No. 17 Washington (+5)
The Huskies’ win in Provo was impressive for the team’s first road trip, but it wasn’t the main catalyst in their upshot in the rankings. Six teams ahead of the Dawgs lost this past week, paving the road for them to enter the top 20 once again. Another big test for this UW team awaits with its first ranked matchup of the season, hosting an up-and-down USC team that has yet to win a game on the road.
No. 8 Wisconsin (+5)
The Badgers had a tough task going against higher-ranked Michigan. They did not run from it, in fact, they ran through it. Wisconsin has really found its identity as a power-running team and got just the running back to do so in Jonathan Taylor, who totaled 203 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. There are still a few heavy hitters remaining on Wisconsin’s schedule, but it has firmly grounded itself in talks for the Big Ten Championship and a berth in the College Football Playoff.
No. 14 Iowa (+4)
Looks like the Hawkeyes got the College Gameday bump after taking down the cross-state rival Cyclones in an 18-17 rock fight. While Iowa State may not be as formidable as believed to be entering the season, it’s still a quality road win for Iowa. This team will have its hands full once conference play gets rolling, but it does miss Ohio State, which may be nice in its fight with Wisconsin to represent the West in the Big Ten Championship Game.
No. 15 California (+8)
While the start of the season for the Golden Bears hasn’t featured any electric performances, they are undefeated and beat both Washington and Ole Miss on the road. Ole Miss may not be the cream of the crop, but it is still a middling team in the SEC, which will hopefully garner some more respect for the Pac-12. Quarterback Chase Garbers has been good for Cal, but the real story has been its defense and Evan Weaver, who leads the nation in tackles with 62 through four games.
No. 20 Michigan (-9)
The Wolverines have been given the benefit of the doubt for way too long, and this last week’s performance was just another black mark on Jim Harbaugh’s tenure in Ann Arbor. This was supposed to be the year that the Maize and Blue finally cracked the CFP, but they’re going to have to be perfect from here on out, and I think that’s too much to ask of this program considering it hasn’t beaten Ohio State since 2011.
No. 22 UCF (-7)
The mid-major powerhouse has finally fallen. After 28 straight regular season wins, UCF got knocked off by Pitt in an absolute thriller. Regardless, this program has shown that it’s legit and can still be a nationally competitive team much like we’ve seen with Boise State after it’s electric run in the late 2000s. We know one thing for sure, there won’t be any controversy of them missing out on the playoff come the end of the season.
Washington State (Dropped Out)
Things were looking good for the Cougars late Saturday night in Pullman; they had the winless Bruins on the ropes, up 49-17 and Anthony Gordon had just thrown his seventh touchdown pass of the game. Then, WSU allowed 50 points in the final quarter and a half. Fifty. Six turnovers did not help contribute to a win either, so it's hard to blame the implosion entirely on the defense.
Reach reporter Josh Eddy at email@example.com. Twitter: @JoshTreEddy
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