College News & Analysis

College Football: Week 4 top 25 rankings

2RW4DHJ Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers looks to pass during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Wyoming on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Thomas)

• The top-12 remain the same: The same top-12 teams in our Week 3 rankings hold true for Week 4.

• Oklahoma on the rise: The Sooners jump from 18th to No. 13 in our rankings thanks to a hot start to the season.

• Tennessee drops down: The Volunteers fall from 14th to No. 23 after losing to Florida this past Saturday.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Week 3's theme was playing down to your opponent, as Georgia, Florida State, Alabama and Colorado won by a combined 34 points despite being favored by 109.5 points. 

Week 4 should go down as not only one of the best slates of the year but one of the best of the last few years. There are a total of six(!) games between ranked teams this week and that’s not even including Florida State-Clemson.

Here’s how I view the top 25 teams in the country heading into a massive Week 4. Please note that these are not the same as PFF’s power rankings.

1. Georgia Bulldogs (Record: 3-0, AP Ranking: 1st)

Week 4 Matchup: vs. UAB Blazers

The defending back-to-back national champions endured its first scare this season, beating South Carolina by 10 despite being 27-point favorites. The Bulldogs were down 14-3 going into halftime before scoring 21 unanswered to escape with the 24-14 victory.

One area of concern for Georgia is that the defensive line hasn’t been as ferocious as it was the last couple of seasons. The Bulldogs have just the 34th-best team run-defense grade in the Power Five so far and the 10th-worst team pass-rushing grade.

2. Michigan Wolverines (Record: 3-0, AP Ranking: 2nd)

Week 4 Matchup: vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

J.J. McCarthy came crashing back down to Earth this week. Through the first two weeks, the junior’s 94.8 grade led all FBS quarterbacks. His 42.3 grade on Saturday against Bowling Green was the eighth-worst mark in the country in Week 3. He’ll try to rebound in Michigan’s conference opener against Rutgers.

3. Florida State Seminoles (Record: 3-0, AP Ranking: 4th)

Week 4 Matchup: at Clemson Tigers

Like Georgia, Florida State endured a scare from Boston College, winning 31-29 despite entering the game as 25.5-point favorites. 

Also like the Bulldogs, the Seminoles’ defensive line struggled. FSU only had a 15% pressure rate in the game and allowed 4.5 yards per carry to the Eagles. Florida State will have to rebound quickly, as it travels to Death Valley to take on Clemson this week.

4. Texas Longhorns (Record: 3-0, AP Ranking: 3rd)

Week 4 Matchup: at Baylor Bears

Texas started slow against Wyoming, as the game was deadlocked at 10 in the fourth quarter. The Longhorns then scored three touchdowns in about five minutes to put the game on ice and defeat the Cowboys 31-10.

After posting a 90.6 passing grade against Alabama, Quinn Ewers mustered just a 52.4 mark against Wyoming. He’ll need to be more consistent as Texas’ College Football Playoff hopes essentially hinge on the redshirt sophomore.

5. Ohio State Buckeyes (Record: 3-0, AP Ranking: 6th)

Week 4 Matchup: at No. 10 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

After a sluggish start to the season by its standards, the Ohio State offense exploded in a 63-10 win over Western Kentucky.

However, Kyle McCord still hasn’t fully taken advantage of the weapons around him. The redshirt sophomore has just a 65.1 grade through three games and has his toughest test yet this week, a road game against a top-10 team in Notre Dame.

6. USC Trojans (Record: 3-0, AP Ranking: 5th)

Week 4 Matchup: at Arizona State Sun Devils

USC was off this past weekend and should’ve used that time to iron out its defensive kinks. While the offense once again leads the country in expected points added per play, the defense ranks just 50th in that same metric. That came against San Jose State, Nevada and Stanford as well, a far cry from the electric offenses the Trojans are facing very soon.

7. Penn State Nittany Lions (Record: 3-0, AP Ranking: 7th)

Week 4 Matchup: vs. No. 22 Iowa Hawkeyes

While Penn State’s offensive line had no answers for Jer’Zhan Newton and company, the Nittany Lions defense stood tall in a 30-13 win over Illinois. Penn State’s defense forced five turnovers in the victory and is currently eighth in the country in terms of EPA per play. 

While Drew Allar was under constant pressure, he continued to impress with a 78.4 grade against the Fighting Illini. He’ll have another difficult test this week against No. 22 Iowa, who consistently produces some of the nation’s best defenses.

8. Washington Huskies (Record: 3-0, AP Ranking: 8th)

Week 4 Matchup: vs. California Golden Bears

Michael Penix Jr. continued to show why he’s one of the top contenders for the Heisman Trophy by posting a season-high 92.0 grade against Michigan State that included 473 passing yards and four touchdowns. His 92.8 grade on the season trails only Shedeur Sanders among FBS quarterbacks.

Next up is a stout California defense that’s fifth in the country in expected points allowed per play.


9. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Record: 4-0, AP Ranking: 9th)

Week 4 Matchup: vs. No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes

The Fighting Irish are the only 4-0 team in the country right now after taking down Central Michigan 41-17. 

It’s going to be a tall task to get to 5-0 though, as Notre Dame hosts a top-five team in Ohio State this weekend. The Fighting Irish do have the advantage at quarterback though as Sam Hartman currently has an 83.5 grade.

10. Oregon Ducks (Record: 3-0, AP Ranking: 10th)

Week 4 Matchup: vs. No. 19 Colorado Buffaloes

Oregon’s offense continued to hum on Saturday with a 55-10 victory over Hawaii. So far this season, the Ducks’ offense is the second-most efficient offense in terms of EPA per play. 

The Ducks will need to continue its dominance against Colorado and Shedeur Sanders, a game that has all the makings of a shootout.

11. Utah Utes (Record: 3-0, AP Ranking: 11th)

12. LSU Tigers (Record: 2-1, AP Ranking: 12th)

13. Oklahoma Sooners (Record: 3-0, AP Ranking: 16th)

14. Alabama Crimson Tide (Record: 2-1, AP Ranking: 13th)

15. North Carolina Tar Heels (Record: 3-0, AP Ranking: 17th)

16. Duke Blue Devils (Record: 3-0, AP Ranking: 18th)

17. Ole Miss Rebels (Record: 3-0, AP Ranking: 15th)

18. Oregon State Beavers (Record: 3-0, AP Ranking: 14th)

19. Colorado Buffaloes (Record: 3-0, AP Ranking: 19th)

20. Miami (FL) Hurricanes (Record: 3-0, AP Ranking: 20th)

21. UCLA Bruins (Record: 3-0, AP Ranking: 22nd)

22. Iowa Hawkeyes (Record: 3-0, AP Ranking: 24th)

23. Missouri Tigers (Record: 3-0, AP Ranking: NR)

24. Washington State Cougars (Record: 3-0, AP Ranking: 21st)

25. Florida Gators (Record: 2-1, AP Ranking: 25th)

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