Week 4 Winners and Losers: Is it safe to say Florida State is back?


Florida State: Are the Seminoles finally back? I'd temper those expectations just a bit (it is only the fourth week of the season), but man they sure looked good against a Clemson team that came to play. Florida State doesn't have a lot of tests on its schedule, but beating Clemson was a huge hurdle both mentally and in the race for the national title.

MAC: Our midweek #MACtion games might be pretty good this season. The conference did well on Saturday, highlighted by Central Michigan beating Iowa. Western Michigan beat UConn, Northern Illinois beat Kansas, Eastern Michigan led 7-3 at the half at Michigan State (oh, Big Ten) and put up a good fight in a 23-7 loss, and Ball State beat South Florida among the other notable results from the conference.

That's a pretty good day for a conference that doesn't often get a lot of attention.

Stefphon Jefferson:

Nevada's junior running back led the Wolf Pack with 246 total yards and seven touchdowns in a 69-24 romp over Hawaii. Jefferson has rushed for at least 135 yards in every game this season (170 against Hawaii) and now has 11 rushing touchdowns this season.

Oregon State: Even though many were looking at UCLA as the Pac-12's surprise team this season, Oregon State might have an issue with that. The Beavers beat the Bruins 27-20 and definitely raised some eyebrows across the country. The Beavers' reward for such a stellar win? In-N-Out.

Colorado: There are few coaches in this league that needed a win more than Jon Embree and the 35-34 come-from-behind triumph over Washington State couldn't have come at a better time. The win also snaps a 13-game personal losing streak for quarterback Jordan Webb, who lost his last 10 starts as Kansas' QB before transferring to Boulder.

Geno Smith: We can't hand out the Heisman in September, but barring an injury, it's tough to see how someone will beat Smith.

Smith, West Virginia's stellar quarterback, went 30 for 43 — ruining the 88 completion percentage he had before Saturday — for 338 yards and three touchdowns. He now has 12 touchdowns and no interceptions on the season, and West Virginia is 3-0. It's not that Smith's numbers are so good already that he can't be caught, it's that he clearly looks like the best player in college football, and there's no reason to believe that won't continue.

[Also: E.J. Manuel keeps Florida State in national title conversation]

The unlikely undefeateds: It's hard to go through the first four weeks of the season undefeated and even harder if no one thought you were good enough to do it. So, this is an official shout out to Minnesota, Baylor, Northwestern, Rutgers, Louisville, Oregon State, Stanford, Notre Dame, Texas-San Antonio and Louisiana Tech. Keep on keepin' on! And don't get too comfortable, conference play (for all non-Pac-12 teams) is on the horizon.


Arizona's red zone offense: Six trips into the red zone and no points. I'm not sure I've ever seen that before, but the Wildcats made it happen and set all the progress they made this season back a couple decades. Arizona was humiliated 49-0 by Oregon in what was supposed to be a great offensive matchup. Instead, it turned into an Arizona turnover fest.

Missouri: There's no shame in losing on the road in the SEC, but we expected to see a little more fight out of the Tigers this week at South Carolina. When Missouri stalled in the red zone late in the second quarter, had to settle for a field goal, and then gave up a 50-yard kickoff return to Bruce Ellington that led to a touchdown before the half, that was it for the Tigers. The offense couldn't move the ball, even with quarterback James Franklin back, and the defense was overmatched against Connor Shaw, who completed 20 passes in a row. Missouri is 0-2 in the SEC now, and perhaps the Big 12 doesn't sound so bad anymore.

Montee Ball: It was a tough day — hell, it's been a tough season — for Ball, the Wisconsin running back who lost his first career fumble in more than 600 carries. Not only that, but UTEP knocked him around quite a bit. So much so, that following a vicious hit during a touchdown run, Ball had to leave the game for good.


It was easy to get excited about UCLA after three weeks. The Bruins had an impressive win against Nebraska and handled their business against Rice and Houston. All hail Jim Mora.

That didn't last long. Oregon State came to the Rose Bowl on Saturday and played very well in a 27-20 win over UCLA. Perhaps the real story isn't UCLA pulling the rug out from under us, it is Oregon State's rebound from last season. Oregon State's defense was fantastic in a win against Wisconsin two weeks ago, then repeated that feat against the Bruins. The Beavers were 3-9 last year with a loss to Sacramento State, but they look like a tough out in the Pac-12 this year.

LSU: It's hard to believe LSU could beat Auburn and still be considered losers, but that might be the case when the polls come out Sunday. The Tigers were less than impressive in their 12-10 victory and could lose that coveted No. 2 ranking to Florida State or Oregon come Sunday afternoon. (Ed. note: They did.)

Oklahoma: The Sooners were 14-0 at home against ranked teams coming into Saturday's game against No. 15 Kansas State, but this Oklahoma team is not on par with those others. The Wildcats upset the Sooners 24-19 and basically demolished any hope of an Oklahoma national championship berth. This is the second consecutive season Oklahoma has come in highly ranked only to let everyone down. At what point do the Sooners assume Florida State's old status?

Frank Schwab contributed to this post

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