2014 CFN Rankings - Week 4

You must rank teams based on how good you believe they are at the moment. That's the point when it comes to putting the teams in some order. However, once the year is complete, it's only fair to take the subjectivity out of it and go by what actually happened on the field.


CFN Rankings - 2014

Week 4 - Sept. 21

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You must rank teams based on how good you believe they are at the moment. That's the point when it comes to putting the teams in some order. However, once the year is complete, it's only fair to take the subjectivity out of it and go by what actually happened on the field.

1. Alabama 4-0
Last Week: W, Florida, 42-21
Why They Should Be Ranked No. 1: The Tide is a very different team than the one that slogged through the opener with West Virginia. Bama has rolled through the last three opponents by at least 21 points, including an epic offensive outburst at the expense of a talented Gator D.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The wins have been easy, sure. But the Tide hasn’t exactly run the gauntlet through the first month. West Virginia is unranked, Florida has major issues and Florida Atlantic and Southern Miss are second-rate Conference USA programs.

2. Oregon 4-0
Last Week: W, Washington State, 38-31
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Ducks own one of the best wins of the season so far, tagging the salty Michigan State D for 46 points. Oregon proved Saturday night that it can win on the road versus a Pac-12 rival, when it’s not playing at its peak.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Oregon shouldn’t have to survive a game with Wazzu. The Cougars moved the ball through the air, which isn’t a shocker, but their ability to whip an embattled Duck O-line is an issue that needs to be addressed in Eugene.

3. Texas A&M 4-0
Last Week: W, SMU, 58-6
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Aggies have beaten their first four opponents by an average score of 55-12. The opening night rout of South Carolina grows in value with each Gamecock victory, particularly last week’s over Georgia.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Since pounding the Gamecocks, Texas A&M has not been challenged by Lamar, Rice or SMU. Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama in consecutive weeks in October will determine whether or not the Aggies are a bona fide national title threat in 2014.

4. Oklahoma 4-0
Last Week: W, West Virginia, 45-33
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Slowly but surely, the Sooners are beginning to build a playoff resume. They’ve beaten Tennessee and West Virginia the last two weeks, going to Morgantown to defeat the latter. Oklahoma was more impressive in its win over the Mountaineers than Alabama was in Week 1.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The defense had trouble stopping Clint Trickett and the West Virginia passing game, which is going to be an issue in the Big 12. Since Oklahoma doesn’t play a ranked opponent until at least the middle of October, it’ll be a while before anyone truly knows if the team is for real.

5. Florida State 3-0
Last Week: W, Clemson, 23-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Playing with a first-time starting quarterback, Sean Maguire, the Seminoles showed the heart of a champion by rallying to beat a good Clemson team. Florida State has also beaten Oklahoma State, which has proven to be better than most expected.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: In three opportunities, the Noles have yet to perform like a defending national champion this season. They beat the Tigers and the Cowboys by just six points, and only scored 37 on The Citadel. Florida State is a far more vulnerable team than it appeared to be just a few weeks ago.

6. Michigan State 2-1
Last Week: W, Eastern Michigan, 73-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Spartans came out of their bye week with a vengeance, exploding for 73 points on Eastern Michigan. Michigan State’s loss came against one of the best teams in the country, Oregon, in its building.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: No quality wins. There’s only so much that can be gained from a moral victory against the Ducks. But there’s only so high Michigan State can ascend by beating up on Jacksonville State and Eastern Michigan.

7. Auburn 3-0
Last Week: W, Kansas State, 20-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tigers went into Manhattan on a Thursday night and got out with a quality win. On a night when the offense stalled, the D stepped up to prove it can carry the team when necessary. Auburn has a 24-point win over Arkansas, which will grow in value as the season unfolds.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Auburn running game is no longer invincible. The Tigers were held to just 128 yards on 45 carries, a paltry 2.8-yard average, which will provide a handy blueprint for SEC teams. Kansas State may be scrappy, but it doesn’t have an SEC-caliber two-deep of defenders.

8. South Carolina 3-1
Last Week: W, Vanderbilt, 48-34
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Gamecocks have now won three straight, including over SEC East rival Georgia, since opening 2014 with a loss. The offense is heating up, getting another crisp effort out of QB Dylan Thompson in Nashville.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The team’s defensive problems might not be solved in 2014. South Carolina has given up at least 34 points to three opponents, including Vanderbilt, which managed a field goal in its other SEC game this year.

9. Georgia 2-1
Last Week: W, Troy, 66-0
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Dawgs took out all of their frustrations from the South Carolina loss by obliterating Troy behind a prolific running game. Georgia also beat Clemson with greater ease than Florida State did in Week 4.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Georgia exposed a number of its flaws last week, particularly on defense, that Troy was unable to exploit. The Gamecock team that the Bulldogs fell to in Week 3 was crushed in the opener by Texas A&M, 52-28.

