Through four weeks of the college football season, bowl favorites are beginning to take shape. We are starting to weed out the pretenders from the contenders. Here at AVS, we are letting you know our top 25 grades through 4 weeks of football.
The Crimson Tide are having a good year so far. However, it is not the year everyone was expecting. They were heavy favorites coming into this year to go for an unprecedented third straight national title. Bama beat a Virginia Tech team before it began to hit it’s stride this week against Georgia Tech on Thursday night. The defense got schooled by Mike Evans, Johnny Manziel, and the Texas A&M offense. The defense is no longer THE defense in the nation. The team hasn’t played up to par. Nevertheless, this team is still the number one team in the nation until proven otherwise.
There is not much more Marcus Mariota and this Oregon team team to prove they are a contender this year. The defense is only giving up 9 PPG and the offense is scoring 61 PPG. I think the avg margin of victory of 52+ points is enough to show the country that this team is for real.
There were high expectations for this Clemson Tigers team this year. Starting off the season with a huge win at home vs Georgia on the national spotlight has put a huge target on this team’s back. Clemson is one of the teams who needs to keep winning to keep the perception of the ACC as a whole growing. A Clemson loss would kill the perception of the ACC. This team avoided “pulling a Clemson” on the road @ NC State, but there are a few more obstacles on this schedule.
4. Ohio State
Ohio State has been good so far this year, but has been far from perfect. Braxton Miller was injured and the team managed to play well in his absence. In the Big 10, there aren’t many teams to compete with this Buckeyes team. The biggest test will come this weekend vs. Wisconsin. The Big 10 is down and Ohio State is the only hope for the Big 10 to make a mark on the NCAA this year.
The Cardinal is set up for a another good season. I view this team as an Alabama of the West Coast. A consistently solid team that plays tough football. They control the ball, play defense, and have a QB that can make plays when necessary. They are continuing to show they are a quietly good team.
One more year in this offense and Zach Mettenberger has shown he is finally more than just a game manager. The defense is very good as usual. The improved QB play is really the reason I am an LSU believer this year.
Louisville has an extremely easy schedule. This team needs to win convincingly to keep themselves relevant. They will not have any huge matchups playing in the AAC, so they cannot trip up at all. So far, this team is doing all it can to show people it is for real. Teddy Bridgewater has looked like the real deal and will continue to keep it up. This grade is solely based on the fact that they are beating teams they should, handidly.
8. Florida State
Florida State and Clemson seem to be the class of the ACC right now. Starting freshman star, Jameis Winston, the Noles are turning heads nationally, and it was only a matter of time. Winston has shown he is the real deal coming out of high school and can live up to the hype. They should be undefeated heading into Death Valley, South Carolina, bringing about a clash of top 10 teams. The winner of that game will be in the ACC drivers seat and will stay relevant in the National Title conversation.
The Bulldogs have had a solid start to the season. A win against South Carolina helps to heal the sting of the loss to Clemson to open the year. If Gurley wasn’t hobbled during that Clemson game, I believe this team could still be undefeated. Aaron Murray is one of the best QBs in the nation and the win against the Gamecocks has shown he can beat a top team. Gurley and Marshall are the best RB tandem in the nation. This team will continue to get stronger and is still my pick to win the SEC.
10. Texas A&M
The Aggies are a good team, but after watching so far I haven’t been that impressed. Johnny Football is a collegiate stud, and there is no denying that. However, the rest of the team is lacking. The defense gave up almost 50 points to an Alabama offense that I don’t think is THAT great. Mike Evans is the best receiver in the nation no one is talking about. This team will go as far as Johnny Football will take them. The good thing for the Aggies is that with Johnny, the sky’s the limit.
11. Oklahoma State
OK State has a great offense. I am very curious what this team will do once Big 12 play really gets underway. I don’t know if they are as good as they are on paper. We’ll see if this offense can carry this team to a Big 12 championship in a down year for the conference.
