College football Power Rankings after Week 4

ByESPN staff via ESPN logo
Sunday, September 25, 2022
ESPN

Another week of college football is in the books, and it was once again defined by upsets -- or near upsets (looking at you, Pac-12).

The day began with Clemson pushed to the limits against Wake Forest in double overtime. The Tigers survived 51-45, but others weren't so lucky.

A week after losing in College Station,Miamifell behind early toMiddle Tennesseeand could never recover in the Blue Raiders' 45-31 win at Hard Rock Stadium. Arkansas took its first loss of the season late as a game-winning field goal hit the top of the goalpost, but the loss was quickly overlooked as everyone switched over to the action in Norman, Oklahoma.

Kansas State continued to be the thorn in Oklahoma's Big 12 side, this time upsetting the top-10 Sooners 41-34. Oklahoma certainly won't miss Kansas State when it leaves the Big 12 for the SEC. The win was the third time the Wildcats have bested the Sooners since 2019.

It looked as though Oregon and USC would join the ranks of losing to unranked opponents, but both found ways to win late and keep the Pac-12's College Football Playoff hopes alive.

With all the upsets and close calls, the Week 4 Power Rankings took a new turn this week. Check out all the updates below.

1. Georgia Bulldogs(4-0)

For the first time this season, Georgia looked mortal Saturday in a 39-22 home win against a Kent State team that had already lost games on the road at Oklahoma and Washington. The Bulldogs turned the ball over three times and had to settle for field goals three different times after driving inside the Kent State 20-yard line. The Golden Flashes scored the first touchdown of the season against Georgia's first-team defense. The Bulldogs, who finished with 529 yards of total offense, put the game away on Kendall Milton's 1-yard touchdown run with 5:30 to play. -- Chris Low

Up next:at Missouri (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network/ESPN app)

2. Alabama Crimson Tide(4-0)

Coming out of the 20-19 win at Texas earlier this month, it felt like the sky was falling. And while the clouds have cleared somewhat with decisive wins the past two weeks, it's worth remembering who those wins came against: heavy underdogs UL Monroe(63-7) and Vanderbilt(55-3). Yes, the offensive line has played better. And, yes, there has been improvement from the defensive backs and receivers. But the real test comes next Saturday on the road at Arkansas. -- Alex Scarborough

Up next:at Arkansas (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

3. Ohio State Buckeyes(4-0)

The Buckeyes scored 31 points in the first half against a Wisconsin team who hadn't allowed more than 30 points in 12 straight games. Quarterback C.J. Stroud had over 200 yards passing and three touchdowns midway through the third quarter as everything was working for Ohio State on offense. The defense, especially defensive back Tanner McCalister, had a good night as well, holding the Badgers to just seven points in the first half and closing the game out strong. -- Tom VanHaaren

Up next:vs. Rutgers (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, TBD)

4. Clemson Tigers(4-0)

Dabo Swinney felt like he aged 10 years after a 51-45 overtime win at Wake Forest. The good news is Clemson can rely on quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, running back Will Shipley and the offense to win big games. Uiagalelei had 371 passing yards and five touchdowns, and had his best-ever numbers on downfield passes (20 yards or more). Shipley added 104 rushing yards and a touchdown, as Clemson needed all its offense could muster to outlast Sam Hartman and Wake Forest. Despite a full complement of defensive linemen, Clemson had few answers for Hartman, whose six touchdown passes all came against the blitz. After allowing 28 first downs, Clemson has plenty to clean up, but at least can do so without a loss on its ledger. -- Adam Rittenberg

Up next:vs. NC State (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN app)

5. Michigan Wolverines(4-0)

Michigan running back Blake Corum ran for 243 yards and two touchdowns in Michigan's 34-27 win over Maryland on Saturday. Corum had the most rush yards for a Michigan player since Denard Robinson ran for 258 in 2010. The Wolverines didn't make it easy on themselves, giving up 397 yards of offense to Maryland. Michigan's defense came up big when needed, though, causing three turnovers, two of which were interceptions in the win. -- Tom VanHaaren

