Our Top 25 teams in college football

Gordon McGuinness, Steve Palazzolo, and Mike Renner use PFF's data to rank the top 25 teams heading into Week 4.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Butch Dill)

(AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Our Top 25 teams in college football


A big week with plenty of upsets has forced a lot of movement in the top 5, and several previously-unranked teams making their first appearance. Have we been harsh on anyone? Let us know in the comments, or on Twitter.

1. Ohio State (Previous ranking: 1)

They continue to win, but it’s hard to not be concerned about the quarterback situation. Neither Cardale Jones nor J.T. Barrett are throwing the ball particularly well, as we touched on in this week’s podcast, and they need to improve on offense if they want to keep hold of the top spot.

2. Michigan State (5)

As others falter, the Spartans continue to improve, and that win against Oregon was really impressive. They benefit from one of the better offensive lines in football, headlined by star left tackle Jack Conklin (+11.7).

3. Baylor (3)

They didn’t play last week, but with some talent, particularly on defense, they look set to contend all year.

4. Ole Miss (9)

Chad Kelly (+9.9 cumulative overall), had his worst game of the year so far against Alabama (-1.4), but the fact that the Rebels were able to overcome that—albeit with a bit of luck on that touchdown—tells you all you need to know about them.

5. Florida State (7)

Losses to UCLA and USC give them a helping hand into the top 5, and they’ll be a threat all season if Everett Golson (+8.9) continues to play well.

6. TCU (8)

We still want to see more out of Trevone Boykin (+4.8), but they continue to win, while several of the teams we have above them just didn’t get it done this week.

7. Alabama (2)

That was a tough loss at home to Ole Miss, but they have the defense to help them rebound. It’s clear that ‘Bama is missing a playmaker like Amari Cooper, though, and neither quarterback is playing well right now.

8. USC (5)

Like Alabama, the Trojans suffered a tough loss last weekend. USC was in a great position in the Pac-12, but falling to Stanford opens things up for the rest of the South division. Cody Kessler (+3.9) isn’t playing poorly, but certainly isn’t at the level he was last season.

9. Clemson (8)

If they are to compete with Florida State in the ACC, Clemson needs better performances from quarterback Deshaun Watson (-1.5 v Louisville). On defense, Shaq Lawson (+11.1) continues to stand out.

10. Notre Dame (18)

We underestimated them against a solid Georgia Tech team, and while the loss of Malik Zaire will be felt all year, it’s hard to ignore players like Sheldon Day (+8.8) and Jaylon Smith (+10.8) on defense.

11. Georgia (11)

Three weeks in a row at the No. 11 spot for Georgia. How far they go really will depend on how well QB Greyson Lambert (-2.6) performs, and how much he can limit mistakes.

12. LSU (19)

Two weeks ago, we left LSU out of the top 25—and were proven wrong. Last week, we had them at No. 19—we underestimated the Tigers again. With a legitimate Heisman candidate in RB Leonard Fournette, they are a threat in the SEC.

13. UCLA (6)

Even losing players as talented as linebacker Myles Jack, that Bruins defense is still absolutely loaded, particularly up front, with guys like Takkarist McKinley (+9.6). That being said, we’re seeing more bad than good from QB Josh Rosen (-3.1) lately, and that’s a concern.

14. Oklahoma (13)

Quarterback Baker Mayfield (+5.4) continues to improve, and that’s good news for the Sooners, both this season and beyond.

15. Texas A&M (15)

Same story as last week for the Aggies, with the Myles Garrett (+14.9) led defense dominating, and the Kyle Allen (+1.7) led offense something of a disappointment.

16. Arizona (18)

Will Parks (+9.9), Reggie Gilbert (+6.5), and that defense continue to impress, and they look like they’ll stay in the hunt in what will be a competitive Pac-12 South all season long.

17. Georgia Tech (14)

They couldn’t match the 60-point total they’d managed in Weeks 1 and 2 against Notre Dame last week, but with an impressive defense and an offense that continues to run the ball, well, they’re still dangerous.

18. Oregon (16)

Another week, another negatively-graded quarterback performance for the Ducks offense, this time from Jeff Lockie (-2.6). If they can’t right the ship soon, this could derail the season for a team that is loaded with talent, like defensive lineman DeForest Buckner (+22.9) and running back Royce Freeman (+4.6).

19. Wisconsin (20)

The Badgers dropped down a lot of people’s lists because of that early season loss to Alabama. Since then, they have won two games in a row, and look to have righted the ship.

20. Oklahoma State (21)

Quarterback Mason Rudolph (+4.3) had his best game of the year, as the Cowboys scored 69 points against UTSA. It’s tough to tell much about Oklahoma State given their opponents at this points, but they’ve certainly impressed on the field.

21. Utah (23)

Another team making a little bit of noise and looking ready to contend in the Pac-12, the Utes impressed as they beat a solid Fresno State team. Lowell Lotulelei (+12.7), in particular, looks like a star in the making.

22. Temple (25)

We were asked for our thoughts about Temple ahead of the podcast this week, and they climb again. That’s more to do with other teams’ disappointing performance, but linebackers Tyler Matakevich (+6.7) and Nate Smith (+6.9) have really impressed us.

23. Missouri (Unranked)

The offense is definitely a concern, but it’s hard to not love the Tigers’ defense. Kentrell Brothers (+14.9) has been outstanding against the run, while Charles Harris (+15.4) is continuing the recent tradition of great edge rushers.

24. Northwestern (Unranked)

They’ve given up a total of 16 points over three games against Stanford, Eastern Illinois, and Duke, while defensive end Deonte Gibson (+8.6) and safety Godwin Igwebuike (+7.7) have really stood out. It doesn’t look great at quarterback, where Clayton Thorson (-11.9) is really struggling, but it’s tough to ignore that defense.

25. Arizona State (Unranked)

Like Wisconsin, they started the year off with a loss to a top-25 team. Since then, things have looked much better, and, like so many others, they look set to contend in the Pac-12 South throughout the year. We would like to see them get the ball to D.J. Foster (+2.5 as a receiver) some more, though.

 

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