College Football Rankings: B/R's Top 25 After Week 4

Morgan MoriartyFeatured Columnist ISeptember 26, 2021

College Football Rankings: B/R's Top 25 After Week 4

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    Karl B DeBlaker/Associated Press

    Week 4's slate of games looked like they'd be pretty boring on paper, but Saturday turned out to be a surprisingly fun day. It all got started with No. 12 Notre Dame defeating No. 18 Wisconsin in Chicago at Soldier Field. Things were pretty close through the three quarters, but Notre Dame pulled away in the fourth to win 41-13. 

    The afternoon slate of games were all sorts of fun. No. 16 Arkansas upset No. 7 Texas A&M in Jerry World—the Aggies went to the locker room at halftime down 17-3. Texas A&M pulled within a touchdown midway through the third, but Arkansas held on to win 20-10. Unranked NC State upset No. 9 Clemson at home, needing a second overtime to do so, No. 23 Auburn nearly lost to Georgia State on its home turf and Rutgers hung around late against No. 19 Michigan in the Big House. 

    No. 4 Oklahoma survived a close one at home, defeating West Virginia 16-13. The Sooners nailed a 30-yard field goal in the game's final seconds. No. 5 Iowa had a close call against Colorado State, winning 24-14 in a game it entered favored by three scores. 

    As they do each and every week, Bleacher Report's college football experts—David Kenyon, Adam Kramer, Kerry Miller, Morgan Moriarty and Brad Shepard—tried to make sense of it all, casting a ballot after the Week 4 games. A first-place vote is worth 25 points, followed by 24 points for second, 23 for third, etc.

    B/R's Week 4 Top 25

    1. Alabama (Last week: 1)

    2. Georgia (2)

    3. Oregon (3)

    4. Penn State (T-5)

    5. Cincinnati (T-5)

    6. Iowa (4)

    7. Arkansas (T-16)

    8. Florida (8)

    9. Notre Dame (13)

    10. Ohio State (T-10)

    11. Oklahoma (7)

    12. Ole Miss (T-10)

    13. Michigan (15)

    14. Coastal Carolina (14)

    15. BYU (T-16)

    16. Texas A&M (T-10)

    17. Michigan State (21)

    18. Kentucky (T-23)

    19. UCLA (T-18)

    20. Auburn (20)

    21. Fresno State (NR)

    22. Wake Forest (NR)

    23. San Diego State (T-23)

    24. Oklahoma State (NR)

    25. Maryland (NR)

     Others receiving votes SMU, Clemson, Texas, UTSA, Virginia Tech. 

Who's Hot: Arkansas Razorbacks

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Woo, pig sooie! The Razorbacks came into this matchup having lost the last nine straight against the Aggies in the rivalry dubbed the Southwest Classic. Arkansas snapped that losing streak and defeated the Aggies by 10 on Saturday. The first half was all Hogs, as the Arkansas offense had 307 total yards, including 229 yards in the air from quarterback KJ Jefferson. 

    Early in the third quarter, Jefferson left the game because of an injury, with the QB visibly limping after taking a hard hit. Redshirt freshman and backup quarterback Malik Hornsby didn't run the offense with the same production as Jefferson—the quarterback went 1-of-3 passing and rushed for 12 yards on six attempts. 

    Texas A&M capitalized on the Razorbacks' limited offense, scoring a touchdown with 7:51 left in the fourth quarter to make it 17-10. But the Razorbacks defense did a good job of keeping the Aggies out of scoring range otherwise. In Texas A&M's last four possessions of the game, the Aggies punted twice, threw an interception and couldn't convert on a fourth down.  

    Aggie quarterback Zach Calzada didn't have the best outing Saturday. He finished with 151 yards and the fourth-quarter interception. TAMU running back Isaiah Spiller was pretty productive on the ground, though, finishing with 95 yards and the Aggies' only touchdown of the day.

    Jefferson did return to the game in the fourth quarter for the Razorbacks' last two possessions of the game. Although he didn't add any more points to Arkansas' lead, it was good to see the QB get back out there after such a great first half. 

    Texas A&M came into this one as slight favorites, but Arkansas proved its 3-0 start before this game was no fluke. Not to mention, the Razorbacks outgained the Aggies in total yardage by a whopping 171 yards on the day. This is an absolutely huge win for Arkansas and second-year head coach Sam Pittman.

    Arkansas moves to 4-0 on the season for the first time since the 2003 season. Next week, Arkansas goes on the road to No. 2 Georgia, followed with another road trip to No. 13 Ole Miss. We'll see how far this Arkansas team can go during these next couple of weeks.

Who’s Not: Clemson Tigers

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    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Clemson hasn't looked like a College Football Playoff team all season, and Saturday was no exception. The Tigers went into the matchup on the road against NC State having won the last eight straight games in the series. But the Wolfpack upset the Tigers 27-21, needing double overtime to pull it off. 

