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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, September 23, 2018 7:50 pm

Sinn's AP Poll: Week 4

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

Week 4 was wild. Weeks like this are why college football is my favorite sport to watch and follow. Old Dominion beat Virginia Tech by two touchdowns. Army took Oklahoma to overtime, LSU struggled against Louisiana Tech. Texas is back (probably not, see below). Oregon really is back (even though the Ducks lost). Duke and Kentucky are undefeated. Nebraska is ... not. I don't know what happened this week, but it was spectacular.

Here are my rankings.

1. Alabama (4-0)

2. Ohio State (4-0)

3. Clemson (4-0)

4. Georgia (4-0)

5. Oklahoma (4-0)

6. LSU (4-0) 

7. Notre Dame (4-0)

8. Auburn (3-1)

9. West Virginia (3-0)

10. Washington (3-1)

11. Penn State (4-0) 

12. Stanford (4-0)

13. Central Florida (3-0)

14. Michigan (3-1)

15. Wisconsin (3-1)

16. Miami (3-1)

17. Kentucky (4-0)

18. Duke (4-0)

19. Oregon (3-1)

20. Texas Tech (3-1)

21. Mississippi State (3-1)

22. Oklahoma State (3-1)

23. Buffalo (4-0)

24. Michigan State (2-1)

25. Boise State (2-1)

After such an upset-filled week, I have a couple disagreements with the way other voters decided their polls. The first of those concerned Notre Dame. I had the Irish at No. 7 this week, as I did last week. The overall poll had the Irish at No. 8 last week and Stanford at No. 7. That held this week. I just don't understand how people could watch Notre Dame and Stanford play yesterday and conclude that Stanford is better, at least right now. This will be decided organically next week, when Stanford and Notre Dame, who are both 4-0, meet in South Bend. Still, Stanford got man-handled by Oregon and was extremely lucky to win. In fact, if the Ducks had knelt the ball on their last regulation drive, the Cardinal would have lost. After seeing that, I dropped Stanford four spots in my poll. By almost any objective measure, Oregon was the better team in that game. Meanwhile, the Irish changed quarterbacks and hung 56 points on Wake Forest. Notre Dame was so good the Demon Deacons fired their defensive coordinator today. That has to count for something. Again, this is a mostly irrelevant argument because we'll know for sure who is better in just six days, but we all saw that Oregon had that game won. There's no reason for everyone to pretend Stanford deserves to be 4-0.

One last point to make about Notre Dame, as it relates to this week: winning college football games is hard. A lot of fans (understandably) panicked a bit after the Irish barely squeaked by Ball State in Week 2 and wondered whether the team would fulfill its elite potential. After watching Virginia Tech fall Saturday (and Oklahoma and LSU get pushed to the brink), those fears can be allayed somewhat. Notre Dame beat Ball State and Vanderbilt That's all it needed to do. On to Stanford.

My other quibble with the poll this week is Texas's ranking. Yes, the Longhorns have handily beaten USC and TCU in the last two weeks. Should they be ranked again? Maybe. But not at No. 18, and certainly not at No. 18 when Maryland, which is also 3-1 and beat Texas in Week 1, got just six votes for the Top 25. I get that people really want Texas to be good. The sport is better when Texas is good, but that makes no sense. I didn't rank either team, instead opting for Texas Tech as my surging Big 12 team at the bottom of the ranking. The Red Raiders throttled Oklahoma State and didn't give up a point in the second half. Texas Tech is fun and as a reward for three straight wins, it gets No. 12 West Virginia next week. Good luck.

Finally, I'm introducing a new part of this weekly blog: my Bold Prediction of the Week. I'll pick one game in the Top 25 for the next week and a final score. As the title says, I'll make it bold. Here's my first one:

No. 4 Ohio State 42, No. 9 Penn State 14

Feel free to yell at me about my predictions or poll on Twitter @DylanSinn or via email at dsinn@jg.net.