10. Baylor 3-0
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Just like last year, the Bears are burying their early-season opponents, winning the first three by a combined score of 178-27. And they lead the country in scoring, despite being without Antwan Goodley and three other key receivers.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Who’d you face, Baylor? It’s the same old story with Baylor’s non-conference schedule. Annihilating SMU, Northwestern State and Buffalo could wind up being be a mild smokescreen for when Big 12 play begins next Saturday.

11. Mississippi State 3-0
Last Week: W, LSU, 34-29
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Bulldogs are for real, shocking LSU in Baton Rouge for the biggest win of the Dan Mullen era. Even better, they handled the Tigers easier than the final score indicated, racking up 570 total yards of offense.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Mississippi State is entering rarified air, but can it remain there? The LSU was impressive, but this is not vintage LSU in 2014, and upcoming visits from Texas A&M and Auburn will answer a lot of questions about this Bulldog team.

12. Notre Dame 3-0
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Irish have soared past expectations established for them after academic suspensions hit in August. The team has won its three games by an average of 36-10, including a historically lopsided rout of Michigan on Sept. 6.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Notre Dame has yet to face a genuine quality opponent, or play a true road game. It took too long to put away a Purdue team that had lost to Central Michigan by three touchdowns just a week earlier.

13. Ole Miss 3-0
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Rebels have started to come together as a complete team, spearheaded by a consistent stretch from QB Bo Wallace. They’ve beaten three opponents by an average of 44-10, including an opening day, neutral site handling of Boise State.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: This isn’t your big brother’s Boise State. And Ole Miss’ lone SEC contest was against Vanderbilt, the league’s doormat this year. It won’t be until October before anyone knows the true identity of Hugh Freeze’s third team.

14. Clemson 1-2
Last Week: L, Florida State, 23-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tigers have lost to two of the 10 best teams in the country, Georgia and Florida State. The Clemson D showed glimpses of its potential in Tallahassee Saturday night, often having its way with one of the nation’s most experienced offensive lines.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: No Jameis Winston, and you still couldn’t find a way to beat the Seminoles? The Tigers made far too many mistakes in Week 4, especially on offense and special teams, to warrant a higher ranking.

15. LSU 3-1
Last Week: L, Mississippi State, 34-29
Why The Ranking Should be Higher: The Tigers defeated a solid Wisconsin squad on a neutral field, keeping the vaunted Badger ground game in check. And their one loss is to an underrated Mississippi State team that’s now on the top 10 doorstep.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: More than just a loss, LSU got whipped by a Bulldog team that wasn’t ranked when the weekend began. The Tigers are young and flawed, with more regular-season losses coming.

16. BYU 4-0
Last Week: W, Virginia, 41-33
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Cougars tagged for 41 points a terrific Virginia D that allowed 49 combined to UCLA and Louisville. BYU owns a rout of Texas—in Austin—which almost knocked off UCLA two weeks ago.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: What happened to the defense? BYU got trampled for more than 500 yards by a pedestrian offense. And back-to-back eight-point wins over Houston and Virginia won’t earn much-needed style points for a program lacking the tough schedule needed to open eyes.

17. Oklahoma State 2-1
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: In the Cowboys’ first three games, they’ve lost to Florida State by only six points, and routed the same UTSA team that fell to Arizona by just a field goal. And they’ve getting it done the last two weeks with backup Daxx Garman behind center.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Oklahoma State is young and inexperienced and in need of improvement in a number of areas. The O-line must do a better job of blocking, especially for a ground game capable of making life easier for Garman.

18. Arkansas 3-1
Last Week: W, Northern Illinois, 52-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Fueled by one of the nation’s best ground games, the Razorbacks have won three consecutive games by at least three touchdowns. The Northern Illinois team that Arkansas tossed around on Saturday entered the weekend unbeaten.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Hogs fell to a quality opponent, Auburn, but the game wasn’t close in the second half. And the current three-game winning streak is against Nicholls State, Texas Tech and Northern Illinois, hardly a good prep for SEC West play.

19. East Carolina 3-1
Last Week: W, North Carolina, 70-41
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: For the second straight week, ECU outclassed an ACC opponent, slapping an epic beatdown on what was supposed to be a pretty good Carolina team. And the Pirates’ only loss was to South Carolina—at Williams Brice Stadium—in a game it could have won.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Impressive wins, sure, but Virginia Tech and Carolina are not elite programs. The Hokies have now dropped two straight, and the Tar Heels were stumbling into this week’s trip to Greenville.

20. Nebraska 4-0
Last Week: W, Miami, 41-31
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Huskers are beginning to surge, beating Miami for their best victory of the year to date. When Nebraska can roll on the ground, as it did on Saturday night, the team is good enough to capture the Big Ten.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: It’s difficult to rise much higher when your best moment came at the expense of the 2-2 Hurricanes. The Husker D has shown some cracks, including this past Saturday night and two weeks ago versus FCS McNeese State.

21. Ohio State 2-1
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Since the leader of the offense, J.T. Barrett, is only a redshirt freshman, the Buckeyes are going to keep getting better as the season unfolds. Ohio State showed a glimpse of its potential by walloping Kent State, 66-0, before the break.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Against its toughest opponent so far, Virginia Tech, Ohio State couldn’t survive in a night game in Columbus. That’s the same Hokie team that bowed the next two weeks to East Carolina and Georgia Tech.

