Getting through the season’s first four weeks unscathed is often a good sign, but not always. Last season, 14 major-conference teams — those that play in the ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-10 and Southeastern conferences — stood undefeated at the end of September. Just seven finished the season in the Associated Press’s top 25 poll. Kansas and Michigan, which both went 4-0 in September, didn’t even reach a bowl game.
September wouldn’t be September without unchallenging non-conference games that lead to misleading records and misguided first impressions. Over the past five seasons, 29% of the teams that finished the four weeks undefeated went on to post a losing conference record.