As the dust settled on Week 4 in college football, most top teams emerged unscathed. Michigan State did not, though in hindsight it’s clear that the Spartans are not a very good team at all. After wins over Furman and a Charlie Weis-era Notre Dame team, the Spartans got hammered at home by Wisconsin.
In other college football news, Notre Dame DC Brian VanGorder got the axe (about time) as did LSU head coach Les Miles (who might have been one of the greatest of all time if the forward pass didn’t exist). Let’s check out this week’s Top Ten.
10. Texas A&M (Last Week: Not Ranked)
In the most surprising news of the week, it looks like Kevin Sumlin’s team might actually be really good. The Aggies knocked off BERT and Arkansas 45-24 by simply running the ball down Arkansas’ throat. Trevor Knight rushed for 157 yards and two scores to lead the way, and his dual-threat ability is a big part of why A&M leads the SEC in total rushing yards (1,077), rushing yards per game (269.3) and yards per rush (7.04). In what has been a slow start to the year for most of the SEC, the Aggies look like the only team who might be able to challenge Alabama in the SEC West. Next up is a road date with Will Muschamp and South Carolina.
9. Washington (Last Week: 9)
In one of the first editions of #Pac12AfterDark, Jake Browning and the Huskies snuck out of Arizona with a 35-28 overtime victory. Lavon Coleman tore up Rich Rod’s defense for 181 yards on just 11 carries, helping to take some pressure off of Browning. Incredibly, this week’s game against Stanford could already decide the Pac-12 North champion. After Oregon’s loss to Colorado, it’s hard to see any other team challenging for the North division title.
8. Wisconsin (Last Week: 10)
While there’s no question that Wisconsin plays in the far weaker Big Ten divison, the Badgers will earn everything they get this year. In addition to the road game in East Lansing (in which Wisconsin blew out MSU 30-6), the Badgers play crossover games at Michigan and at home against Ohio State. And oh yeah–all three of those games are in a row. Basically, if Wisconsin does somehow end up running the table, we won’t have a repeat of all the “Iowa ain’t played nobody PAWWWWWWL” calls on the Finebaum Show from last year.
7. Stanford (Last Week: 7)
Stanford’s offense isn’t much to write home about outside of Christian McCaffrey, but the Cardinal defense gives Stanford a chance to win every time out. Stanford has faced three Power 5 opponents, and has yet to surrender more than 13 points in a game. Last week, UCLA only managed 2.3 yards per carry as the Cardinal forced Josh Rosen to try to beat them. While UCLA’s defense played phenomenally well, it wasn’t enough–and now Stanford heads into another huge road tilt at Washington.
6. Houston (Last Week: 6)
Houston flattened Texas State 64-3, but the bigger story is what the future holds for Tom Herman. As soon as it was announced that LSU had fired Miles, speculation naturally started that Herman would be taking that job after the season. If you’re Houston, it is now of the utmost importance to join the Big 12 as soon as possible to give Herman a reason to stay. As for the team itself, Greg Ward Jr. looks to win his 18th straight start on Saturday as Houston hosts UConn.
5. Michigan (Last Week: 5)
I’d like to think that Penn State’s 39-point beatdown at the hands of Michigan is karma for the school’s tone-deaf and ill-advised tribute to Joe Paterno the week before. Of course, a big reason this game ended 49-10 is that the Wolverines are simply on another level. Wisconsin will likely slow down a high-octane Michigan attack that’s averaging 52 points per game, which would force Michigan to play its first truly close game of the season. If that’s the case, Wilton Speight’s poise (or lack thereof) should decide the game.
4. Clemson (Last Week: 4)
After Clemson suffocated Georgia Tech in a 26-7 win, the Tiger defense is giving up just 11 points per game. Deshaun Watson is looking more and more comfortable running the offense, but Clemson’s defense has been the far better unit so far. When the Tigers host Heisman frontrunner Lamar Jackson on Saturday, something is going to have to give.
3. Louisville (Last Week: 3)
Louisville’s 59-28 win over Marshall was the closest game the Cardinals have played in this season. Seriously. Lamar Jackson accounted for seven more touchdowns, giving him 25 through four games. Unlike Florida State, Clemson does actually have a good defense. It’ll be interesting to see how Jackson and the Louisville offense respond to both the Tiger defense and the overall atmosphere in Death Valley.
2. Ohio State (Last Week: 2)
The Buckeyes got an extra week to prepare for the Fightin’ Chris Christies, and it will likely get ugly when the State University of New Jersey visits the Horseshoe. As if it wasn’t enough of a mismatch already, Rutgers star Janarion Grant is out for the year after injuring his ankle against Iowa. In short, do not watch this game.
1. Alabama (Last Week: 1)
The Crimson Tide annihilated Kent State 48-0 and now face Kentucky. Yawn.