Ranking college football teams is always tough in the middle of the season, but with four weeks of action in the books for 2021, voters at CBS Sports 130 – our full ranking of every FBS team – decided it was time to stop clinging to our preseason expectations.
It’s time to stop clinging to what we think teams like Clemson, North Carolina, Iowa State and Wisconsin would be in 2021 and assess the teams we’ve seen based on how well we’ve been. witnesses in three or four games. It’s also time to accept that some teams that were overlooked and underrated in the preseason might not only be better than expected, but some of the best in the country.
No team fits this bill better than Arkansas, who beat both Texas and Texas A&M in double digits when they started 4-0 and now find themselves at No.5 on CBS Sports 130. The Razorbacks are one of the top 11 teams. 25 of our rankings for making moves five or more spots after the action in Week 4, jumping 11 spots to land just behind Penn State at No.4 and a spot ahead of Iowa at No.5. also saw our constituents embrace major moves for Wake Forest, Boston College, Baylor and Oklahoma State, as losses (or lack thereof) become an even bigger factor in evaluating teams as we move through the season.
Not all moves were positive as Oklahoma fell five spots to No.9 after a narrow victory over West Virginia, and Texas A&M is down 10 spots to No.17 after the loss to Arkansas . But those adjustments in the standings don’t quite resonate like seeing Clemson drop to No.29 after his double overtime loss to NC State. The Tigers were up where Arkansas is now at No.5 just two weeks ago, but a narrow win over Georgia Tech and loss to the Wolfpack allowed our voters to sell stocks quickly.
Bigger steps have been taken in terms of seat counts – and we cover a few below in the mover’s report below – but nothing upsets the status quo like having to turn to the second page of the ranking to find a The Clemson program that will likely see its six-year streak of college football playoff appearances end here in 2021.
College football experts at CBS Sports and 247Sports contribute weekly ballots, which are averaged for our rankings. You can see the top 25 below and the 26-130 on our rankings page.
The biggest movers
- N ° 21 Baylor (+26): This team was at # 56 two weeks ago! A loose schedule early in the season left many in doubt about the Bears’ undefeated start, but more after beating Iowa State in a thriller on Saturday.
- N ° 33 UTSA (+20): Jeff Traylor has been moving UTSA in the right direction for two years now and it has paid off with a team that can fight a deficit like against Memphis and beat the Tigers for a non-conference victory.
- No. 19 Texas (+17): While Week 4 was mostly defined by the last straw for preseason darlings and welcoming new picture contenders, Texas has already seen the rapid fall and now the rebound. Raising the score on Texas Tech helps, but Arkansas’ success arguably helps even more when it comes to how our voters view the Longhorns.
- N ° 28 NC State (+16): The magnetic pull of an upheaval will bring down the frontrunner and propel the winners up the rankings of voters who enjoy head-to-head results. NC State has been one of the Top 30 teams for most of the season in standings, but a poor performance at Mississippi State clouded the team’s assessment and hurt its standings.
- # 24 State of Oklahoma (+15): The changing landscape of the Big 12 includes two big weeks for Baylor and two big weeks for Mike Gundy’s Cowboys. Oklahoma State was at No.50 two weeks ago, but going on the road to beat Boise State and handle Kansas State is enough to climb into the 1920s.
- N ° 29 Clemson (-18): The unknown is whether this is the bottom or if it will get worse. Star defensive tackle Bryan Bresee suffered an ACL tear and running back Will Shipley has a knee injury that will see him miss for at least a few weeks. Clemson can still win the ACC, and that will be Dabo Swinney’s message to a proud program, but it’s not even a lock for the six-time league champions now that they have a head-to-head loss to a good divisional rival in NC State.
- # 40 North Carolina (-19): This is the fourth time since the start of the 2020 season that North Carolina has hit the road as favorites against an ACC opponent and allowed the mistakes to escalate in a life-shattering loss that took their national standings down. . Like Clemson, North Carolina need to refocus and reset now that preseason expectations are likely out of reach. Unlike Clemson, the Tar Heels must do it with two conference losses instead of one.
- # 38 Wisconsin (-21): The best win on Wisconsin’s calendar is a dominating win over Eastern Michigan. There simply won’t be a rebound for the Badgers until they start racking up several Big Ten wins.
- No. 39 State of Iowa (-24): The contest against Baylor was tight and exciting enough that there probably weren’t 18 teams between the Cyclones and Bears, but it remains to be seen whether our voters are too high on Baylor or too low on the State of the ‘Iowa in overreaction.
Check out the rest of CBS Sports 130: Teams ranked 26-130