Up next:at Iowa (Saturday, noon ET, Fox)

6.Kentucky Wildcats(4-0)

After beating Youngstown State, 31-0, last week, Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said the offense needed to play better around quarterback Will Levis. But judging by Saturday's 31-23 win over Northern Illinois, there's still room for improvement. The offensive line wasn't especially sharp, and the running game wasn't terribly effective, generating 103 yards on 34 carries. Levis threw four touchdowns, and the defense played well, but the Wildcats will need more, starting with next Saturday's trip to No. 16 Ole Miss. -- Scarborough

Up next:at Ole Miss (Saturday, noon ET, ESPN/ESPN app)

7.Tennessee Volunteers (4-0)

The ghosts of Florida past reappeared in the final minutes Saturday in a game Tennessee seemed to have in hand. The Vols had to survive a last-second heave toward the end zone to beat the Gators 38-33, and Neyland Stadium collectively breathed a huge sigh of relief. Kamal Hadden intercepted Anthony Richardson's pass to seal it for the Vols, who had lost 16 of the previous 17 games against the Gators. The two teams combined for 1,170 total yards, as Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker passed for 349 yards and rushed for 112 yards. The Vols led 38-21 with 7:55 to play, but the Gators closed the game with a pair of touchdowns and recovered an onside kick to give themselves a chance until Hadden's interception. -- Low

Up next:BYE

8.USC Trojans(4-0)

There's a reason USC traveling to Corvallis is never dull. The Trojans entered Saturday night's matchup undefeated, but also having lost their past three games at Reser Stadium as a ranked team. It took an ugly, grinding, back-and-forth affair, four interceptions by the defense and one late final drive by quarterbackCaleb Williams to put to rest any kind of Corvallis curse and give the Trojans a hard-fought 17-14 victory. Despite an off night from Williams and the entire offense (except running backTravis Dye who had over 100 yards on the ground for a third straight game), Alex Grinch's defense made all the necessary plays to keep USC undefeated. The unit now has 14 takeaways in four games while the offense has yet to turn the ball over a single time. -- Paolo Uggetti

Up next:vs. Arizona State (Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN app)

9.Oklahoma StateCowboys(3-0)

The Cowboys had an early bye week and watched as Oklahoma and Texas both lost, a cautionary tale for an OSU team that faces Baylor next week in a rematch of the Big 12 title game last year. -- Dave Wilson

Up next:at Baylor (Saturday, TBD)

10.NC StateWolfpack(4-0)

The Wolfpack were 38.5-point favorites against the UConn Huskies for a reason. Devin Leary threw for three touchdowns and 267 yards in just one half of play, and NC State led 31-0 at intermission. In many ways, it was the perfect tuneup, coming out of a hard-fought win against Texas Tech and heading into a potentially season-defining game on the road at No. 8 Clemson next week. -- Scarborough

Up next:at Clemson (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN app)

11.Oregon Ducks (3-1)

With less than seven minutes left in the game, Oregon found itself down 16 points to Washington State and on the brink of their second loss of the season. It turns out that's exactly what Bo Nix needed to have his first big moment as a Duck. Nix led two touchdown drives in the final seven minutes, punctuated by a go-ahead, 50-yard pass to wide receiver Troy Franklin. And in a move that surely made former defensive coordinator Dan Lanning proud of his new team, it was the Ducks defense that completed the comeback by way of a pick-six. After a few weeks of beating up on inferior teams and dominating BYU, Oregon avoided disaster and showed why they've still got the talent to turn it on when they need to. -- Paolo Uggetti

Up next:vs. Stanford (Saturday, TBD, FS1)

12.Penn State Nittany Lions (4-0)

Opportunistic play on both defense and special teams helped Penn State survive a push from Central Michigan during a 33-14 victory on Saturday. A fumble recovery from sophomore linebacker Curtis Jacobs on a punt return in the opening minutes of the third quarter directly led to junior tight endBrenton Strange's second touchdown reception of the game. Redshirt freshman safety Zakee Wheatley and junior cornerback Johnny Dixon each helped stem the Chippewas by intercepting passes in the first half. All told, the Nittany Lions forced four turnovers on the afternoon to help support a three-touchdown day from sixth-year senior QB Sean Clifford. --BlakeBaumgartner

