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Week 4 college football rankings: Texas Longhorns at No. 1, Georgia and Alabama plummet after Week 3

Week 3 of the college football season has come to a close and it provided us with plenty of takeaways from Saturday’s action. There’s a new No. 1 in the Week 4 college football rankings, but it’s far from the only change following an unpredictable week.

Georgia, Alabama and Florida State all experienced some issues on Saturdays, but many of the top teams who didn’t play their best football still came out with a victory. While wins are all that matter right now, weekly performances and recent trends are helping shape the movement in the rankings.

Let’s dive into the Week 4 college football rankings.

Removed: Tennessee Volunteers (11), Kansas State Wildcats (12), Iowa Hawkeyes (23), Arkansas Razorbacks (24)

Week 4 college football rankings

25. Alabama Crimson Tide

  • Previously: 10th in college football rankings
  • Next Opponent: Ole Miss vs. Alabama

The Nick Saban retirement rumors are going to start. Making a quarterback change to Tyler Buchner did nothing to spark the Alabama Crimson Tide offense and they were facing South Florida. The era of great Alabama football is over. Alabama should be underdogs vs Ole Miss and a loss will drop the Crimson Tide out of the college football rankings entirely.

Related: Best running backs in college football

24. Missouri Tigers

  • Previously: Unranked
  • Next Opponent: Memphis vs Missouri

It came down to the Kentucky Wildcats vs Missouri Tigers, but the 61-yard field goal from Harrison Mevis to stun Kansas State at the buzzer is the difference-maker. Under head coach Eli Drinkwitz, Missouri is off to its best start since 2018 and that 3-0 start didn’t include a victory over a ranked opponent. If the Tigers knock out Memphis in Week 4, Missouri will be 4-0 for the first time since 2013. That’s worthy of a spot in the college football rankings.

23. Clemson Tigers

  • Previously: 23rd in college football rankings
  • Next Opponent: Florida State @ Clemson

The Clemson Tigers are clinging to a top-25 spot heading into Week 4 and Saturday’s upcoming battle against Florida State will be a turning point. If Dabo Swinney and Cade Klubinik step up and deliver a much-needed conference win, everyone talks about Clemson being back. On the other hand, the Tigers’ season unravels if the Seminoles prove they’re a superior team and Clemson picks up its second loss in September.

22. Washington State Cougars

  • Previously: Unranked
  • Next Opponent: Oregon State vs Washington State

After an impressive win last week over Wisconsin, the Washington State Cougars didn’t play down to their competition on Saturday. Cameron Ward is starting to rack up the touchdowns at a startling rate and Washington State’s defense has been a pleasant surprise. If this keeps up versus Oregon State in Week 4, everyone will be taking the Cougars seriously in the Pac-12 Conference.

21. UCLA Bruins

  • Previously: Unranked
  • Next Opponent: UCLA @ Utah

Undefeated teams have to be recognized three weeks into our college football rankings, which pushes the UCLA Bruins into the top-25. While Chip Kelly’s team doesn’t have a marquee win this season, quarterback Dante Moore has simply been incredible in September. We can’t wait to see Kelly and Moore square off against Kyle Whittingham’s defense in Week 4.

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20. Miami Hurricanes

  • Previously: 25th in college football rankings
  • Next Opponent: Miami (FL) vs Temple

Tyler Van Dyke is on fire to start the year, posting a 200.6 quarterback rating with an 8-1 TD-INT line and 822 passing yards. He’s the biggest reason why the Miami Hurricanes are 3-0, but we also have to give credit to Mario Cristobal after everything that transpired in 2022. The U isn’t back, but upcoming contests against Temple and Georgia Tech mean Miami could be 5-0 when it faces North Carolina (Oct. 14).

Related: Best college football quarterbacks

19. Iowa Hawkeyes

  • Previously: 22nd in college football rankings
  • Next Opponent: Iowa @ Penn State

The Iowa Hawkeyes have already scored 75 points this season. Putting that into perspective, it took Iowa until October to reach that mark in 2022. The Hawkeyes’ offense is worlds better than we’ve seen in several years and the defense is holding opponents under 20 points. We trust the defense in Week 4 versus Penn State, but the Hawkeyes’ offense will be what determines if there’s an upset.

18. North Carolina Tar Heels

  • Previously: 20th in college football rankings
  • Next Opponent: North Carolina @ Pittsburgh

Drake Maye suffered a shoulder injury on Saturday, but it doesn’t entirely excuse his inconsistency this season. One year ago, Maye had two games with two interceptions and he didn’t throw his second interception of the season until Oct. 8. One year later, Maye is already at four picks. If he’s not playing like an NFL quarterback, North Carolina struggles.

