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  • Which Top 25 team least deserves its ranking heading into Week 5? Our staff weighs in and debates the best team not in this week's poll.
By The SI Staff
September 24, 2019

We're at the point in the college football season where there's a crossroads between preseason expectations and what's played out on the field through four weeks. Nowhere is this represented better than in the AP poll, where ranked teams may still be hanging on thanks to name recognition or offseason hype, even despite already dropping a game or two. Heading into Week 5, who do our writers think should've gotten the boot? And on the flip side, which unranked team do they think deserves that spot instead?

Laken Litman

Which Current AP Top 25 Team Would You Kick Out?

Texas A&M and Oklahoma State should trade places. The No. 23 Aggies aren’t ready to contend with the best teams in the country yet, while unranked Oklahoma State nearly upset a top-15 team over the weekend.

Texas A&M has two “good” losses to No. 1 Clemson and No. 7 Auburn, but never truly looked capable of winning either game. Saturday, Jimbo Fisher’s team trailed Auburn 21–3 before trying to comeback in the fourth quarter. QB Kellen Mond had 335 yards passing with two touchdowns, but the running game was limited to 56 yards and the defense needed to make more plays. After the game, Fisher said “we don’t have a bad football team, we’ve just got to get them to play better and that’s my job.” It doesn’t get easier as the Aggies still have to play Alabama, Georgia and LSU.

Which Currently Unranked Team Is the Best?

Oklahoma State nearly beat No. 12 Texas in Austin. The Cowboys lost, 36–30, but could have won if not for missed opportunities and some questionable play calling. Mike Gundy has tons of offensive talent, his best weapon coming out of this game looking like young QB Spencer Sanders. In his fourth start, the redshirt freshman went 19 of 32 for 268 yards with two interceptions—one was tipped—and rushed for 109 yards with one TD. Texas dominated the line of scrimmage and made it difficult for Chuba Hubbard to look like the nation’s leading RB. But had Gundy relied on Sanders more, OSU might have won. The bright spot here for the Cowboys is that Sanders will keep growing as the season progresses, and maybe make this team good enough to disrupt the Big 12 race.

Ross Dellenger

Which Current AP Top 25 Team Would You Kick Out?

Michigan. Are the Wolverines really a top-25 team? They remain in the poll because of their preseason-ranking of No. 7. They've looked nothing like a top 25 team—let alone top 20—through three games. UM struggled with Middle Tennessee (27–14 at half), nearly lost to Army (needed OT) and got its teeth kicked in by Wisconsin (35–14).

Which Currently Unranked Team Is the Best?

Missouri, Washington State or Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons are 4–0 but have played a weak schedule. Missouri dropped that season-opening game at Wyoming, and Washington State, of course, allowed 50—FIFTY—second-half points to UCLA in that wild game over the weekend. But I do believe those three teams will be ranked by the end of the season.

Max Meyer

Which Current AP Top 25 Team Would You Kick Out?

I hope Texas A&M enjoys its undeserved ranked status now, because the Aggies will not be ranked at the end of the season. A&M was outclassed in its 24–10 loss to Clemson, and was shown up on its home field by SEC foe Auburn. Beating Texas State and Lamar by a combined score of 103–10 doesn’t impress me. For a team that is struggling against good competition, good luck facing Alabama, Georgia and LSU later on this season.

Which Currently Unranked Team Is the Best?

If we’re keeping UCF, Utah and Michigan in the top 25 after a road loss, why not Missouri? The Tigers lost a fluky 37–31 season opener at Wyoming, as the Tigers outgained the Cowboys 537–389. Since then, they’ve beaten West Virginia, SEMO and South Carolina by a combined 101 points. This is a very talented team that could end up finishing second in the SEC East because of a very favorable schedule (seriously, look at it). But for now, I’d give Missouri the nod over Texas A&M and Michigan.

Michael Shapiro

Which Current AP Top 25 Team Would You Kick Out?

