In the biggest game of College Football Week 4, Oklahoma State vs TCU, I was way off. I thought this might be the season when Oklahoma State stamped itself as one of the top programs in college football. Instead, it was the Texas Christian Horned Frogs who signaled their program’s resurgence.
Check out our 2017 College Football Top 20 Rankings Week 5.
2017 College Football Top 20 Rankings Week 5
1. Alabama Crimson Tide 4-0
I thought Vanderbilt had a shot to keep the Crimson Tide under control. Vandy had upset K-State the week before. The Commodores’ defense appeared to be the best Alabama had faced all season. Nope. Not only did Alabama cover the -19.5 spread, the Tide absolutely demolished it. Alabama beat Vanderbilt 59 to 0. The Tide is getting better week to week.
2. Oklahoma Sooners 4-0
I leapfrogged Oklahoma ahead of Penn State in my Week 5 Top 20. Yes, I know that the Sooners had a tough time against the Baylor Bears, one of the worst teams in the Big 12. But, Oklahoma versus Baylor is more of a rivalry game than Penn State versus Iowa. Plus, Oklahoma did beat the Bears 49 to 41. The Sooners had been playing at such a high-level before that. The off-day doesn’t concern me that much.
3. Penn State Nittany Lions 4-0
The Nittany Lions’ offense appeared sluggish in Penn Sate’s 21 to 19 win over the Iowa Hawkeyes in Week 4. RB Saquon Barkley, the only running back capable of winning the Heisman this season, rushed for 211 yards from 28 carries. Barkley also scored a TD. Penn State racked up 579 total yards, but the Lions only scored 21 points. That should bother every Penn State fan.
4. Clemson Tigers 4-0
Clemson played down to their competition this past Saturday. As a -34 favorite in Death Valley, the Tigers were only good for 34 points in a 34 to 7 win over Boston College. If you’re a Clemson fan, there’s one stat line that should really bother you. QB Kelly Bryant only completed 17 of 26 passes for 140 yards. He didn’t throw a TD pass. He threw 2 interceptions. Bryant was brilliant rushing the football. He wasn’t so great throwing the football. For Clemson to win the ACC this season, Bryant must be great at both running and throwing the football.
5. Washington Huskies 4-0
All Washington does is win football games. Both the AP poll and the Coach’s poll rank the USC Trojans ahead of the Washington Huskies. Washington, still, isn’t getting any respect. In Week 4, the Huskies battled Colorado as a -10 favorite. All Washington did was thump the Buffalos 37 to 10. The Huskies are one of the few teams in college football that backs up an excellent defense with a high-scoring offense. East Coast bias? Maybe.
6. Michigan Wolverines 4-0
I didn’t believe Michigan’s defense could stop Purdue. It did. The Boilermakers were +10 home dogs. Michigan beat Purdue 28 to 10 in Week 4. The Wolverines are one of those teams that should get better week to week. The annual rivalry game versus Michigan State in Week 5 won’t mean much unless Michigan plays poorly. They shouldn’t. 2 road games after the battle with MSU follow: Indiana and Penn State. Michigan isn’t guaranteed to win either of those 2 games.
7. USC Trojans 4-0
If I had a West Coast bias, I’d be all over the USC Trojans. I’m not. USC is 4 and 0 straight up. They’re only 1 and 3 ATS. This Friday, the Trojans battle Washington State in Pullman. That should be a magnificent game. The winner must be considered Washington’s top challenge to a second straight Pac 12 Championship.
8. TCU Horned Frogs 4-0
Time to eat massive crow. Maybe, Oklahoma State Coach Gundy’s mullett confused me. How else to explain the way I wrote off TCU as having no shot versus the Cowboys in College Football Week 4? As a +13 road dog, Texas Christian flat out dominated. The Horned Frogs put a beating onto Oklahoma State’s defense. TCU rushed for 238 yards from 52 carries. That’s a 4.6 per rush average. The Horned Frogs rushing game led to an impressive 44 to 31 win.
9. Georgia Bulldogs 4-0
Georgia was supposed to have trouble with Mississippi State. It didn’t work out that way. The Georgia Bulldogs dominated the Mississippi State Bulldogs in a game that can only be described as strange if you’re a Mississippi State fan, and wonderful if you’re a Georgia fan. As promised, I’ve added Georgia to my Top 10. The 31 to 3 win over Mississippi State was legit. Bulldogs might end up out of my Top 10 soon, though. Their Week 5 game versus rival Tennessee is in Tennessee.