Related: Longest field goal in college football history

17. Duke Blue Devils

  • Previously: 21st in college football rankings
  • Next Opponent: Duke @ UConn

The Duke Blue Devils started 3-0 last season then lost three of their next four games. However, things feel a bit different in 2023. Duke blasted Clemson in the season opener then took Lafayette to the proverbial woodshed, as expected. After a similar performance over Northwestern, it’s time to give Duke’s offense the credit it has earned. We’d be shocked if the Blue Devils aren’t 4-0 when they face Notre Dame on Sep. 30.

Related: Deion Sanders explains why he’ll never coach in the NFL

16. Ole Miss Rebels

  • Previously: 19th in college football rankings
  • Next Opponent: Ole Miss vs Alabama

Even without two of their top playmakers, the Ole Miss Rebels found a path to victory on Saturday. The win over Georgia Tech wasn’t as impressive as thrashing Tulane, but Lane Kiffin’s team will have two perfect opportunities to prove it should be ranked higher to close out September.

Related: College Football standings

15. Oklahoma Sooners

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Tulsa
Nathan J. Fish-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 18th in college football rankings
  • Next Opponent: Oklahoma @ Cincinnati

After keeping things a bit too close last week agaisnt SMU, the Oklahoma Sooners utterly decimated Tulsa. Dillon Gabriel is doing his best to remind Sooner Nation of Caleb Williams and it certainly helps when three pass-catchers eclipse the 100-yard mark. One thing is for certain, Jeff Lebby’s offense looks great this year.

Related: 2024 NFL Draft picks by team

14. Colorado Buffaloes

NCAA Football: Colorado State at Colorado
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 16th in college football rankings
  • Next Opponent: Colorado vs Oregon

Colorado State proved it might be one of the more underrated teams in the country on Saturday night, but Deion Sanders and the Colorado Buffaloes still came out on top. Shedeur Sanders made big plays late, while Xavier Weaver, Michael Harrison and Jimmy Horn Jr. stepped up with Travis Hunter sidelined. Oregon will be favored in Week 4, but don’t sleep on Colorado.

13. LSU Tigers

NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Mississippi State
Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 17th in college football rankings
  • Next Opponent: Arkansas vs LSU

Look at what happens when Jayden Daniels and Malik Nabers are unleashed. Daniels racked up 361 passing yards with four total touchdowns on Saturday, pushing his totals to 723 total yards of offense with nine touchdowns in his last two games. Now, if LSU can just keep Harold Perkins as a primary edge rusher, the Tigers might start clawing their way back up the college football rankings.

12. Oregon State Beavers

NCAA Football: San Diego State at Oregon State
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 14th in college football rankings
  • Next Opponent: Oregon State @ Washington State

It wasn’t always pretty on Saturday for the Oregon State Beavers offense, but the defense more than made up for it. D.J. Uiagalelei was the biggest problem for the Beavers, but running back Damien Martinez proved why he’s one of the best offensive weapons in the Pac-12 Conference. Uiagalelei can put this game behind him and he’ll need to because Washington State has proven its legitimacy this year.

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11. Utah Utes

NCAA Football: Weber State at Utah
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 15th in college football rankings
  • Next Opponent: UCLA vs Utah

The Utah Utes have run out of time. Kyle Whittingham deserves credit for getting this team to 3-0 without quarterback Cam Rising and several other starters, but it can’t get by anymore. If Rising isn’t head to take the field in Week 4, Utah should be the underdog against UCLA and it’ll get even tougher after that with Oregon State (Sep. 29), USC (Oct. 21) and Oregon (Oct. 28) looming.

Related: Stanford, California and SMU to join ACC, create 18-team conference

10. Oregon Ducks

NCAA Football: Hawaii at Oregon
Craig Strobeck-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 13 in college football rankings
  • Next Opponent: Colorado vs Oregon

The stage is set for what will be one of the last must-see games in PAC-12 history. While the Oregon Ducks haven’t played their best football this season, this is an experienced roster with far more than than the Colorado Buffaloes have faced this year. Oregon would seem to have the edge, especially at home, but the Buffaloes have looked better to this point.

9. Washington Huskies

NCAA Football: Tulsa at Washington
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 9 in college football rankings
  • Next Opponent: California vs Washington

The Washington Huskies keep on winning, improving to 3-0 on the season with a 10-game win streak that dates back to October 15, 2022. Michael Penix Jr. remains one of the best stories in college football, demonstrating all of the good the transfer portal can do for a young student-athlete. As long as the Huskies’ offense keeps this up, that Oct. 14 duel vs Oregon will be a must-see shootout.

