This college football ranking isn’t going to look like the Associated Press poll or the coaches poll — at least not this early in the season. It likely will line up with those rankings and the College Football Playoff selection committee rankings come November, but for now it will look strange and fluctuate somewhat wildly from week to week.
Why? Because these rankings imagine preseason expectations didn’t exist. They’re based only on the games teams have played so far. We call this the Resume Ranking. It started two weeks ago when a viewer of Andy Staples On 3 asked me to rank teams strictly on what they’d done on the field to that point. The exercise was so much fun that we decided to make it a weekly segment.
Here is the Resume Ranking through Week 4.
1. Florida State (4-0)
The Seminoles needed overtime to beat Clemson, but they came through on a day when the talented Tigers were fighting for their ACC lives. The win in Death Valley combined with the destruction of LSU in Orlando in week one gives Florida State the best resume so far. But with a Virginia Tech-shaped lull in the schedule this week, the Seminoles will be in danger of getting jumped by our No. 2 team next week.
2. Texas (4-0)
Alabama’s win against Ole Miss helped the Longhorns’ resume, and so did Texas taking care of business with a 38-6 win Saturday at Baylor. These are the games that the Longhorns should make look easy but recently haven’t. Kansas comes to Austin this week, but the teams’ final meeting as Big 12 foes will look very different from the rest. The Jayhawks are 4-0, and Texas can’t afford to get caught peeking ahead at Oklahoma.
3. Ohio State (4-0)
The Buckeyes’ dramatic win at Notre Dame suggested that there are some areas a Penn State or Michigan could exploit, but it also showcased a toughness that should serve Ohio State well. QB Kyle McCord’s poise on the game-winning drive was outstanding, and the Buckeyes can build on the experience in a tough road environment.
4. Utah (4-0)
The Utes’ defense dominated UCLA. The offense, led by backup QB Nate Johnson, didn’t wow anyone. But the expectation is that side of the ball will improve when starter Cam Rising (knee) finally returns. The Utes will be tested again this week with a Friday visit to Oregon State.
5. Penn State (4-0)
The defense dominated Iowa — which was to be expected — but Drew Allar throwing four touchdown passes in a driving rain against one of the nation’s best defenses was a pleasant surprise. A visit to suddenly frisky Northwestern will offer the offense another chance to polish its performance Saturday.
6. Duke (4-0)
The Blue Devils hammered UConn, setting up a huge matchup with Notre Dame in Durham. I was tempted to keep the Fighting Irish ranked because they were essentially one yard worse than Ohio State, but I’ll just allow Saturday’s game between Notre Dame and Duke decide who belongs on this list next week.
7. Washington (4-0)
The Huskies jumped on Cal early and cruised to a 59-32 win. While the Huskies’ opponents to this point haven’t particularly distinguished themselves, the way Washington keeps winning is incredibly impressive. They continue to leave no doubt.
8. Oregon (4-0)
The Ducks sent a message Saturday with a 42-6 win against Colorado that probably could have been more lopsided. They’ve got a visit to Stanford this week before an open date prior to the showdown with Washington in Seattle.
9. Miami (4-0)
The Hurricanes cruised into their open date with a 41-7 win at Temple. Their win against Texas A&M looked better thanks to the Aggies’ handling of Auburn in College Station. The next big test for the Hurricanes comes Oct. 14 at North Carolina.
10. North Carolina (4-0)
Minnesota’s loss to Northwestern takes some shine off the Tar Heels’ win on Sept. 16, but North Carolina just kept rolling Saturday with a 41-24 win at Pittsburgh. The Tar Heels will take this week off before a visit from Syracuse.