College Football Rankings: Most Underrated Teams in Top 25

Brian LendinoCorrespondent IISeptember 11, 2012

College Football Rankings: Most Underrated Teams in Top 25

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    With college football back in full swing, there's nothing better than sitting down at the beginning of every week and dissecting the AP Top 25 poll. 

    When I dissect rankings, I like to note whether or not every team is ranked fairly—meaning too high or too low—whether or not anyone got snubbed from the rankings completely and, finally, if any team is lurking in the brush. 

    In the new edition of the Top 25 poll, there are many teams that I would consider underrated for where they are ranked. 

    Here they are. 

No. 9 West Virginia Mountaineers

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    The last time we saw West Virginia play, they laid a 69-34 trouncing on Marshall and saw their stud quarterback, Geno Smith, throw for 323 yards and four touchdowns. 

    And despite having a bye week in Week 2, the Mountaineers still were able to maintain their spot, solidly, at No. 9 in this week's new rankings. 

    The reason that I have West Virginia on my underrated list, despite being ranked in the Top 10, is because I truly believe they're a legitimate title contender, yet no one really seems to be noticing that. 

    They have arguably the nation's most explosive offense led by Smith, Tavon Austin and running back Shawne Alston. And to go along with that, the Mountaineers have a nice defense that really excels at stopping the run. 

    West Virginia's first real test will come when it visits Texas on Oct. 6 in its first road game as a member of the Big 12 conference. 

No. 12 Ohio State Buckeyes

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    There are two things that I've really taken away from the 2012 Ohio State Buckeyes. They are: Urban Meyer still hasn't lost it, and Braxton Miller is the real deal. 

    Through two games the sophomore quarterback has racked up 665 total yards and seven touchdowns, and that includes amassing 140 yards rushing in both contests. 

    Miller is virtually impossible to game plan for because his natural athletic ability makes him tough to bring down in the zone-read offense and he has a solid arm to find open receivers.

    If the Buckeyes can get through a Sept. 29 test at Michigan State this team may very well ride most of the season undefeated until playing Michigan in the season's final game. 

No. 19 Louisville Cardinals

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    One thing I've learned over the years is that nobody ever wants to give anyone in the Big East any credit regardless of how good they might be. 

    Well, Louisville is the real deal, and that's one thing I do know.

    Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is one of the nation's best kept secrets, and through two games he's completed 49-of-60 passes. 

    Charlie Strong is one of the best program builders in the country and hopes to have his Louisville squad back in a BCS Bowl game for the first time since the 2006 Orange Bowl when Bobby Petrino was the head coach. 

No. 23 Tennessee Volunteers

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    Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray has all the tools to make the jump into the NFL, but can he get it down right now in college?

    Well, through two contests thus far, he looks primed to make the jump to that next tier of college quarterbacks. 

    The Volunteers haven't experienced a winning season since 2009, and this once-great program has had a long road back from obscurity and hopes that 2012 is finally its year.

    With a huge matchup looming on the horizon against the Florida Gators, Bray and the Volunteers can finally make a national statement that they are back in the conversation as one of the more competitive programs in college football. 

    Tennessee will definitely make things interesting in a tight SEC East division. 

No. 25 Brigham Young Cougars

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    We'll have a much better understanding of what this BYU team is made of after they visit Utah and Boise State in the next two weeks, but for now I'm considering them underrated. 

    Even though their offense is good, they won't wow you when they have the ball. 

    It's their defense that will make you watch. These guys can hit, and they hit hard.

    I understand that two games is a small sample size, but the Cougars were able to hold a heralded Mike Leach offense to a measly six points in their season opener on national television. 

    They're quick to the ball, and they force turnovers. 

    Don't be surprised if we see a TCU-like season from the BYU Cougars this year.