Up next:vs. Northwestern (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN app)

13. Ole Miss Rebels(4-0)

The Rebels used their powerful running game to chug past Tulsa for a 35-27 win at home that turned out to be a little closer than anyone would have expected at halftime. Ole Miss finished with 308 rushing yards, but also gave up 262 yards on the ground. The Rebels, after trailing 14-7 in the first quarter, sprinted out to a 35-17 lead at the half. But that was it offensively for Lane Kiffin's club, as the Rebels were forced to punt four times in the second half and didn't score after the break. -- Low

Up next: vs. Kentucky (Saturday, noon ET, ESPN/ESPN app)

14.Washington Huskies (4-0)

In coach Kalen DeBoer's maiden Pac-12 game, Washington jumped out to a 17-0 lead and cruised to 40-22 win. At no point did it seem like Stanford would make the game competitive. The comprehensive showing saw several outstanding performances and again showcased why DeBoer brought in QB Michael Penix Jr., who he worked with at Indiana. Penix Jr. completed 22 of 37 passes for 309 yards and two scores, calmly orchestrating an offense that also rushed for 172 yards. -- KyleBonagura

Up next:at UCLA (Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN app)

15.Utah Utes(3-1)

The Utes picked up right where they left off last season in Pac-12 play with a dominant 34-13 win against Arizona State. That's seven straight against conference opposition -- all by at least two scores. With ASU in turmoil, the nature of the win wasn't in any way surprising. QB Cameron Rising completed 19 of 29 passes for 260 yards with a pair of touchdowns -- both to Dalton Kincaid. -- Bonagura

Up next:vs. Oregon State (Saturday, TBD)

16.Baylor Bears(3-1)

Baylor ran a little faster, hit a little harder and got better quarterback play than Iowa State in its Big 12 opener in Ames on Saturday. Blake Shapen went 19-for-26 for 238 yards and three scores, the Baylor defense picked off a pair of Hunter Dekkers passes, and the Bears moved to 3-1 by recovering a late onside kick and kneeling out a 31-24 win. Shapen's 38-yard touchdown pass to sixth-year senior Gavin Holmes (who had a career-high 92 receiving yards) gave them a 31-14 lead early in the fourth quarter, and while ISU rallied, that turned out to be enough. -- BillConnelly

Up next: vs.Baylor (Saturday, TBD)

17. Texas A&M Aggies (3-1)

The Aggies say they weren't lucky to win this one, but they were -- which works just the same. With 3:11 left in the first half, Demani Richardson took a fumble recovery away from teammate Tyreek Chappell and raced 82 yards, changing the game for the Aggies, who had come out anxious and committed several early penalties en route to a 14-0 deficit. Then, leading 23-21, an Arkansas field goal attempt with 1:30 left in the game hit the uprights, setting off a raucous celebration and preserving a win over the Razorbacks. -- Wilson

Up next:at Mississippi State (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, SEC Network/ESPN app)

18.Arkansas Razorbacks(3-1)

The Razorbacks jumped out to a 14-0 lead, but will be frustrating looking back on this one after letting a key game slip away in a 23-21 loss marked by a couple of stunning plays. KJ Jefferson fumbled at the Texas A&M 3-yard line, which turned into a touchdown return in the second quarter, then Cam Little's possible game-winning field goal bounced off the top of the upright with 1:30 left as the Hogs' run to the top 10 likely ended. -- Wilson

Up next:vs. Alabama (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

19.Florida State Seminoles(4-0)

It felt like a potential slipup game, coming home after thrilling road wins at LSU and Louisville. Hosting 1-2 Boston College, with some questions about the health of FSU quarterback Jordan Travis lingering in the background, maybe the Seminoles would look ahead to next week's Wake Forest game and struggle. But it didn't happen. In a sign of maturity, FSU jumped out to a 31-0 lead in the first half and cruised to a win. -- Scarborough