12. South Carolina
The loss to Georgia is a killer for the Gamecocks. South Carolina doesn’t have another real test until they play Florida in November. This team will be a top 10 team by the time the Florida and Clemson games roll around. The biggest snag for this team will be hoping Georgia drops two regular season games to sneak by them for a shot at the SEC championship. Looks like they will be playing for an at-large bid in a BCS bowl.
The Bruins are one of the surprises of the college football season thus far. Brett Hundley played well last year as a freshman and he is stepping up this year. The only thing that will hurt the Bruins is a rough stretch of going on the road in back to back games to face Stanford and Oregon. If they can win one of those games, this team can push for a BCS berth.
Oklahoma shows off one of the top defenses in the nation in one of the worst “major” conferences in the NCAA. This is a running team in the biggest passing conference in the nation. Big test on the road this week @ Notre Dame. It Will be intriguing to see how that game pans out.
The Hurricanes are back. Al Golden has shown why he is in the early running for national coach of the year. Duke Johnson is one of the best RBs in the nation. Stephen Morris is making a claim to be the number 1 QB taken in next year’s draft. The team is aiding in the ACCs rise back to national relevance. I am excited to see how this team finishes out the year.
Another team out of the PAC 12 that is turning heads. A thrashing of a ranked Boise State team had people taking notice. Keith Price has thrown for almost 900 yards and has a 7:1 TD:INT ratio. This team is the real deal and I’m not sure people have caught on yet.
I predicted this team to make some noise in the Big 10 this year. Through four weeks it looks like I was pretty spot on. The next game is a big one for this team. They host Ohio State. This Wildcats team has two weeks to prepare for the best team in the Big 10. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an upset here and then make a push at the Big 10 title.
Michigan has become one of my least favorite teams in the NCAA this year. This team is grossly overrated in a conference that isn’t that great. They had to squeak out back-to-back wins over Akron and Connecticut. Let me tell you though, if you have to sneak out wins against those two opponents I don’t think you should be a top 20 team. Devin Gardner and Fitz Touissant have been underwhelming. In the end, they are 4-0.
I am a huge Baylor Bears supporter this year. This offense can put up points with anyone. Playing in a weak conference will allow them to rack up wins. The defense is ranked 2nd in points against per game. Bryce Petty has 1000 yards and 8 TDs through three games and my preseason player to watch, Lache Seastrunk, has 400+ yards and 6 TDs.
The Gators have lost Jeff Driskel for the year. The good thing is that it won’t matter much. This team wins on its defense and they will go as far as the defense will carry them. A loss to Miami will hurt and another OOC game vs FSU won’t be kind either. They also get Georgia, South Carolina, and LSU. A brutal schedule to survive through. Good luck Gators.
21. Ole Miss
The Rebels have a big game this week vs Alabama. Ole Miss is playing very well right now, better then most people expected. It is a young and talented team. I think they are playing very well right now, but as these games become more important I think the youth will be too much to overcome. Grade for the season will be lower, but grade thus far…
22. Notre Dame
I am very curious how this team is still a top 25 team. The Irish beat an awful Purdue team by 7 and beat an embarassingly bad offensive Michigan State team by only 4. They lost to a horrific Michigan team and beat up on Temple. There is nothing there to show me that they should be rated over a few teams that are just missing the top 25. A big win this weekend vs Oklahoma will shut this AVS writer up.
This Wisconsin team is one horrific refereeing job away from being 4-0. If they can beat Ohio State this weekend I think this team can do some serious damage. A Big 10 championship and maybe even a BCS run is could be in the picture
24. Texas Tech
Freshman phenom, Baker Mayfield, is bringing this team to the spotlight. In a conference that is completely up in the air, who knows if this freshman QB can bring this team to a BCS game?
25. Fresno State
A prolific passing offense and an awful defense. This team is a big fish in the small conference pond. This team will most likely go undefeated. However, it will not impress enough to get this team into a big game. If they do get into a BCS game against a top school, don’t expect the Bulldogs to be the BCS busting, Boise St Broncos, from a few years back.