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NCAA Football Rankings 2019: Top Reaction to Week 4 College Polls and Standings

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2019

EAST LANSING, MI - SEPTEMBER 14: Merlin Robertson #8 of the Arizona State Sun Devils celebrates after a missed field goal by the Michigan State Spartans as time expired in the game at Spartan Stadium on September 14, 2019 in East Lansing, Michigan. Arizona State defeated Michigan State 10-7. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

For at least one week, the Pac-12 can brag about its positioning in the AP Top 25 and Amway Coaches Poll. 

Arizona State and California earned season debuts to hand the often-criticized conference six programs in the rankings. 

One of the entrances came at the expense of USC, who was one of a handful of squads to tumble out after suffering a Week 3 defeat. 

The Pac-12 is tied with the SEC for the most programs in the polls. The SEC is more top-heavy with five sides inside the Top 10. 

                 

Week 4 College Football Rankings

AP Top 25

1. Clemson (3-0)

2. Alabama (3-0)

3. Georgia (3-0)

4. LSU (3-0) 

5. Oklahoma (3-0) 

6, Ohio State (3-0) 

7. Notre Dame (2-0) 

8. Auburn (3-0) 

9. Florida (3-0) 

10. Utah (3-0) 

11. Michigan (2-0) 

12. Texas (2-1) 

T13. Wisconsin (2-0) 

T13. Penn State (3-0) 

15. UCF (3-0) 

16. Oregon (2-1) 

17. Texas A&M (2-1) 

18. Iowa (3-0) 

19. Washington State (3-0) 

20. Boise State (3-0) 

21. Virginia (3-0)

22. Washington (2-1) 

23. California (3-0)

24. Arizona State (3-0) 

25. TCU (2-0) 

             

Amway Coaches Poll

1. Clemson

2. Alabama

3. Georgia

4. Oklahoma 

5. LSU 

6. Ohio State

7. Notre Dame

8. Florida

9. Auburn 

10. Michigan 

11. Utah

12. Penn State

13. Texas

14. Wisconsin

15. Texas A&M 

16. UCF

17. Oregon

18. Iowa

19. Washington State

20. Boise State

21. Washington 

22. Virginia

23. California

24. Arizona State

25. Kansas State 

                   

Cal and Arizona State both enter the Top 25 with road victories over ranked foes in hand.

The Golden Bears knocked off Washington in Week 2, while the Sun Devils upset Michigan State Saturday. 

As ABC 15's Shane Dale noted, this is the second straight season Herm Edwards' team moved into the rankings thanks to a win over the Spartans: 

Shane Dale @ShaneDaleABC15

The Sun Devils' win over Michigan State last season moved them to No. 23 in the AP poll. This year's win moved them to No. 24.

The Pac-12 South side will try to stay in the polls for more than a week this time around, as it suffered a pair of losses after beating Michigan State at home in 2018. 

The Sun Devils have benefited from defensive efficiency, as they have outscored opponents 59-21. They lead the Pac-12 in scoring defense, with ranked sides Utah, Washington State and Cal beneath them in the top five, per SB Nation's Pacific Takes: 

Pacific Takes @PacificTakes

ASU 3-0 despite being the second-worst scoring offense in the Pac-12. 3-0 Cal is fourth-worst. 3-0 Utah is fifth-worst. But all four undefeated teams are in the top-5 of scoring defense (ASU 1, Utah 2, WSU 4, Cal 5). https://t.co/abbKqvkOo7

Oregon boasts a more productive offense and similar defense. In fact, the Ducks are one of nine programs ranked in the top 20 of scoring offense and defense, per GoDucks.com's Rob Moseley: 

Rob Moseley @DuckFootball

The @oregonfootball team enters Pac-12 play ranked 18th in the FBS in scoring offense (44.3) and 14th in scoring defense (12.0). The eight other teams that are top-20 in both: Alabama, Georgia, Kansas State, Maryland, Ohio State, Penn State, Central Florida, Wisconsin. #GoDucks https://t.co/H1oyMk51A7

While the Pac-12 receives its share of criticism for being the weakest power conference, it actually has the second-best mark against nonconference foes since 2014, per ESPN.com's Kyle Bonagura: 

Kyle Bonagura @BonaguraESPN

Nonconference records vs Power 5 opponents* in the College Football Playoff Era (2014-present) SEC 72-65 (0.526) Pac-12 53-49 (0.52) Big Ten 70-66 (0.515) Big 12 43-50 (0.462) ACC 68-90 (0.43) *Includes Notre Dame

California and Washington could add to that total in Week 4, as they take road trips to Ole Miss and BYU, respectively. 

Utah hits the road for its conference opener against USC, who has had one of the most up-and-down starts to the campaign. 

Arizona State and Washington State will be expected to win at home versus Colorado and UCLA, two sides that fell on home soil in Week 3. 

The other significant change was UCF's movement from No. 17 to No. 15 in the AP poll after beating Stanford at home. 

The Athletic's Stewart Mandel pointed out that the win was not as surprising as it once would have been, which is a sign of progress for the Knights: 

Stewart Mandel @slmandel

UCF just trounced a respected Pac-12 foe 45-27 and it's not remotely surprising. Testament to where that program is at now.

ESPN's Heather Dinich noted UCF's triumph was a statement—as well as the victories by Temple and others, who could give the Knights some ranked opponents later in the season: 

Heather Dinich @CFBHeather

This a huge statement for UCF, and it also helps the Knights that the rest of the AAC is having a great Saturday too. Temple, Cincy, Navy, Memphis ... not only does a G5 need to go undefeated with a win like Stanford, but it needs to face some ranked league opponents.

Despite creating momentum on a national level, the Knights are still at a disadvantage when it comes to climbing the polls. 

There are 13 power-conference sides and Notre Dame ahead of them in the AP Top 25, and Clemson is the only one without a ranked foe on its schedule for the remainder of the season. 

In addition, the four sides directly beneath UCF have the opportunity to gain ground with wins over Top 25 opponents, which could lead to them jumping over the American Athletic Conference squad.

                       

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

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