College football rankings: Florida rises to No. 3 as Sunshine State takes over CBS Sports 76

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After a record-setting offensive performance in its 2020 season debut, Florida has moved up to the newly vacant No. 3 spot in the CBS Sports 76, our comprehensive ranking of every FBS team in action at the start of this college football season. The Gators are now poised in our rankings as the top threat to Clemson and Alabama, who have remained atop the CBS Sports rankings for much of the College Football Playoff era.

Florida took over the position previously held by Oklahoma, which was one of our most notable movers this week (more on those below) after blowing a fourth-quarter lead to Kansas State in its second loss to the Wildcats in as many years. 

The top of the rankings are set for an adjustment over the next month as the Big Ten, Pac-12, Mountain West and MAC make their returns to play. We decided to remove those teams from consideration at the start of the season as they had decided not to play. They will remain sidelined for rankings purposes until Oct. 19, the Monday leading into the start of Big Ten play. In the interim, that will allow for us to remain consistent as we continue to judge the 76 teams in action based on their performances on the field without too many placeholders by those teams that won’t have data to compare for at least another three Saturdays. 

We were already destined for some shake ups after Week 4 with the SEC finally taking the field and the Big 12 in full swing after a light Week 3. The weekend certainly delivered with Mississippi State’s epic win at LSU and some closer-than-expected victories for Texas and Texas A&M. In the ACC, Virginia and Virginia Tech, both top 25 teams in our rankings this week, finally played their first game of the season and Miami saw a boost after its dominant 52-10 win against Florida State.

College football experts from CBS Sports and 247Sports contribute ballots each week, which are averaged together for our rankings. You can see the top 25 below and 26-76 on our rankings page. Check out how our voters responded to the drama of Week 4 below in the Mover’s Report

Biggest movers 

  • No. 29 Kansas State (+25): Chris Klieman challenged his team at halftime in Norman. If the Wildcats believed that they deserved to be on the same field as Oklahoma, they needed to go and prove it one play at a time. Kansas State did just that, and our voters aren’t going to let that season-opening loss to Arkansas State prevent a major bump in the rankings for its impressive win.  
  • No. 13 Mississippi State (+22): The question now becomes where Mississippi State fits among the SEC West contenders. We’ve got the Bulldogs just outside the top 10 behind both Auburn and Texas A&M but within striking distance of taking that No. 2 spot behind Alabama. 
  • No. 34 South Carolina (+14): It’s not often we see a surge in the rankings after a loss but South Carolina was not highly rated by our voters going into its 2020 debut against Tennessee. The Gamecocks brought great fight to the contest, and Collin Hill had a solid first start at quarterback, but close losses aren’t the key to keeping a top-40 ranking. Again, impressive start, but actual wins need to follow after this jump. 
  • No. 10 Oklahoma (-7): Every year of the Lincoln Riley era has included both one Big 12 regular season loss and a College Football Playoff appearance. Two games into 2020, the Sooners already have that one Big 12 loss but now are staring at an uphill battle with little margin for error to make the playoff for a fourth straight season. 
  • No. 26 Louisiana (-7): The shine of defeating Iowa State has worn off a little for Louisiana, and the second-straight narrow victory in Sun Belt play has the Ragin’ Cajuns taking a step back in our rankings. It’s an imbalanced resume with a 17-point win at Iowa State and then victories against Georgia State and Georgia Southern by a combined five points, but Louisiana is one of the few 3-0 teams in the country and still holds weight as a top-30 team, according to our voters. 
  • No. 17 LSU (-10): Our voters have kept LSU in the top 20, which indicates that the initial response to Mississippi State’s win is more positive for the Bulldogs than negative for the Tigers. But that doesn’t mean there’s not tons to be concerned about with the defending champions, especially with no breaks in the schedule to get right against a nonconference opponent. 
  • No. 39 Army West Point (-14): Saturday’s loss to Cincinnati came in a very un-Army fashion, particularly with a spotlight on some of the mistakes that let the game get away in the second half. There were penalties and turnovers, and the inability to come up with key stops on defense after dominating its first two opponents. 

Check out the rest of the CBS Sports 76: Teams ranked 26-76

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