Joe's 2023 Week 4 Top 25

Damn... this stuff is hard y'all! How do you even pick a number one after a chaotic mess of a week like this one? As tempting as it was to make this earlier I committed to only making a top-25 after the conclusion of week 3. So, without further ado, let's get to it:

Top 25:

01. Washington (3-0) P12 - I just know I'm going to get a lot of crap here saying I'm a homer and UW is not the #1 team in the country but here it is. And look... I've been pouring over the top 15 teams for 4 hours now ever since the Huskies game ended and I can't point to another team among the top 15 that's done better. And let me caveat this by saying I don't personally feel like we are the #1 team in the country but I am trying to be as objective as possible with these rankings so setting my personal opinion about the Huskies aside let me lay this out for you and you can all feel free to give your counter-points. UW has played 3 FBS opponents which half of the top 15 have chosen not to do. UW has made every single one of those teams look like an FCS team. With 2-4 starters out in every game they've managed to end the game by the 3rd quarter, play their backups, and still score and get stops with their backups. They have the most unstoppable offense in the country (yes, better than USC albeit less balanced). They can have an absolutely terrible half of football and still score 22 points like they did against Tulsa. The defense actually looks very stout. The offensive line is protecting as well as it did last year. And the offense is stupid good. They scheme guys wide open on every play. It's actually insane to watch them get defenses so confused that they just drop coverages constantly. When one of the other teams that I expect to actually be #1 caliber finally wake up I will bump the Huskies back down. But right now they're the only team that looks like they want it. By the way don't look now but Bill Connelly just dropped UW as his #1 seed in the playoffs: Welcome to the Husky Hype Train. Next stop: Husky Stadium vs. Cal.

02. USC (3-0) P12 - USC has the talent to be #1, the coaching to be #1, and the results to be #1... But the problem is they can't protect Caleb Williams all that well against vastly inferior opponents' pass rushes and their defense shows all the signs of being the exact same as last year.

03. Georgia (3-0) SEC - When are these guys going to wake up? They've slept walked the 1st half of all three games. They easily could have been down 21-3 at half instead of 14-3 at half against South Carolina and that game looks VERY different if they are. This isn't the Georgia of the last 2 years. Typically you would defer to them as the #1 team until someone can prove otherwise but they seem like they don't want it anymore.

04. Ohio State (3-0) B10 - Another team with all the talent in the world that seems incapable of getting out of its own way. Raise your hand if you had Marvin Harrison at just 14 receptions through 3 games. Nobody? Exactly. The offense has been a massive disappointment in Columbus thus far and it had better improve immediately because they play at Notre Dame next weekend.

05. Notre Dame (4-0) IND - No one has really given them a challenge yet so we're going to learn a lot next weekend when they host Ohio State. They appear for real but today they struggled for much of the first half. The road win at NC State is going to be a quality win by end of season.

We're gonna pause here and note something - Who the heck do you think deserves to be 6th from here? And what have you seen from any of these next teams to warrant being above any of the top 5? I can't find anyone and believe me I've tried.

06. Oklahoma (3-0) B12 - Last year started out exactly the same way with massive blowouts of 3 overmatch teams so it warrants a little bit of caution before declaring Oklahoma back. However, the Big-12 looks weaker this year than last so it's unlikely to see a repeat of the 2022 Sooner tank job. Right now they've done everything expected of a top 10 team against their schedule - Dominate.

07. Florida State (3-0) ACC - They REAAAAAALLY should have lost today. If your opponent commits 19 penalties (18 accepted) for 131 yards, many of which killed scoring drives, and they still managed to out-possess you by 7 minutes, outgain you by over 115 yards, and beat you by 1 in turnover margin - You got lucky. The win against LSU holds them here (and I do think LSU is a top 25 team) over others.

08. Michigan (3-0) B10 - I'm just going to say it outright that I am punishing some teams for having abysmal scheduling and Michigan is one of them. If you're going to have zero P5 non-conference games you'd better blow some teams out. Much like Ohio State, these guys seem to be allergic to offense right now. Let's see how they play with Harbaugh back next week against 3-0 (?!) Rutgers who already has 3 FBS wins with 2 being power-5 opponents.

09. Penn State (3-0) B10 - It's always funny reading the ESPN game recaps and then trying to square that away with what I saw on the broadcast. If you believe ESPN - Penn State breezed to an easy victory at Illinois that was never in doubt and never close. In reality that game was 13-7 with 2:00 left in the 2nd, 16-7 at halftime, and remained 16-7 until almost the end of the 3rd quarter. Illinois had FIVE turnovers and it looked like their quarterback was playing for the other team. If you're a top tier team you should be pulling away from a team much quicker and easier when you have a +5 T/O margin. It's really unfortunate that Michigan, Penn State, and Ohio State are all three going to cruise through their Big-10 schedules and only truly be tested by each other because I have serious doubts over the strength of this trio. Ohio State at Notre Dame is our only real touch point on the strength of the Big-10. For now, consider Penn State to be Michigan-lite.

10. Duke (3-0) ACC - Duke started the year off with a bang by taking down Clemson 28-7 at home. But Clemson is no longer Clemson so we still don't know what we can draw from that. They're cruising and look like a solid team and that earns them a nod into the top 10.