22. Kansas State 2-1
Last Week: L, Auburn, 20-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Wildcats did on Thursday night what no one has during the Gus Malzahn era at Auburn—frustrate the vaunted Tiger ground game. If not for some poor execution and three missed field goals, Kansas State would have beaten the nation’s No. 5 team. The Cats showed they’re good enough to compete for a Big 12 title this year.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: With a chance to deliver a signature win in front of the home crowd, the Wildcats fumbled the opportunity. Dropped passes, offensive miscues and those special teams gaffes are the characteristics of a team not quite ready to be ranked.

23. Boston College 3-1
Last Week: W, Maine, 40-10
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: After starting slowly, the Eagles jetted past the Black Bears on Saturday. It was the follow-up to last week’s shocking upset of USC, in which BC outgained the Trojans on the ground, 452-20.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Boston College has a loss to an unranked team, Pitt, which fell to Iowa on Saturday. Even worse, the Eagles have yet to play a game outside of Massachusetts, and never threatened the Panthers in the second half of their Sept. 5 matchup.

24. USC 2-1
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Trojans authored a program-defining moment on Sept. 6, upsetting two-time defending Pac-12 champion Stanford on the Farm. USC harbors the athletes on offense and defense to match up with just about any team in the country.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Troy was outplayed by the Cardinal, yet found a way to win two weeks ago. And before the bye week, the Trojans were physically abused by Boston College, getting outgained 452-20 on the ground.

25. Stanford 2-1
Last Week: Idle
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Cardinal has played well enough to be unbeaten, losing a three-point game to USC that it should have won. The trademark D hasn’t skipped a beat following a spate of graduations, allowing 13 points in the first three games.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Stanford may have outplayed USC two weeks ago, but it couldn’t seal the deal when it had chances. To add insult to injury for the Cardinal, the Trojans got manhandled a week later in a loss to unranked Boston College.

26. Arizona State 3-0
27. West Virginia 2-2
28. UCLA 3-0
29. Georgia Tech 4-0
30. Virginia Tech 2-2

31. Wisconsin 2-1
32. Florida 2-1
33. Tennessee 2-1
34. Arizona 4-0
35. California 2-1
36. Kentucky 2-1
37. Virginia 2-2
38. Louisville 3-1
39. Maryland 3-1
40. Washington 4-0

41. Nevada 2-1
42. Washington State 1-3
43. Utah 3-0
44. Iowa State 1-2
45. Iowa 3-1
46. Miami 2-2
47. Pittsburgh 3-1
48. TCU 2-0
49. Boise State 3-1
50. Michigan 2-2

51. Penn State 4-0
52. Texas Tech 2-1
53. Illinois 3-1
54. Memphis 2-1
55. Western Kentucky 1-2
56. Bowling Green 2-2
57. Indiana 2-1
58. Missouri 3-1
59. Oregon State 3-0
60. UCF 1-3

61. Texas 1-2
62. Duke 4-0
63. Cincinnati 2-0
64. North Carolina 2-1
65. Rutgers 3-1
66. Navy 2-2
67. Syracuse 2-1
68. NC State 4-0
69. Marshall 4-0
70. Minnesota 3-1

71. Northern Illinois 3-1
72. Colorado State 2-1
73. Toledo 2-2
74. San Diego State 1-2
75. Middle Tennessee 2-2
76. Northwestern 1-2
77. UTEP 2-1
78. Louisiana Tech 2-2
79. Fresno State 1-3
80. North Texas 2-2

81. Temple 2-1
82. Colorado 2-2
83. Vanderbilt 1-3
84. South Florida 2-2
85. Georgia Southern 2-2
86. UTSA 1-2
87. UAB 2-1
88. Army 1-2
89. San Jose State 1-2
90. Central Michigan 2-2

91. Purdue 2-2
92. Houston 2-2
93. Arkansas State 2-2
94. Wake Forest 2-2
95. Utah State 2-2
96. Air Force 2-1
97. Old Dominion 3-1
98. UNLV 1-3
99. Akron 1-2
100. Western Michigan 2-1

101. Wyoming 3-1
102. Rice 0-3
103. Ball State 1-3
104. Connecticut 1-3
105. Ohio 2-2
106. Kansas 2-1
107. Buffalo 2-2
108. ULM 2-1
109. Texas State 1-2
110. South Alabama 1-2

111. Florida Atlantic1-3
112. Tulsa 1-2
113. Tulane 1-3
114. UL Lafayette 1-3
115. New Mexico 1-2
116. Hawaii 1-3
117. Southern Miss 2-2
118. Appalachian State 1-2
119. Massachusetts 0-4
120. Miami Univ. 0-4

121. Kent State 0-3
122. SMU 0-3
123. Florida International 1-3
124. New Mexico State 2-2
125. Georgia State 1-2
126. Idaho 0-3
127. Troy 0-4
128. Eastern Michigan 1-3


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