NCAA Football Rankings 2018: Predicting Top Movers in Week 5 Post-Week 4 Results

Ryan McCrystal@@ryan_mccrystalFeatured ColumnistSeptember 23, 2018

Kentucky running back Benny Snell Jr. (26) avoids the tackle of several Mississippi State and runs for a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)
Bryan Woolston/Associated Press

Sometimes, the best gameweeks of the college football season are the ones you least expect—and that's exactly what happened Saturday.

Despite only featuring two matchups between ranked teams, it turned into one the wildest weekends of the season, with fives teams losing to unranked opponents.

After an almost unprecedented set of upsets, predicting the Associated Press Top 25 is a difficult task. The top 10 will likely remain relatively unchanged, but it's chaos on the back end of the rankings. Here's a preview at how Top 25 could look when released Sunday afternoon.


Predicted AP Top 25

1. Alabama (1)

2. Georgia (2)

3. Clemson (3)

4. Ohio State (4)

5. Oklahoma (5)

6. LSU (6)

7. Stanford (7)

8. Notre Dame (8)

9.  Auburn (9)

10. Penn State (10)

11. Washington (10)

12. West Virginia (12)

13. UCF (16)

14. Wisconsin (18)

15. Michigan (19) 

16. Miami FL (21)

17. Kentucky (NR)

18. Mississippi State (14)

19. Oklahoma State (15)

20. Michigan State (24)

21. Duke (NR)

22. Oregon (20)

23. California (NR)

24. BYU (25)

25. Colorado (NR)

Dropped out: Virginia Tech (13), TCU (17), Texas A&M (22), Boston College (23).


5. Oklahoma

Oklahoma nearly fell victim to the upset bug Saturday night, needing overtime to hold off Army.

After such a narrow escape against an unranked team, it could be argued that the Sooners deserve to drop in the rankings. However, most voters are likely to forgive Lincoln Riley's squad because of the unique nature of a game against Army's triple option.

Army was able to control the tempo by dominating the time-of-possession battle. By controlling the ball, Army allowed Kyler Murray and the Sooners offense just under 16 minutes with the football in regulation, during which they worked quickly and rolled up 355 yards of offense.

Since the Oklahoma offense looked crisp as usual and the Sooners defense won't be faced with having to stop the triple option again, most voters will likely let this close call slide. Oklahoma survived, and that's all that matters.


17. Kentucky

Bryan Woolston/Associated Press

Kentucky entered the season unranked and didn't receive a single vote in the AP Poll until Week 3 after an upset of Florida in The Swamp. After pulling off another shocking upset over Mississippi State, the Wildcats are 4-0 for the first time since 2008 and are likely headed for a spot in the Top 25.

Normally, a team that cracks the Top 25 for the first time will just barely sneak in, but with so many ranked teams losing in Week 4, Kentucky has a chance to make a huge leap.

One of the factors that could allow Kentucky to rise significantly is the fact that most voters will likely want to leave Mississippi State in the Top 25. Those voters will need to keep Kentucky at least one spot ahead of the Bulldogs, potentially leading to their placing the Wildcats higher than a new entrant would normally land.

If any doubters remain, Kentucky will have another chance to prove itself Saturday night when it hosts South Carolina, followed by a trip to Texas A&M in Week 6.


Virginia Tech

It's rare for a team to fall from a position inside the top 15 to unranked, but a loss to a winless Old Dominion team will probably do the trick.

If Virginia Tech had stumbled into some bad luck but otherwise looked like the superior team, maybe some voters would consider keeping them in the Top 25 conversation. However, the Hokies defense looked helpless, likely eliminating any chance of gaining votes.

Old Dominion quarterback Blake LaRussa, who had just four career touchdown passes entering Saturday, picked apart the Hokies defense for 495 yards and four touchdowns, leading the Monarchs to 632 yards of total offense.

According to ESPN's Adnan Virk, it was a historically bad day for a typically strong Hokies defense:

This is the type of loss that voters don't quickly forget, and it could hurt the Hokies' chances of climbing back into the rankings unless they turn things around in dramatic fashion.


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