.

From the other perspective, this was a real chance for the Cardinals to move into the playoff conversation, and they couldn't live up to expectations in what became a 47-21 loss.

Tony Dungy described the difference facing a team like Clemson:

Lamar Jackson did finish with 317 passing yards and three touchdowns, but he couldn't make the big plays when needed as his squad fell way behind on the scoreboard. Without much help from his offensive line or receivers, the Cardinals couldn't keep up.

Meanwhile, a defense that has allowed 36.7 points per game can't really be trusted against top opponents.

With a road game against Florida State still on the schedule, the season might not end up as originally hoped.



Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Considering UCLA began the week at No. 25 in the Associated Press poll, the drop out of the rankings isn't too severe. However, the loss might have been one of the more disappointing performances of the week.

The Bruins defense was as bad as ever, allowing 48 points and 560 total yards from scrimmage. Memphis averaged 10.2 yards per passing attempt.

With running back Soso Jamabo unavailable due to injury, UCLA was truly just Josh Rosen and nothing else.

Unfortunately, the potential first-round pick struggled for the first time this season, throwing two interceptions with one of them being returned for a touchdown. A few more passes could have landed in the hands of Memphis defenders due to a few poor decisions at quarterback.

Geoff Schwartz of SiriusXM NFL Radio described the questionable play:

Rosen still had 463 passing yards, four passing touchdowns and a rushing score to keep UCLA competitive, but he needs to be nearly perfect to help this team win. Based on what we saw Saturday, this team might not deserve to be ranked the rest of the season.


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