Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 9/24/12

John Hubert and the Kansas State Wildcats handled Oklahoma on the road, avenging an ugly 2011 loss and staking their claim as a Big 12 favorite (Getty/ Deering)

Tailgater Top 25 Rankings, Week 4

Week 4 made sure the hits kept on coming for the nation’s favorite teams.  This time it was the Oklahoma Sooners going down in flames as Kansas State avenged last year’s woodshed job and upset the Sooners in Norman.  LSU looked wholly unimpressive against a weak Auburn team, but managed to eke out a two point victory and avoid what might have been a crippling loss.  Florida State rallied to survive Clemson in a matchup featuring the ACC’s best.  Meanwhile, the Big Ten continued its descent into mediocrity (or worse) as Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Michigan all struggled more than they should have.

Here are our updated rankings for week 4.

Zach Bigalke John Mitchell Matt Strobl 1. Alabama
2. Oregon
3. Kansas State
4. Florida State
5. Georgia
6. Stanford
7. Notre Dame
8. Louisville
9. West Virginia
10. LSU
11. TCU
12. Ohio
13. South Carolina
14. Ohio State
15. Baylor
16. USC
17. Mississippi State
18. Clemson
19. Texas
20. Louisiana Tech
21. Northwestern
22. Michigan State
23. Florida
24. Oregon State
25. Boise State
1. Alabama
2. Oregon
3. Florida State
4. LSU
5. Kansas State
6. West Virginia
7. Georgia
8. Stanford
9. Notre Dame
10. South Carolina
11. Texas
12. Florida
13. Ohio State
14. USC
15. TCU
16. Oregon State
17. Clemson
18. Louisville
19. Oklahoma
20. Northwestern
21. Rutgers
22. Baylor
23. Michigan State
24. Mississippi State
25. Louisiana Tech
1. Alabama
2. Oregon
3. South Carolina
4. Florida State
5. Georgia
6. Kansas State
7. LSU 
8. West Virginia
9. Notre Dame
10. Stanford
11. Texas
12. Florida
13. Louisville
14. Oregon State 
15. Ohio State 
16. Rutgers
17. USC
18. Clemson 
19. Ohio
20. Mississippi State
21. TCU
22. Northwestern
23. Baylor
24. Michigan State
25. Oklahoma


