One of the familiar tropes coming into Week 4 was that it was a generally weak slate of games and that there wouldn't be much action. That generally held true over the course of the day, especially for the big boys; the highest-ranked team to lose was No. 23 Arizona State, who had the unlucky task of traveling to No. 5 Stanford. Similarly, the next-best team going down was Michigan State (No. 26, if you will, in the AP and No. 24 in the Coaches Poll), and the Spartans also had the rare ranked away game, with a trip to No. 22 Notre Dame.
Past that, there was a lot of interesting moving and shaking, and we should see a significantly clearer picture in the BCS computer rankings after this week.
You'll remember that after Week 3, there were 45 teams that got votes from someone — Coaches Poll voters, say, or a wayward computer poll. That will not be the case after this week. Expect to see a much shorter list of Top 25s from both the human voters and computer polls, because the scene directly below the Top 25 was a bloodbath. Only six of the lower 20 teams picked up wins against FBS competition, and eight of them took Ls. That's a good way to cull the herd.
Here are your movers and shakers for Week 3.
Rankings are based on last week's full BCS simulation, which includes computers and polls that have yet to be released this week.
No. 22 Notre Dame
The Fighting Irish may have gotten a little assistance from the zebras in their 17-13 win over Michigan State, but a win's a win, as they say, and this was one of the best weeks anyone in the polls had. Not only does Notre Dame add its new best win to its resume, but its strength of schedule should get a small boost from Michigan's road win at UConn and Purdue's loss to powerhouse Wisconsin. In a week where few teams distinguished themselves, Notre Dame shined.
No. 30 Fresno State
Beating Boise State 41-40 was good enough by itself to make a positive impression on voters, but Fresno picked up a massive assist from Week 1 opponent Rutgers, who knocked off SEC foe Arkansas. Fresno's schedule gets significantly easier from here in the newly top-heavy MWC, so there may not be too many good weeks coming for the Bulldogs' strength of schedule, but Friday and Saturday were both good days.
No. 20 Florida
Losing Jeff Driskel to a leg injury for the year stinks; there's no question about that. But for as competent as Tyler Murphy looked in relief, Florida was also buoyed by not only getting a win over an SEC foe, but seeing its other two opponents (Toledo and Miami) pick up wins.
Also, No. 4 Stanford probably won't be going anywhere, but getting in its first nationally convincing win should stop its slide in the polls (Clemson's jumped the Cardinal) and convince the computers, which had them ranked at No. 7 last week.
No. 27 Michigan State
There's no inherent shame in losing at Notre Dame, especially when you can grouse about the officiating in the process. It's just that the Spartans got essentially no help from the rest of their schedule, with the only win coming via Youngstown State beating up on Duquesne. That's not going to impress the computers, especially when Western Michigan (a 26-13 win for MSU) goes down 59-3 at Iowa.
No. 33 Arkansas
The Razorbacks were poised to make a run at the top 25 in the Coaches Poll (less so the AP, for now) until a brutal loss at Rutgers this week derailed the perfect non-conference slate. The rest of Arkansas' run didn't help matters, and really, just about anyone in a BCS conference could have gone 3-1 against the likes of Rutgers, Southern Miss, Louisiana-Lafayette and Samford.
No. 3 Ohio State
It seems paradoxical to look at a team that just won 76-0 and say "well, it was a good run," but Ohio State did its already weak strength of schedule no favors by whipping lowly Florida A&M, arguably the worst team to strap 'em up in the recent history in the 'Shoe. The computer polls don't factor in margin of victory, remember, and human voters aren't going to let the Buckeyes displace any of the top three of Alabama, Oregon and Clemson just by beating up on cupcakes. With Stanford and Clemson both in stronger positions, expect a slight dip from the Buckeyes.
No. 36 Boise State
The BCS dream is officially dead for Boise State; even if the Broncos win out for the season and knock off Fresno State in the inevitable Mountain West rematch, an 11-2 team with this weak schedule isn't crashing the BCS party. Boise's non-conference slate was basically a one-game affair, and that ended in a blowout at Washington's hand.
Week 5's BCS impact games
South Carolina at UCF (12:00, ABC): Central Florida is one of the biggest surprises of the young 2013 season, and a home win against the Fightin' Jadeveons would be a crown jewel in the Knights' cap. Do Knights wear caps? Probably not. We're getting off topic. Someone's coming away from this game with a significant win on their resume, one that just might make a difference when it comes to handing out BCS bowl bids in December.
LSU at Georgia (3:30, CBS): Alabama and Texas A&M already took the crown for "first great SEC game of the season," but this'll be right up there in terms of quality and impact on the BCS race. Both teams are in the top 10, and whoever comes away with the win has a golden ticket punched to the top five and the inside track to at least an at-large BCS bid.
Oklahoma at Notre Dame (3:30, NBC): Oddly enough, the computer polls love Oklahoma, putting the Sooners fourth overall as of last week. Notre Dame looked tough but vulnerable — like Ryan Gosling! — in the last win over Michigan State, and where each team stands on the contender/pretender spectrum will be more clearly defined after this game.
Wisconsin at Ohio State (8:00, ABC): One wouldn't normally think a division in a BCS conference would be decided in September, but these two teams are so far ahead of the pack in the Big Ten's Leaders Division (especially with Penn State ineligible) that whoever wins this game can start thinking about the trip to Indianapolis for the Big Ten title in December. Ohio State's the favorite but needs to show it can shut down a high-powered rushing attack, otherwise the BCS Championship picture's going to get a little less complicated.
USC at Arizona State (10:30, ESPN2): Guffaw all you'd like, but there'd be no more classic Lane Kiffin move and Todd Graham move than to have the Trojans vault straight back into the Pac-12 title picture with a win in Tempe in late night action.