The craziest week of the college football season to date has come and gone. Here’s the newest AP Top 25:
We’ll start near the top, where the first four teams are the same but LSU jumped Oklahoma to squeak into the top five. That has more to do with the Sooners’ performance in Week 4 than the Tigers; it took overtime for Oklahoma to beat Army on Saturday.
It was a rough showing for the Sooners, but we shouldn’t overreact. OU struggled to keep Army off the field – the Black Knights had 78 (!) carries for 339 yards. Now, the Oklahoma run defense may be a concern. But Big 12 teams don’t play a style that resembles Army’s, and while Kyler Murray and the offense had a relatively modest day, they were efficient. They just didn’t have many opportunities.
Voters were justified in lowering Oklahoma a spot. But it still has a great shot to return to the College Football Playoff.
Outside of the Oklahoma and LSU swap, the top of the poll was fairly stagnant. But there’s a lot going in the lower half. Let’s break it down.
Kentucky and Texas are up to No. 17 and 18, respectively, after wins over Mississippi State and TCU.
It’s been a wonderful start to the season for the Wildcats, who have long been dormant in the SEC. Benny Snell is putting together a remarkable year – he has 540 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in four games, including four TDs against the Bulldogs. And the defense is legitimate. Kentucky held Mississippi State to just seven points on Saturday, and hasn’t allowed more than 20 in a game this season.
The SEC is loaded, but the East isn’t quite as scary as the West. Kentucky isn’t a threat to overtake Georgia, but it looks like the Wildcats will hang around the upper half of the division.
And the Longhorns are up to No. 18 after a decisive win over the Horned Frogs. Texas has certainly rebounded after an ugly opening loss to Maryland. Sam Ehlinger is playing competent, mistake-free football, but what really stands out for Texas is the defense that has come and gone over the past few seasons. Texas held TCU to under six yards per pass attempt and picked off the Horned Frogs three times. That will work.
Another quiet riser was Michigan, which jumped five spots after dominating Nebraska from start to finish on Saturday. The Wolverines’ problem: they haven’t played their best ball against the best competition throughout the Jim Harbaugh era. Michigan beats the teams it’s supposed to beat, and loses the games it’s supposed to lose.
All of that said, it’s been a productive past three weeks for the Wolverines. They’ve put up a total of 150 points during that span, and Karan Higdon averaged 11.3 yards per carry on Saturday. But we’ll have to wait and see if Michigan can play this well against the best of the Big Ten.
A few other tidbits: Virginia Tech fell all the way out of the top 25 after losing to Old Dominion. The Hokies were ranked 13th last week. Just an incredible triumph for the Monarchs, who put up 28 points in the fourth quarter. Mississippi State fell nine spots to No. 23 after losing to Kentucky. Nick Fitzgerald hasn’t progressed under center to the level the Bulldogs has hoped. Duke is up to No. 22 and is ranked for the first time all year; the David Cutcliffe coaching clinic continues. California and Texas Tech are in at No. 24 and 25, respectively. Patrick Mahomes is doing big things in the NFL, but the Red Raiders continue to pile up massive amounts of yardage and points.
Week 4 was a blast. If it’s any indicator of what the rest of the season holds, we’re in for one heck of a ride.