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Poll Problems: Week 4

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We take a look at the AP poll each week to see what the voters got right and what they got terribly wrong.

Wisconsin v Michigan State
Wisconsin forced Michigan State into four turnovers in a 30-6 road win and supplanted the Spartans at No. 8 in this week’s poll.
Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images

1. Alabama

Ho-hum win over Kent State, and the Tide should get another one this week against Kentucky.

2. Ohio State

The Buckeyes come off a bye week and get two easy home games against Rutgers and Indiana before a suddenly interesting trip to Wisconsin.

3. Louisville

Louisville rolled Marshall as expected, and the colossal matchup with Clemson is now set. If the Cardinals can get out of Death Valley with a win, they have a real chance to run the table.

4. Michigan

The Wolverines couldn’t have beaten Penn State in more dominant fashion, as they outgained the Nittany Lions 515-191 including better than 300 yards on the ground. James Franklin’s days in State College may be numbered. Next up for Michigan is a date with Wisconsin, which now looks like the class of the Big Ten West.

5. Clemson

While the second half against Georgia Tech was a bit worrisome, Clemson played its best half of football this season in jumping out to a 23-point lead after two quarters. The Tigers will need to be in top form for all four against Lamar Jackson and Louisville Saturday night if they want to have a shot. The defensive front should keep Clemson in the game, but can the offense finally turn the corner?

6. Houston

The Cougs throttled Texas State and now enter a long stretch of AAC opponents that, quite frankly, doesn’t offer any real threats to their undefeated mark. At this point, Houston is really just hoping Oklahoma stops looking like a train wreck and tainting its one quality win.

7. Stanford

It took Stanford until the game’s final minute to finally surge past UCLA, but quality road wins are nothing to sneeze at. Speaking of quality road wins, the Cardinal can notch a great one Friday night at Washington and thrust itself into the thick of early Playoff discussion.

8. Wisconsin

Wow. Mea culpa, Wisconsin. I thought Michigan State would take care of the Badgers, but Sconny took to the road and manhandled the Spartans in their own building. They can add a big notch to an improving resume this week if they can pull off an upset in Ann Arbor.

9. Texas A&M

The Aggies continue to prove doubters (including the Problems) wrong as they pulled away from Arkansas for another solid win. They have earned a top-10 spot and look like the only plausible threat to Alabama in the SEC West at this point.

10. Washington

It wasn’t easy for the Huskies as they eeked out an overtime win at Arizona, but hey, Pac-12 after dark is a crazy place. Perhaps I have been a bit gracious in touting Washington, but they now get a chance to prove they belong in a top-10 showdown with Stanford.

11. Tennessee

It took a while (read: an entire half), but Tennessee eventually showed it was better than Florida and notched its first when in that rivalry in over a decade. However, the “Tennessee Alternating Week Theory” - yes, we are rolling with this - states that this week’s road trip to Georgia will be a letdown.

12. Florida State

Florida State bounced back from its embarrassing trip to Louisville with a resounding victory at South Florida. The Noles are essentially forced to pull for Clemson this weekend if they want to have any chance to get back into ACC title contention.

13. Baylor

Slowly creeping up the rankings is a Baylor team we told you not to dismiss. OK, the Bears have only played one real team (Oklahoma State, this past week) and won’t face another one until they travel to Texas the last weekend of October, so we won’t know a ton about this team for another month. Just expect a ton of #POINTS in the interim.

14. Miami

We still don’t really know what we have with Miami (not a top-15 team, though, I can assure you), but we will find out in the Canes’ upcoming stretch, which reads like this: at Georgia Tech, vs. Florida State, vs. UNC, at Virginia Tech, at Notre Dame, vs. Pitt. Hope you enjoyed that bye week.

15. Nebraska

We’ll give the Huskers a pass for an ugly win at Northwestern because (1) it’s one of those weird places where opponents get bogged down into close games and (2) the Huskers compiled more than 550 total yards despite somehow only scoring 24 points.

16. Ole Miss

Credit where it’s due: Ole Miss could have let two 21-point choke-jobs in its first three games deter its focus, but SWAG and the boys took Georgia behind the woodshed and exposed the Bulldogs, while also showing they haven’t given up on the season.

17. Michigan State

Sparty Nooooo. We may have given Michigan State too much credit after they beat what now appears to be a seriously flawed Notre Dame team, as Wisconsin took it to the Spartans in East Lansing. I wouldn’t even have Michigan State ranked right now.

18. Utah

Utah nearly exited the poll as quickly as it entered. But after trailing nearly the whole game against USC, the Utes scored with just 16 seconds left to steal a win and remain undefeated. They have a sneaky tough trip to Cal looming this weekend.

19. San Diego State

The Aztecs should be well rested after a bye week and ready to blast South Alabama.

20. Arkansas

The Hogs don’t drop much despite suffering a three-touchdown loss at the hands of Texas A&M. They’re probably receiving too much respect for that win at TCU, but the Frogs are ranked too SO HEY!

21. TCU

Apparently a win against SMU is enough to jump five spots nowadays.

22. Texas

Just like Michigan State, Texas’ win over Notre Dame is looking less and less impressive, and I actually think the Longhorns go down at Oklahoma State on Saturday.

23. Florida

A 21-point lead is typically safe (unless you are Ole Miss), but the Gators could not hold off a furious Tennessee rally and lost to the Vols for the first time in a long time.

24. Boise State

Ah, what is a poll without the Broncos? Two early wins over Pac-12 foes have legitimized Boise’s inclusion in the rankings.

25. Georgia

It was an ugly day for the Dawgs, as we predicted. They remain on the fringe for now, but that may be short-lived with Tennessee coming to town this weekend.