Up next:vs. Wake Forest (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN app)

20.Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-0)

Minnesota dominated from start to finish on its way to posting a 34-7 win over Michigan State in East Lansing to begin Big Ten play with a flourish. Senior quarterback Tanner Morgan was 23-of-26 passing for 268 yards and three touchdowns. The Golden Gophers limited the Spartans to just one total yard in the first quarter and 240 total yards for the game while possessing the ball for 42 minutes. The defense limited Michigan State junior quarterback Payton Thorne to 132 passing yards while forcing him into three turnovers -- two interceptions and a fumble inside the 5-yard line. Sixth-year senior running back Mohamed Ibrahim, who ran for 103 yards, established a new program career touchdown record (41) with his 2-yard touchdown run on Minnesota's first possession of the game. -- Baumgartner

Up next: vs. Purdue (Saturday, noon ET, ESPN2/ESPN app)

21.Oklahoma Sooners (3-1)

Two years after losing at home to a Kansas State team that had just lost to Arkansas State, Oklahoma lost at home to a Kansas State team that had just lost to Tulane. KSU quarterback Adrian Martinez played like a Heisman contender (234 passing yards, 148 rushing yards, five total TDs), and Brent Venables' Sooners couldn't keep up. Down 14-0 early, the Sooners were able to keep things mostly close thanks to Dillon Gabriel's 330 passing yards and four touchdowns, but they could never take the lead, and Martinez's 55-yard burst on third-and-16 set up the game-clinching touchdown and knocked OU from the ranks of the unbeaten. -- Connelly

Up next:at TCU (Saturday, noon ET, ABC/ESPN app)

22.Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-1)

What a heartbreaker for coach Dave Clawson, quarterback Sam Hartman and the Demon Deacons, who rallied from a 14-0 deficit against Clemson and held three second-half leads and one in overtime before falling in the second extra session. Hartman made Clemson's talented defense look silly, throwing a team-record six touchdown passes, all against the blitz, and no interceptions on 29 attempts. Hartman set the ACC single-game touchdown pass record, twice finding both Jahmal Banks and Donavon Greene for scores. Wake Forest's defense wasn't good enough, though, and the team's losing streak against AP Top-10 opponents reached 62 (longest in the AP Poll era). --Rittenberg

Up next:at Florida State (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN app)

23.BYU Cougars(3-1)

The Cougars welcomed Puka Nacua back to the field but it was receiver Keanu Hill who had the standout game, catching five passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-24 win against Wyoming. After falling behind 10-7 early in the second quarter, BYU scored three straight touchdowns to take control, which was enough to fend off a late Wyoming rally. QB Jaren Hall completed 26 of 32 passes for 337 yards and four touchdowns in what was his best statistical performance of the season. -- Bonagura

Up next:vs. Utah State (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN app)

24.Kansas Jayhawks (4-0)

The Jayhawks have emerged as one of the biggest stories of the season, after a 35-27 win over Duke got them to 4-0 for the first time since 2009. Quarterback Jalon Daniels continues to play at a high level. Maybe we should say Heisman level. Against Duke, Daniels went 19-of-23 for 324 yards, four passing touchdowns, with another 83 yards rushing and a score, becoming the first player in school history with multiple games of at least five touchdowns. Kansas did it in front of a sold-out crowd, another nod to the excitement in Lawrence as the football program finds its way out of a decade-long darkness under coach Lance Leipold. -- AndreaAdelson

Up next:vs. Iowa State (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN app)

25.Kansas State Wildcats (3-1)

Kansas State came out of Norman with a 41-34 upset of Oklahoma on Saturday night behind a balanced offensive attack. The Wildcats accumulated 511 total yards, with 277 of those yards on the ground. Quarterback Adrian Martinez, who transferred into the program from Nebraska in the offseason, paced matters by accounting for 382 total yards and five total touchdowns. Both Martinez and junior Deuce Vaughn (116 yards) eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark for a team who responded with a resounding statement following last week's loss to Tulane. -- Baumgartner

Up next:vs. Texas Tech(Saturday, noon ET, ESPN+)

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