11. O****n (3-0) P12 - We all watched that Texas Tech game, right? It doesn't matter how much the D**ks blew out Portland State or Hawaii by - They should have lost the game at TTU. There are glaring concerns on the defensive side and the offense isn't the juggernaught that their fans would have you believe. Coaching also remains a problem. Lanning is making a habit out of going for it on 4th and 1 and failing. If Texas Tech wasn't dumb enough to counter with a 4th and 2 faceplant from their own 33 (while LEADING no less) we might be looking at a 2-1 team right now. All coaches/players will need to get better in all phases if these fowls are to have a chance at winning the conference.

12. Texas (3-0) B12 - I was SO ready to put Texas in the top 4 but then they had to go and be tied with Wyoming 10-10 entering the 4th quarter. This team has top 5 talent and should compete with the likes of Georgia, Ohio State, and Alabama annually. Saturday was a shining example of what I have always said about Sarkisian - His teams play to the level of their opponents. It's going to take a few weeks to wash away the stink of what we saw in that game. If Texas can fix their offense they'll rise up these rankings fast.

13. Utah (3-0) P12 - Utah fans love to tell everyone that they like to win low scoring, close games. That's nonsense. They just lack the abililty to really put teams away. They were fortunate to escape Baylor with a win but the Florida win is looking a little better today. This will be a team that gets mired in the 8-18 range of the rankings all year.

14. Oregon State (3-0) P12 - There's reason to worry about the improvement on offense after San Diego State held them to just 26 points but the Beavers' defense looks strong. They play in Pullman next week in a game that will probably decide 5th place in the conference this year.

15. Washington State (3-0) P12 - Beating Wisconsin at home isn't looking like the mega-result that the Cuogs wanted it to be after Wiscy struggled this week against Georgia Southern. But they've looked like a strong team in all three of their games thus far. The Cuogs will be a dangerous out all season and we're lucky we get them at home for the (final?) Apple Cup. They play host to Oregon State next weekend. That'll be a fun one.

16. LSU (2-1) SEC - Holy crap I have a couple 1-loss SEC teams in my top 20?! Yes... They're still good teams even with their week 1 losses. LSU had a lot of injuries (and I believe a suspension) entering that FSU game but kept it respectable until the 3rd quarter when FSU just cruised away with three straight short field possessions (57, 57, and 54 yards).

17. Florida (2-1) SEC - A road load at Utah to open the season isn't too bad. That's a tough place to play and no one expected much out of Florida. But then they beat Tennessee at home and made Tennessee look like the team no one should expect much from.

18. UCLA (3-0) P12 - Not much to say about them yet. They've played nobody and their QB situation is... odd. They might lose the next 3 as they play @Utah, vs. WSU, and @OSU. That's a brutal stretch. Escape that 1-2 or 2-1 and they should be happy. By the way their non-conference schedule is an embarassment but it's like a carbon copy of Michigan's strategy so I guess they already fit with the Big-10 philosophy.

19. North Carolina (3-0) ACC - I'm expecting them to be the 3rd or 4th best team in the ACC which isn't saying much this year. They only beat Appalachian State by 6 points at home but they've also beat South Carolina and Minnesota so that's enough of a resume right now to get a top 25 nod.

20. Auburn (3-0) SEC - Not sure if Auburn is good enough to stay here but in a season where only 5 SEC teams remain undefeated through three weeks they certainly look like they can make some noise in the SEC West. Check out this upcoming schedule though (with no byes in it) - @Texas A&M, vs. Georgia, @LSU, vs. Ole Miss. In a down year for the SEC they've got a shot to pull off an upset and establish themselves in the pecking order.

21. Fresno State (3-0) MWC - The Bulldogs boast road wins at Purdue and Arizona State which makes for a very strong resume this early in the season for a GO5 school. Winning at ASU isn't easy to do (just ask any Husky fan) and not only did they win but they shut them out. Keep an eye on Fresno State as a potential major bowl team.

22. Rutgers (3-0) B10 - As mentioned above they have 3 FBS wins and 2 of those Power 5. These bottom 5 or so spots are all musical chairs of 3-0 teams but Rutgers gets the nod for winning all of their games pretty easily thus far. They play at Michigan next. If they're for real they'll make a game of it.

23. Kentucky (3-0) SEC - Haven't played anybody but they look pretty good. They were a lot stronger than people realized last season and have carried a lot of that success into this year.

24. Miami (3-0) ACC - Is Miami for real? That remains to be seen. The ACC is weak enough that they can win it but they'll need to get past road contests against UNC and FSU to get there. They're dispatching with all of their lower tier opponents pretty easily and had a strong 48-33 win at home against Texas A&M.

25. Every other 3-0 team - Just take your pick, ya? Let's call it Missouri.

Okay let's talk about Colorado... I get why everyone is jumping on the hype train but this is not a top 25 quality team. Their stats show that their defense is bad. They hand out sacks to opposing defenses like they're FEMA. The one quality they have that most top 25 teams don't is swagger. But swagger only gets you so far. On paper they should lose 6 games minimum in Pac-12 play. I'm guessing they only lose 5 though.

You will also notice that Alabama didn't make the cut. If you question that I'll just say - Have you watched their offense "play"?

If you don't see a team listed here that's 3-0 or 2-1 and you think they deserve to be ranked - I get it. This is going to be a messy, messy college football season but it should make for a lot of entertaining games. Buckle up!