College football rankings: Ohio State jumps in Alabama, Michigan State continues to slide in CBS Sports 131

Ohio State makes a strong case to be ranked as the best team in the country. After a dominant win over Wisconsin in Week 4, the Buckeyes have now jumped over Alabama for second place on CBS Sports 131, our overall ranking of every FBS college football team.

We’ve only released five issues of CBS Sports 131 this season, and this latest update marks the fourth different batch for the top three in Georgia, Ohio, and Alabama. This battle for supremacy will eventually be decided on the pitch, and we have a long way to go before we can get those hypothetical matches, but in these rankings we see how pre-season expectations are erased and replaced by a judgment on every team. You have accomplished up to this point in the season.

Ditching pre-season predictions is a topic for ranking college football teams as October approaches, and it can make the process difficult for voters and also provide some quick adjustments. Some teams advance in the rankings after a Proof of It win while others may see a significant drop after another week of failing to perform to the top rating level before the season.

One great example of this shifting focus is the fallout from Minnesota’s victory in Michigan. The Golden Gophers were slowly climbing the rankings with dominant victories as the favorite, but it took the Spartans’ defeat in East Lansing, Michigan, to truly capture the voters’ attention. Now 4-0, Minnesota sits in the top 15, while Michigan State, the team that started the year in our top 20 and peaked at 14, has slipped outside the top 50 as two straight losses revealed a shape that is far from pre-season expectations. The Proof of It win gave Minnesota the boost it needed, and until Michigan State starts boosting its profile, it will find itself navigating up and down the crowded middle tier of our 131-team rankings.

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One team that suddenly needs “win-win” after week four is Oklahoma. On paper, the Sooners look like one of the best teams in the country, and they flexed their muscles against most of the competition before Saturday’s loss to Kansas State. But now Oklahoma stands as a losing team with its only wins in UTEP, Kent State and Nebraska, so it’s worth debating whether the Brent Venables group deserves to be ahead of other unbeaten teams—like the Kansas, which are 4-0 with better wins. Meanwhile, Kansas State saw its shares plummet after losing to Tulane, but it’s now one of the biggest risers this week, climbing 18 spots to 25, following a win in Norman, Oklahoma.

For more information on the biggest week-to-week adjustments on CBS Spots 131, check out the mover report below the Top 25 table.

College football experts from CBS Sports and 247Sports contribute their votes each week, which are averaged together for our rankings. You can see the top 25 below and 26-131 on our ranking page.

1 Georgia 4-0 1
2 Ohio State 4-0 3
3 Alabama 4-0 2
4 Michigan 4-0 4
5 USC 4-0 6
6 Clemson 4-0 7
7 Tennessee 4-0 11
8 Oklahoma 3-0 9
9 Pennsylvania state 4-0 10
10 Kentucky 4-0 8
11 North Carolina 4-0 13
12 Washington 4-0 17
13 Ole Miss 4-0 14
14 Minnesota 4-0 26
15th Utah 3-1 15th
16 Oregon 3-1 16
17 Baylor 3-1 19
18 Oklahoma 3-1 5
19 Florida 4-0 27
20 Texas A&M 3-1 22
21 BYU 3-1 18
22 Arkansas 3-1 12
23 kansas 4-0 30
24 Wake Forest 3-1 21
25 Kansas State 3-1 43

Biggest movers

  • No. 50 James Madison (+32): No single outcome seems to carry as much weight with our voters as JMU that went to Boone, North Carolina, and wiped out Appalachian State. The Dukes have been beating opponents during three weeks of the season but haven’t been tested against Sunbelt’s best team yet. After 28-3, JMU climbed an epic comeback that produced a rise of more than twenty places in the world rankings.
  • No. 25 Kansas (+18): The Wildcats are a strange team to rate, with wins against Missouri and Oklahoma but also a loss for Tulane. More wins will help erase the weight of the loss on the green wave, but for now we see the benefits of a solid boost in the top 25.
  • No. 14 Minnesota (+12): The level of competition doesn’t seem to matter because Minnesota have been ruthlessly effective on both sides of the ball during four weeks with the focus now on a shot at the Big Ten West title three years after that effort emerged.
  • No. 18 Oklahoma (-13): As mentioned above, Oklahoma has mostly looked good and will see chances to bounce back in the rankings. At the moment, the profile is lacking for high-quality gain.
  • No. 51 Michigan State (-17): That’s now 37 touchdown points over a two-week period as the Spartans sit 2-2 with a 0-2 record against the Power Five contest.
  • No. 38 Texas (-18): Losing to Alabama, especially by a narrow margin, wouldn’t hurt your rankings that much. But when an extra loss to Texas Tech is added to the equation and the only victories were against the ULM and UTSA, it becomes difficult to count the Longhorns in the top 30.
  • No. 56 Miami (-27): An expected drop here for Mario Cristobal’s group after Middle Tennessee’s win in a 45-31 win wasn’t close. The Hurricanes slipped 24-3 in the early stages of the second quarter, and although the attack found some life in the second half, the margin was no closer than 14 during the comeback attempt.
  • No. 54 Appalachian State (-30): The win over Texas A&M and the momentum from Hail Mary’s victory against Troy over the Mountaineers helped them climb up to 24, but Week 4 produced two-part bad news in terms of ratings. At first it was the actual loss to JMU, a team that was outside the top 70, then North Carolina was also defeated by Notre Dame while taking some shine away from that close loss in the season opener.

Check out the rest of CBS Sports 131: Team Ranking 26-131

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