10. Wisconsin Badgers 3-0
Wisconsin had a bye in College Football Week 4. I still moved them up a bit. If QB Alex Hornibrook continues to complete over 70% of his passes, the Badgers might be the team to watch in the Big Ten, ahead of Michigan, Penn State, and Ohio State.
11. Virginia Tech Hokies 4-0
The Hokies’ acid test is this Saturday at home in Blacksburg versus Clemson. Virginia Tech’s 38 to 0 win over Old Dominion wasn’t overly impressive. Sure, VA Tech kept ODU off the scoreboard. The Monarchs only average 17.8 per game. That average is due to Old Dominion scoring 31 against Albany in their first game of the season. VA Tech had better be ready for Clemson, or it could quickly get ugly.
12. Washington State Cougars 4-0
After starting the season going 0 and 2 against the spread, Washington State has turned it around. The Cougars’ defense has allowed a total of 30 points in their last 2 games. Arguably, the most important battle in Washington State’s history (so far!) takes place on Friday, Sep. 29 when the Cougars battle the USC Trojans. If Washington State wins, they should move into the Top 10 in every poll.
13. Auburn Tigers 3-1
As opposed to past Gus Mahlzan teams at Auburn, the 2017 Tigers win because of their terrific defense. Auburn thrashed Missouri 51 to 14 this past Saturday. That’s 4 straight games where Auburn hasn’t allowed more than 14 points in any single matchup. A home game versus Mississippi State in Week 5 should test Auburn’s resolve.
14. Ohio State Buckeyes 3-1
Since the 16 to 31 loss to Oklahoma in Week 2, the Buckeyes have dominated Army and UNLV. I’m not overly impressed with either one of the wins. The 54 to 21 victory over UNLV is okay. It wasn’t mind-blowing. We must never forget that UNLV lost to Howard. Ohio State battles Rutgers in Week 5. It’s doubtful that anything the Buckeyes do against Rutgers will be enough for me to move them up my rankings.
15. Miami Hurricanes 2-0
The Hurricanes covered the spread in Week 4 when beating Toledo 52 to 30. Miami’s biggest game of the season might be on Sep. 30 when the Hurricanes battle the Duke Blue Devils in Durham. Duke has quietly built a 4 and 0 record. Granted, the Dookies have beaten NCCU, Northwestern, Baylor, and UNC, but 4 and 0 is 4 and 0. Plus, Miami has only played 2 games so far this season.
16. Utah Utes 4-0
I thought Utah would dominate my alma mater, the Arizona Wildcats. They didn’t. Utah still covered the spread in Tucson this past Friday night. Utah beat Zona 30 to 24 as a -4.5 favorite. The Utes could make thing interesting in the wide-open Pac 12. But, to do that, Utah must play better. The Utes should have beaten the Wildcats by 20 points in Week 4.
17. South Florida Bulls 4-0
South Florida gets better game to game. The Bulls followed up their impressive 47 to 23 victory over Big Ten Illinois in Week 3 with a 43 to 7 win over Temple in Week 4. South Florida has no business demolishing East Carolina by 30 points in College Football Week 5.
18. Oklahoma State Cowboys 3-1
I’m so disappointed in Oklahoma State. How could the Cowboys play that badly against Big 12 rival TCU at home? This was the season when Oklahoma State was going to march to the College Football Playoff. Not so. Oklahoma State should bounce back versus Texas Tech in Week 5. Still, I can’t help but feel that the Mullett and his players already blew their chance of becoming the big dog in the Big 12.
19. Notre Dame Fighting Irish 3-1
The Irish are a couple of unlucky plays away from being undefeated. I didn’t believe Notre Dame could beat Michigan State on the road. Not this Notre Dame team. The Irish dominated the rival Spartans 38 to 18. It’s time to take Notre Dame seriously. The loss occurred to Georgia. So, it’s not like Notre Dame got beat by some has-been MAC squad.
20. San Diego State Aztecs 4-0
What impresses me about San Diego State is their defense. SDSU beat ASU 30 to 20 as a +3 road dog in Tempe in Week 2. Arizona State hung 37 onto Oregon in Week 4. SDSU held Stanford to only 17 points in Week 3. In Week 4, the undefeated Aztecs held Air Force to 24 points in a 28 to 24 road win.
When you can play defense, you have a shot in most games. Great defenses always have an edge over a great offense because scoring against a bad defense in college football is easy. San Diego State has a close to great defense.