Thought you had it, Washington State and Oregon State. You too, Wake Forest.
Doinks off the top of the goalposts should be worth double the points, Arkansas.
You tried, Indiana and Rutgers. You needed one fewer turnover, Iowa State.
Guess you still couldn't overcome Kansas State's strange hex, Oklahoma.
You acquitted yourself well, Maryland and Duke. Not really sure what happened there, Tulane.
Three weeks into the 2022 college football season, only 33 of 131 FBS teams remained unbeaten. Week 4, in all its weirdness, snipped that list by another 36% as 12 unbeatens lost, including five favorites.
Some of these now-former unbeatens could still potentially play themselves into CFP contention, and most others are still on track for lovely seasons, but our second edition of Ranking the Unbeatens is a bit thinner. Odds are, about seven more teams will fall off this list in Week 5.
SP+ projects six unbeatens as outright underdogs this week — TCU (28% win probability vs. Oklahoma), Kentucky (35% at Ole Miss), NC State (40% at Clemson), Kansas (40% vs. Iowa State), Washington (42% at UCLA) and Oklahoma State (47% at Baylor) — and gives eight more between a 50% and 80% chance of winning. With Tennessee off and six unbeatens facing each other, SP+ says that among the 21 teams below, 6.7 are expected to suffer losses. This week it's the Tantalizing Twenty-One. Next week it will evidently be the Fearsome Fourteen.
Let's rank the unbeatens!
21. Coastal Carolina
SP+ and FPI rankings: 51st and 84th, respectively
Odds of reaching 12-0, per SP+: 3.0%
What they did in Week 4: defeated Georgia State 41-24
Why they're ranked here: To their credit, Jamey Chadwell's Chanticleers have looked much better since Week 2, when they were lucky to beat Gardner-Webb. The offense is again combining lovely run efficiency with Grayson McCall's ultra-efficient passing — we'll see if McCall has to miss time after suffering an ankle sprain against Georgia State — but the pass defense is still a major concern. The Chants rank 89th in ANY/A* allowed despite not having played a good passing team yet. That will eventually doom them, but SP+ gives them a 50/50 chance of getting to 7-0 before they head to Marshall on Oct. 29.
* Adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) is a yards-per-pass average that includes sacks and sack yardage and adds a 20-yard bonus for every touchdown and a 45-yard penalty for every interception. It gives us what we think we get from passer rating.
SP+ and FPI rankings: 59th and 40th
Odds of reaching 12-0, per SP+: 0.1%
What they did in Week 4: defeated Virginia 22-20
Why they're ranked here: The Orange settled for five field goals and lost three fumbles in a 22-20 win over Virginia on Friday night that was equal parts thrilling and sloppy. They should beat Wagner of the FCS this coming Saturday, and they're almost guaranteed to find a sixth win somewhere else on the schedule, but they're projected underdogs in each of the next six games following Wagner. Offensive coordinator Robert Anae and quarterbacks coach Jason Beck have spruced up the offense, and Oronde Gadsden II is quickly emerging as one of the ACC's better receivers, but the unbeaten record probably isn't going to last much longer.
19. James Madison
SP+ and FPI rankings: 68th and 65th
Odds of reaching 11-0, per SP+ (JMU plays only 11 games in its FCS transition season): 1.7%
What they did in Week 4: defeated Appalachian State 32-28
Why they're ranked here: What a win. Down 28-3 against battle-tested Appalachian State, Curt Cignetti's Dukes held the Mountaineers scoreless for their final eight drives, scored the game's final 29 points and moved to 3-0 the hard way.
A month into JMU's first FBS season, quarterback Todd Centeio is 22nd in Total QBR, and the defense ranks first in yards allowed per drive and 10th in points allowed per drive. Almost no program has been as well equipped to make the jump from FCS — I wrote about exactly that in August — but I still expected more growing pains than this!