    It was all tied up at 14 heading into extra time. Clemson struck first as quarterback DJ Uiagalelei found receiver Justyn Ross for a nine-yard touchdown on the Tigers' OT possession. NC State quarterback Devin Leary countered with a two-yard TD pass to put the game into a second OT. Leary threw a gorgeous touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone on NC State's first possession. Although its two-point conversion failed, it didn't really matter in the end. On the Tigers' ensuing possession, Clemson failed to convert on 4th-and-5, sealing the upset victory for the Wolfpack.

    NC State fans rushed the field in a wild scene after the game.   

    As the final score suggests, this one was close throughout. Clemson's offense struggled significantly, too. The Tigers had just 87 total yards of offense in the first half, including just eight yards (!) rushing. Uiagalelei hasn't looked very comfortable in his first season running the Tigers offense full-time. That trend continued against NC State—the sophomore threw for just 111 yards and one interception. He did throw two touchdowns, but he completed just 46 percent of his passes on the day. On third down, NC State's defense held Clemson to convert on just two of its 11 attempts. 

    The loss likely takes Clemson out of CFP contention, even if the Tigers can win out. Given how much this team has struggled early on, it seems unlikely this squad even has what it takes to win the ACC.

Fun Fact: Georgia Almost Had as Many Points as Vanderbilt Had Total Yards

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    Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

    Oof, talk about a demoralizing loss, even for a team like Vanderbilt. Sure, no one picked the Commodores to upset the Dawgs, but this was a blowout as early as the first quarter. Georgia scored five touchdowns in the first quarter alone, and put up 200 total yards in the same 15 minutes. Let's run through a few more ridiculous stats, just to sum up what a beatdown this was: 

    • Vanderbilt had 77 total yards of offense, and Georgia finished with 62 points. 
    • Georgia had 283 passing yards, compared to Vanderbilt's 24.
    • The Dawg's defense held Vanderbilt to just 1.7 yards per play.
    • Vanderbilt had just 46 total plays and four first downs. 
    • Georgia had eight total touchdowns, while Vanderbilt had just two third-down conversions.
    • The Commodores had just three drives that ended in Georgia territory. Those resulted in two interceptions and a turnover on downs. 
    • The loss marks Vanderbilt's fifth-worst in school history.

    Vanderbilt moves to 1-3 on the season in head coach Clark Lea's first season in Nashville. Thanks to Georgia's domination, the Dawgs were able to switch things up at quarterback on Saturday. Starting QB JT Daniels finished with 121 yards and two touchdowns, missing on just one of his 10 passing attempts. Backup Stetson Bennett, who came in for Georgia in the second quarter, finished his day throwing for 151 yards, a touchdown and an interception he threw on his first possession of the day.  

    This Georgia team impressed early with its Week 1 win over Clemson. That victory might've lost its luster a bit given the Tigers' loss this week, but the Dawgs clearly aren't slowing down. Next week, the Dawgs will face off against fellow undefeated Arkansas at home. That matchup looks like it'll be a pretty fun one in Athens.

What to Watch For: Ole Miss-Bama Showdown, Arkansas-Georgia and Cincinnati-ND

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    Collegiate Images/Getty Images

    Week 5's slate of games is highlighted by a pair of big matchups in the SEC. It starts with No. 16 Arkansas traveling to No. 2 Georgia to take on the undefeated Bulldogs. The biggest storyline heading into this game will be the health of Arkansas QB KJ Jefferson. As I mentioned earlier, it was encouraging to see him come back in the game against Texas A&M at the end. But if the Razorbacks want to upset the Dawgs, they will need Jefferson 100 percent healthy. Arkansas' offense looked like an entirely different unit without him against the Aggies. Georgia's defense is one of the best in the country, so this will be the toughest matchup Arkansas has seen so far. 

    The 3:30 p.m. ET game between No. 13 Ole Miss and No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa should be a great matchup. Last season, these two had an offensive slugfest. Alabama had to put up 723 total yards of offense to pull away from Ole Miss in the fourth quarter, winning 63-48. The Rebels offense, which returned most of the starters from that 2020 unit, is averaging 52.7 points per game. While Alabama's offense is just as potent, its defense looked vulnerable last week against Florida, giving up 440 total yards. We'll see if Lane Kiffin's team can pull off the upset Saturday. 

    If No. 8 Cincinnati wants a shot at making it into the College Football Playoff, defeating No. 12 Notre Dame would be a good start. As for the night slate of games, there aren't too many marquee matchups, but there are some divisional games to keep an eye on. No. 11 Florida travels to Kentucky for an important SEC East matchup. No. 23 Auburn goes on the road to face LSU as it opens SEC play and Penn State welcomes Indiana to Happy Valley. Week 5 should be a fun one!