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Week 4 Football AP Poll: Lions Roar

Penn State took a leap up the poll with a decisive road win

Syndication: The Montgomery Advertiser
The Nittany Lions ran through the Auburn defense and up the charts

Ranked teams in hostile road environments was a theme of Week 3; performances in such games separates the contenders from the pretenders. Penn State traveled to SEC country and put a beating on Auburn, adding a nail in Bryan Harsin’s coffin; Oklahoma continued to look like a Playoff contender, demolishing Nebraska in the first game post-Frost. On the negative side: Michigan State was hapless in Seattle, BYU was swallowed alive by Autzen Stadium and the Oregon Ducks, and the Hurricanes left their offense in South Beach, looking inept in College Station. The Top 25 was impacted accordingly:

Most Overrated

#17 Baylor - This is not to suggest that the Bears are undeserving of being a Top 25 team or should be ranked lower than this spot. However, the Bears have wins over 0-3 FCS Albany and bottom-10 FBS Texas State, with a loss at BYU. Somehow those Cougars, at #19, are ranked behind Baylor. Look, we know head-to-head shouldn’t always matter when it comes to Baylor, but having done nothing else yet aside from losing at BYU, it’s hard to believe Baylor is the higher ranked squad.

Most Underrated

#27 Florida State - A “big brand” is undefeated with two road wins over Power 5 name brands and it isn’t in the Top 25? Perhaps voters aren’t impressed by narrow (some may even say lucky) victories over LSU and Louisville, but those squads proved formidable in wins over Mississippi State and UCF, respectively. The Seminoles gets a disappointing Boston College next, but after that is a gauntlet of ranked showdowns with #21 Wake Forest, #13 NC State, and #5 Clemson. Make it out of that with one or fewer losses, and the Noles might be Top 15.

Spotlight Voter

Nathan Baird (@nwbaird), - We’ve reached an interesting point in the poll where we have enough data points to form an opinion but few that hold much meaning on the national stage, while several top teams have played each other creating some voting conflicts. The poll remains far from a consensus, and Baird’s ballot adeptly handles the issue: using the bottom of the poll to reward surprising teams that likely won’t stick around, but are deserving for the moment (Kansas, Oregon State); lower on high-expectation teams that have looked fine against poor competition (Clemson, OK State). He also is the highest on FSU at #12 and super high on Penn State at #5 while fully omitting consensus ranked teams like Baylor(!), Ole Miss, and Wake Forest.

TCU Status

The Frogs are still not receiving votes in the AP Poll and are no longer receiving votes in the Coaches Poll. The TCU season begins in earnest this week, win the next two and the Frogs are guaranteed a spot; we can start squabbling about the relative position on the poll if when that happens.

Big 12 (+4) Votes

  • #6 Oklahoma (1257 points) - The Sooners continue to look Playoff caliber ahead of Big 12 conference opener against their nemesis Deuce Vaughn and a K-State team in need of a bounce back following a loss to Tulane
  • #9 Oklahoma State (1071) - Won its FCS game and gets a Bye before a trip to Waco on October 1.
  • #17 Baylor (494) - Discussed above. A potential trap game road trip to Ames this week before the Big 12 Championship rematch in Week 5.
  • #19 BYU (381) - Yes, the Cougs got stomped by Oregon on Saturday, dropping them 7 spots in this ranking. Next is a home date with a Wyoming squad that just took down MWC favorite Air Force.
  • #22 Texas (339) - Bijan ran wild and the ‘Horns took care of business against UTSA and travels to Lubbock looking for a first Power 5 win on the season
  • #31 Cincinnati (52) - The Bearcats took care of Miami-Ohio and can turn towards hosting Indiana in Nippert Stadium in Week 4 before the AAC schedule begins.
  • #34 Kansas (23) - Not a typo! The Jayhawks have already surpassed their season win total by knocking off future conference foe Houston in H-Town. Kansas hosts the basketball school showdown with Duke this week.