1-10: It was tough not ranking Oregon #1 this week. Alabama’s offense is not nearly as dynamic as the version presented by the Ducks. And while Oregon’s defense is not as stifling as the Tide, it proved capable of clamping down to the tune of a shutout… the first in Oregon’s history since their game against FCS Portland State on Sept. 18, 2010. Yet I keep Bama ahead because, in a head-to-head matchup on neutral turf, I hate betting against Saban. Likewise Bill Snyder has proven the wizard of the Big XII after taking down Big-Game Bob in Norman, ranking K-State #3. FSU proved me wrong against Clemson, winning in a rout to take over 4th. Georgia looks the class of the SEC East after a 48-3 win over Vanderbilt. Stanford should still beat Notre Dame in their head-to-head, causing the Irish to yield 6th despite their win over Michigan. Louisville is hard to bet against, edging West Virginia by virtue of conference affiliation and future schedule for ability to retain position. LSU drops to #10 after a lackluster performance at the same Auburn team that should by all rights be 0-4 now (if only ULM could kick field goals).   11-20: TCU isn’t going to ease quietly into the Big XII, just like West Virginia. They’re the 3rd best team in the conference, by my estimation at this point. Ohio continues to roll on toward their BCS Buster hopes in the MAC. Would they beat SEC East #2 South Carolina? I have a feeling they would, by sheer force of QB Tyler Tettleton. Ohio State looked like they were falling into the UAB trap the first half of Saturday’s game but survived to remain the best (ineligible) team in the Big Ten. Baylor held on against ULM (the same ULM that took Auburn to overtime and beat Arkansas in overtime), holding on to a top 15 spot. USC knocked off the same Cal team Ohio State struggled with last week, Mississippi State ran to 4-0 (and might very well be better than LSU come Nov. 10), and Clemson acquitted themselves enough against FSU by beating the spread to remain the ACC’s 2nd top-20 team. Texas stays at #19 after being idle this week, and rounding out the top 20 is a Louisiana Tech team that crushed Illinois in Champaign 52-24, setting up the BCS part of their schedule perfectly to challenge Ohio for BCS Buster supremacy.   21-25: Northwestern took on an FCS opponent for the first time this season and continued their dominance, moving to 4-0 on the season ahead of Big Ten play. They edge Michigan State in my book, a team that struggled more than their 23-7 finish against Eastern Michigan would attest. Florida remains an enigma in my eyes, not entirely convincing but worthy of a top-25 spot over so many other teams. Behind them is Oregon State, who knocked UCLA off my ballot with a head-to-head double-digit victory that led to wins against two teams then in the top-25 on my ballot as well as every other national poll. Last is Boise State, whose loss to Michigan State is tough to swallow but not an insurmountable obstacle, as they still look the class of the Mountain West after their defensive survival over BYU.   Mitchell:
1-10: Alabama remains #1 as they continue to destroy everything in their path. Oregon jumps up to #2 after an impressive shutout victory over Rich Rodriguez and Arizona, while Florida State moves up to #3 after their 49-37 win over previously Top-10 Clemson. LSU drops a couple of spots after struggling to a two-point win on the Plains, but I still think the Bayou Bengals are one of the best in the nation. Kansas State makes a major leap into the Top-5 after getting the best win of the week in Norman over Oklahoma. I’m still not entirely sure what to make of West Virginia or Georgia. Stanford stands pat after having a bye week. Notre Dame and South Carolina jump into the Top 10 after victories over Michigan and Missouri respectively.

Texas moves up a spot without playing, and Florida moves up to #12 after moving to 3-0 in the SEC with their easy win over Kentucky. Ohio State looked sketchy against a bad UAB team, and drop a couple of spots because of it. USC rebounded nicely with a win over UCLA, while TCU sits at 15 and have still yet to really be tested. Oregon State jumps into the poll this week after their road win over previously ranked UCLA. Clemson falls to 17, but still remain relatively high after a solid showing on the road against the ‘Noles. Louisville is another team that is hard to get a read on after an underwhelming win over FIU. Oklahoma takes a tumble after losing at home to Kansas State, and Northwestern moves into the Top-20 after getting to 4-0.

Rutgers is an impressive 4-0, and took it to Arkansas on the road this week. Baylor found the going tough against Louisiana Monroe, but so did the likes of Arkansas and Auburn before them. At least they pulled it out. Michigan State messed around for a while before putting away Directional Michigan. Mississippi State moves into the poll after getting to 4-0. Louisiana Tech rounds out the Top-25 after their throttling of Illinois on the road.   Strobl: 1-10: Alabama is still the best team in the land despite Oregon’s beatdown of Arizona.  However, I’ve moved the Ducks up to second as a result of Florida State’s relative struggles against Clemson and LSU’s horrible “win” over Auburn. South Carolina and Georgia both look impressive, and Kansas State is this week’s darling after thumping OU.  Notre Dame and Stanford round out the top group.   11-20: Florida and Oregon State are the climbers here.  The Gators are turning out to be better than expected, and the Beavers came up with yet another unlikely victory.  This time, Oregon State did it on the road against what appeared to be a pretty good UCLA team.  Rutgers had a nice road win of its own, stomping a beleaguered Arkansas.  My Top 20 now necessarily includes the best of the one-loss teams, as the list of quality unbeatens starts to dwindle.   21-25: I’m waiting for TCU to play an opponent of note before determining how good the Frogs really are.  Meanwhile, Michigan State is hanging by a thread after another weak showing against what should have been a vastly inferior foe.  It took a second half rally from the Spartans to put Eastern Michigan firmly in the rearview mirror.  Oklahoma stays in as well given how good the Wildcats are.
What a time to be Tom Herman!
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