Week 4 scores and results made it clear, if fans and the top 25 AP voters didn’t know, the 2022 college football season is going to be extremely volatile. Good luck to everyone – including those of us who vote on CBS Sports 131 – who have to figure out how to stack these teams against each other in their college football rankings, because comparing losses and trying to highlight these programs can be quite difficult for a couple of weeks.
Given the lack of consistency in one-loss team profiles, there will be differences in voter behavior everywhere. Some sites track how far voters are from consensus, and Sunday rankings are likely to have the largest average variance per voter. That is, voters will be all over the place in their rankings for some of these one-loss teams.
For example, what will voters do with Texas A&M after the Aggies handed Arkansas their first loss of the season? Aggie also has one loss of the season, but that came from Appalachian State, a team that is now 2-2 after losing to James Madison. What about the states of Oklahoma and Kansas? The Sooners had just suffered their first loss of the season against a team that had also been beaten by Tulane at home. Can Kansas State get over this defeat due to Saturday’s victory in Norman, Oklahoma, and how much will voters punish the OU team that suddenly lacks quality wins on their profile?
These are just some of the questions voters will (or should) consider when filling out their ballots on Sunday morning. Since there are no clear answers to most of them, we think there will be a lot of discrepancies. But our job is to try and predict consensus by using years of voter habits to help guide our predictions.
Here’s what we think the new AP 25 Players list will look like on Sunday when the new college football rankings are released.
1. Georgia (Last week — 1): There was never really a moment when anyone thought upset was brewing, but Saturday’s 39-22 win over Kent State was simply close enough to think that maybe a few first place votes are drifting elsewhere. Not enough to lead to any change in Georgia’s No. 1 rankings, but last week the Bulldogs received 59 of 63 first-place votes, and it’s entirely possible that Alabama or Ohio State will pick up a few of those votes after Week 4. .
2. Ohio State (3): The Buckeyes were only 19 points behind Alabama (1492-1473) in last week’s voting. The results since then have only bolstered Ohio State’s reputation as it pulled off a quality conference victory over Wisconsin, and its previous best win (Notre Dame) went and crushed North Carolina on the road. Meanwhile, Alabama’s proximity to Texas looks more problematic after the Longhorns’ loss to Texas Tech.
3. Alabama (2): There could have been a bit of a shuffle in second place, but Alabama did it with a 55-3 win over Vanderbilt when Bryce Young threw four touchdown passes to three different catchers before the understudies brought the win home.
4. Michigan (4): Blake Corum rushed for a whopping 243 yards, throwing 30 carries with two touchdowns to provide some stability and explosiveness in a seven-point home win over a frisky Maryland team that Michigan barely laid down.
5. Clemson (5): A grueling 51-45 double overtime that nearly upset at the hands of Wake Forest has caused a lot more drama at the moment than in the rankings. The Demon Deacons are a good team and ultimately this was DJ Uiagalelei’s best performance and offense, but it was also a game where Clemson was behind or tied for most of the second half, so a win wouldn’t lift the rankings. or jump.
6. USC (7): The Trojans narrowly escaped defeat as they won 17–14 on the road at Oregon State. USC did not score a touchdown until the fourth quarter, but ended up finding the end zone twice, including with 1:13 left to clear the Beavers.
7. Kentucky (8): Kentucky may have a case of “predictive fever” when Ole Miss comes out next week as the Wildcats made their way to a 31-23 win over Northern Illinois as the 26.5-point favorite.
8. Tennessee (11): The door is open for an obvious jump into the top 10, but the debate will be where the Volunteers will end up among the top teams in the country after the program lost a five-game SEC streak to Florida on the CBS stage. Hendon Hooker has certainly added his name to the conversation as one of the most powerful quarterbacks in the country, and that alone will help the Wolves’ credibility in the minds of voters.
9. Oklahoma State (9): The Cowboys were on vacation in week 4 and will be back next week at Baylor.
10. North Carolina State (12): There was no doubt about the final result as NC State ended their non-conference schedule with a lopsided victory over UConn to improve the score to 4-0 and set up a massive Week 5 showdown with Clemson in Death Valley.