This may be a touch unfair, but what has Michigan done to deserve a spot in the Top 25? Were the voters impressed by an overtime win at home against Army on Sept. 7? Or was it the 35–14 loss at Wisconsin on Saturday? This isn't to say Michigan can't reach a solid bowl game—Jim Harbaugh and Co. could still win the Big Ten. But through three weeks the performance must be more important than Michigan's name recognition. Shea Patterson has been poor in back-to-back games, and Jonathan Taylor ran all over the Wolverines in Week 4. Make Michigan work its way back into the Top 25.

Which Currently Unranked Team Is the Best?

A loss in Austin doesn't invalidate the early-season success for Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State. The Cowboys' offense is loaded with offensive weapons, including one of the nation's best running back-wide receiver duos. Redshirt sophomore Chuba Hubbard leads the Big 12 in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, while Tylan Wallace is the conference's leader in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Quarterback Spencer Sanders's life has been easy after replacing the graduated Taylor Cornelius. The Cowboys host Bedlam this season in what should be a matchup of Top 25 teams. Perhaps Oklahoma State can spoil the Sooners' Playoff hopes.

Joan Niesen

Which Current AP Top 25 Team Would You Kick Out?

For now, I’d boot Texas A&M. Does that mean I don’t think the Aggies are a good team? Absolutely not. But with more deserving teams than top-25 spots, I’m not sure I’m ready to rank a team whose two wins came over Texas State and Lamar. (Both were blowouts.) For now, at least, I want teams to be ranked for good wins, not for good losses, which is what Texas A&M has on its résumé.

Which Currently Unranked Team Is the Best?

On the flip side, I’d make a case for Mississippi State or Missouri to get consideration in the top 25. (Yeah, I know. I was supposed to name one, but I can’t decide which team I like more.) The Bulldogs’ only loss came to a Kansas State team that’s now ranked No. 24, and it manhandled Kentucky on Saturday. Meanwhile Missouri had a fluky loss to Wyoming, but since then, it’s looked downright dominant, especially on defense.

Tim Rohan

Which Current AP Top 25 Team Would You Kick Out?

You’ve got to feel for Texas A&M. The Aggies are 2–2 and their losses are to No. 1 Clemson and No. 8 Auburn. I’m dropping A&M from my poll, because it looks as if they’re going to eventually drop out anyway. The Aggies still have games against teams currently ranked No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4 in the country. Kellen Mond, A&M’s junior quarterback, is putting up big numbers, but it hasn’t translated to a lot of points or wins just yet.

Which Currently Unranked Team Is the Best?

Give Dave Clawson’s team some love. In Clawson’s first five years at Wake Forest, he’s won eight games only once. He’s already halfway there, sitting at 4–0 right now. The Demon Deacons beat Gary Andersen’s Utah State and Mack Brown’s North Carolina both at home, and their offense looks dangerous. Led by quarterback Jamie Newman, Wake Forest is averaging 533 yards a game, the 11th-most yards in the country.

Scooby Axson

Which Current AP Top 25 Team Would You Kick Out?

There isn’t much of an argument as why Texas A&M is still ranked, and it is the only one in the poll this week with two losses. The Aggies squandered golden opportunities to make a statement nationally, but were not competitive against Clemson and got beat at home by Auburn. Maybe its SEC bias or a sympathy ploy by the AP voters hoping A&M will turn it around, but at this point there is really no justification for it.

Which Currently Unranked Team Is the Best?

Wake Forest is an interesting case study and the word “best” is probably stretching it. The Deacons have beaten Utah State, Rice, North Carolina and Elon, teams with a combined record of 6–9. What Wake Forest does have going for it is a dynamic quarterback in Jamie Newman. As long as he keeps finding his leading receiver, Sage Surratt, who is second in the nation in receiving yards, the Demon Deacons will be fine. And they have a realistic chance to be 9–0 before visiting Clemson on Nov. 16.

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