8. Penn State Nittany Lions

NCAA Football: Penn State at Illinois
Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 8 in college football rankings
  • Next Opponent: Iowa vs Penn State

Old-school football fans have to love how the Penn State Nittany Lions are winning right now. On Saturday, the Nittany Lions contributed 162 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 39 attempts. Meanwhile, Penn State’s defense created five takeaways. All of this is buying time for Drew Allar to settle in as the starter, but he will need to prove himself with the game on his shoulders at some point.

Related: NFL TV map for Week 2

7. Georgia Bulldogs

NCAA Football: Georgia Spring Game
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 1 in college football rankings
  • Next Opponent: UAB vs Georgia

The Georgia Bulldogs have a bad habit of playing down to their competition at random points throughout the year. Kirby Smart’s program trailed 14-3 at halftime before responding with 21 unanswered points and a comeback victory over South Carolina. Yes, Georgia is still undefeated and its national championship odds should still be high. However, it’s also evident this team isn’t nearly as good as it was the last two years.

Related: Best college football teams ever

6. Ohio State Buckeyes

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch
Barbara J. Perenic/The Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Previously: No. 6 in college football rankings
  • Next Opponent: Ohio State @ Notre Dame

The Ohio State Buckeyes kept things a little too close at times against Western Kentucky, but they ultimately came away with the victory. Marvin Harrison Jr. once again proved why he’s one of the best players in college football and this Buckeyes’ offense is looking far more consistent. The drawback, for now, is our skepticism of Ryan Day and quarterback Kyle McCord in a big game.

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5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

NCAA Football: Central Michigan at Notre Dame
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 7 in college football rankings
  • Next Opponent: Ohio State @ Notre Dame

The stage is set for the best college football game in 2023 to this point. Ohio State vs Notre Dame, it’s not just a matchup between two powerhouse programs, but also comes with playoff stakes. Both teams have ample talent on both sides of the ball, but the quarterback advantage leads us to believe Notre Dame wins and eventually moves up even further in the college football rankings.

Related: College Football Stadium rankings

4. Florida State Seminoles

NCAA Football: Florida State at Boston College
Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 4 in college football rankings
  • Next Opponent: Florida State vs Clemson

The Florida State Seminoles nearly lost on Saturday, despite Boston College committing 18 penalties for 131 yards. Losing the turnover battle was a small part of the problem, but this vaunted Seminoles’ defense allowed 9 .2ypa through the air through the air, too. It also didn’t help that Trey Benson (3.2 ypc) wasn’t effective on the ground. We’re not high on Clemson, but a similar effort like this one from Florida State will result in a loss to Dabo Swinney.

Related: Heisman Watch

3. Michigan Wolverines

NCAA Football: Big Ten Football Media Day
Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 5 in college football rankings
  • Next Opponent: Rutgers vs Michigan

Following the Week 3 victory, Michigan Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh can return to the sideline. Based on how players reacted to the program, Harbaugh’s return will provide an additional shot in the arm for an undefeated team. Of course, the Wolverines won’t really be tested for a while as the first ranked opponent on their schedule (Penn State) doesn’t even start preparing for Michigan until November.

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2. USC Trojans

NCAA Football: Stanford at Southern California
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 3 in college football rankings
  • Next Opponent: USC @ Arizona State

A bad Saturday for the Bulldogs and Seminoles opened the door for the USC Trojans to move up a few spots in the college football rankings. Caleb Williams and Lincoln Riley provide Southern Cal with all it need to have a shot at the CFB Playoff. Of course, real questions remain about a Trojans’ defense that ranks 59th in yards per play (5.2) allowed. We’re counting down the days until USC vs Colorado.

Related: Caleb Williams draws lofty NFL comparison from former coach

1. Texas Longhorns

Syndication: Austin American-Statesman
Ricardo B. Brazziell/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Previously: No. 2 in college football rankings
  • Next Opponent: Texas @ Baylor

The Texas Longhorns are No. 1 in the college football rankings, in part due to Florida State and Georgia struggling in Week 3. Saturday’s win over Wyoming was far too close for comfort, but the Seminoles and Wolverines also allowed their opponents to keep the game close. One thing is for certain, there’s no unanimous No. 1 team in college football right now. On any given Saturday, one of the best teams in college football can lose.

Related: Texas Football schedule