Post-Week Four College Football Playoff Power Rankings
1 Michigan State Spartans
The Spartans actually did not have a great Saturday. Sure, they handled Central Michigan by nearly three scores, and didn't seem to have any problems doing it. But, the main reason why MSU is widely viewed as a Playoff team four weeks into the year is because of their victory over Oregon a couple weeks ago. Although it was just a three-point win and it was at home, it appeared to be the type of win that proved the Spartans were legit. Though, Oregon was smashed on Saturday by Utah, losing at home 62-20 in a type of loss that we hadn't seen Oregon suffer since before the Chip Kelly era. Even so, Michigan State is helped by the fact not many of the top contenders entering this season are playing very well. Right now, Michigan State has been strong enough to hold on to their top spot, and should roll before their October 17th meeting with arch-rival Michigan.
2 Ohio State Buckeyes
A week after getting all they could handle from Northern Illinois, Ohio State continued their run on their schedule through Non-Power Five schools against Western Michigan. Unlike their uninspired performance against NIU, the Buckeyes didn't have any trouble with the Broncos, winning handily 38-12. Cardale Jones has had his moments but is still suffering from major consistency issues. Though, Ohio State is still getting into the groove of things and beating Indiana this next week in their Big Ten opener impressively could go a long way in proving this team is a clone of last year's national champ.
3 TCU Horned Frogs
TCU's conference opener was a classic Big 12 shootout. Although the Horned Frogs' victory might have ended up on a lucky play (the ball bouncing off receiver Josh Doctson's hands and into back Aaron Green's hands with just moments to play) the win came against a Texas Tech team that is worlds better than last year's 4-8 squad. TCU's defense is extremely youthful still, so it is not surprising that they struggled against the Red Raiders' air raid attack. Even so, it was very fun to see Trevone Boykin and the TCU offense doing what they did all of last season, when they rolled to a 12-1 mark. While some may look at a close win over Texas Tech as a negative, I think it adds a nice, solid win to TCU's resume, which now includes road wins against Minnesota and TTU.
4 Ole Miss Rebels
Much like TCU, Ole Miss opened their conference schedule up this past weekend. Sure, Vanderbilt pales in comparison to Texas Tech, but it was still significant that the Rebels didn't fall apart a week after their huge win over Alabama. Chad Kelly continues to put up huge numbers and may be a serious name in the Heisman conversation, while the rest of the offense has also proven to be awfully explosive. With that huge win over 'Bama still on their resume, the Rebels have done enough to be part of the top four.
Next Four Out
Leonard Fournette continues his race towards the Heisman, leading the way for the Tigers. He ran for 244 yards and two touchdowns, pummeling a Syracuse defense that was no match for the bruising tailback. If the sophomore back continues to run the way he has been, it is extremely tough not to recognize the Tigers as one of the nation's top teams. Mississippi State nor Auburn are top tier SEC teams but they are still quality wins that show the Tigers are clearly something to be reckoned with.
It is pretty amazing that Baylor notched 70 points this past Saturday and it almost seemed normal. Sure, Rice doesn't have a fantastic defense, but the Bears' offense has looked as good as ever this year, with back Shock Linwood and much more leading the way. While lighting up the scoreboard was significant perhaps more important was the way Baylor's defense. Again, it is hard to get overly excited about shutting down Rice, but the Bears defense looked as disciplined and great as ever.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
It is still hard to gauge just how good the Irish are at this point. Sure, having any type of success with the amount of injuries the Irish have had (QB, back and a number of important defensive contributors) is impressive. But, are the Irish really a Playoff contender? A dominating victory over Texas doesn't look very nice, and Georgia Tech's loss to Duke this Saturday makes that eight-point victory a lot less impressive. Though, a win this past week against Clemson would certainly make a statement this Irish team is a serious contender.
There was a lot of hype entering the season about the Pac-12 South. Both Arizona schools were coming off big years and the two teams in Los Angeles, UCLA and USC, looked ready to compete for the conference crown. Then there was Utah. They were coming off a 8-5 year and looked look a solid team entering the year, but probably not a serious contender. Suddenly, that has all changed. First, the Utes outplayed Michigan start to finish (who has looked fantastic ever since) and then had their coming out party this weekend. They punished Oregon 62-20 on the road, led beyond back Devontae Booker. While it is still too early in the year to overlook into one win, the Utes have proven that, along with UCLA, they are the class of the Pac-12.
Others in the Mix
Florida State Seminoles
Texas A&M Aggies
Alabama Crimson Tide
Oklahoma State Cowboys
West Virginia Mountaineers