11. Utah (13): Expectations for the Arizona State team weren’t high in their first game since Herm Edwards was sacked, but Utah made sure there was no opportunity to bounce back in Utes’ 34–13 win..
12. Penn State (14): There was definitely hangover potential after last week’s big road win at Auburn, but then followed by a rather nondescript 33-14 victory over Central Michigan. The Nittany Lions woke up at 2 pm and just kept the Chippewa at arm’s length for the rest of the journey.
13. Oregon (15): Unlike Pennsylvania, Oregon won nothing out of the ordinary in Week 4. The Ducks were 12 points behind with 6:42 left and did not lead until three touchdowns in less than 3 minutes turned the game on its head in a 44–41 win over Washington State. The Cougars even stalled (for those who worry about such things) with a 49-second touchdown in the last minute, but Bo Nicks’ two touchdowns and a sixth pick set the stage to hold onto the win and improve to 3-1.
14. Ole Miss (16): The Rebels lost in the second half but held on until a 35–27 win over Tulsa. Now all eyes are on next week’s unbeaten game between Ole Miss and Kentucky.
15. Washington (18): AP voters mostly follow scoreboard scores and pre-game expectations. Since the Huskies outperformed everyone in a highly one-sided result against Stanford, I think there will be a jump up in the rankings. Washington, Michigan’s best-ever win lost some value with the Spartans’ loss to Minnesota, but the team played at a high level against all four opponents in its unbeaten start..
16. Oklahoma (6): For the third time in four years, the Sooners hit Kansas State. It was another thorough performance by the visiting Wildcats, who outscored OU 14-7 in the first quarter and tied them on points throughout the game. This puts Oklahoma State in the Big 12 driver’s seat for now and knocks Oklahoma out of the top 10.
17. Texas A&M (23): Since Aggie does have a loss to Appalachian State, there will be a ceiling on how high they can climb in the rankings at this point in the season. But defeating a quality opponent like Arkansas and showing some improvement in the field will help the Texas A&M cause. Aggie should be one of the top 25 players after week 4.
18. Arkansas (10): It was a heartbreaking loss for Arkansas when that field goal was within the intended range but ended up bouncing off the top of the post. The Razorbacks’ best win now is Cincinnati, a team that will make it into the top 25 votes but may not pass the AP poll, so their place in the rankings will be determined by Saturday’s loss to Texas A&M.
19. Baylor (17): There have been no significant ranking changes since the 31-24 win over Iowa State.
20. BYU (19): The Cougars took on a challenge from a Wyoming team that picked up form but held on to a double-digit win..
21. Florida (20): Billy Napier and the Gators brought their “A” game to Knoxville, Tennessee and narrowly lost to the Vols 38–33. If there is a team in the country that will enter the top 25 on Sunday with two losses, it will be Florida.
22. Wake Forest (21): It would be surprising if the Demon Deacons fell out of the top 25 entirely after a heartbreaking loss to Clemson in double overtime. Wake Forest is 3-1 and clearly on the same competitive level as the Tigers, so they should be in the top 25 on Sunday.
23. State of Florida (NR): After a 30-point win over Boston College, the Seminoles are now 4-0 with three wins over Power Five teams, two of them away from home. Florida State is picking up steam and now not only is it gearing up for its first bowl show under Mike Norvell, but the Seminoles could be a dark horse in the ACC Atlantic.
24. Minnesota (North Carolina): At some point, it’s not who you play but how you play that matters, and Minnesota smashed their opponents en route to a 4-0 start to the season with the Golden Gophers outscoring teams 183 -24.
25. Kansas (NR): The Jayhawks are off to a 4-0 start for the first time since 2009, and we think the momentum of this unprecedented success under Lance Leipold will help fire up voters’ attention and lead Kansas into the top 25 for the first time since October 18, 2009.
Predicted to come out: Texas (22), Pittsburgh (24), Miami (25).