NCAA Football Rankings 2012: Teams Ready to Crack Top 25

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor ISeptember 23, 2012

TUCSON, AZ - SEPTEMBER 08:  Defensive end Ryan Robinson #96 (C) of the Oklahoma State Cowboys sits on the bench with teammates during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on September 8, 2012 in Tucson, Arizona. The Wildcats defeated the Cowboys 59-38.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Parity is alive and well in college football.

Sure, the top four teams are on an island when compared to everyone else in the nation, but the rest of the Top 25 is constantly full of upsets and always moving.

That was apparent during Week 4 action.

So, with this week's new Top 25 (which can be found below), it's only natural to take an early look at which teams will soon be there. 


Northwestern Wildcats

After an impressive three wins against big-conference opponents to start the season, I was under the impression that a win over any team would vault the Wildcats into this week's Top 25.

Apparently, I overestimated South Dakota's worth.

Northwestern rolled over the powerhouse that is the Coyotes on Saturday by a score of 38-7, but it still remains on the fringe of the Top 25. 

Nonetheless, the Wildcats are 4-0, and with games versus Indiana, at Penn State and at Minnesota upcoming, they could easily be 7-0 when Nebraska comes to town. As long as they keep winning, it will be impossible to keep them out.


Virginia Tech Hokies

It's been an ugly start to the season for the Hokies.

They destroyed Austin Peay and Bowling Green as expected, but a narrow home win over Georgia Tech and a big loss at Pittsburgh has them far from where they want to be at this point. 

But Frank Beamer's squad has a good chance to get back on track against a Cincinnati squad that has looked impressive and even beat that same Pittsburgh team that dismantled Virginia Tech. 

It won't be easy for the Hokies, but if they can slow down the Bearcats on the ground, they should get a win to move them back into the Top 25. 


Oklahoma State Cowboys

While the Hokies always have their defense to fall back on, Oklahoma State can rely on its explosive offense to win some big games.

That strategy didn't really work out when the Cowboys went to Arizona in Week 2 and got run (er, thrown) into the ground, but a win over Texas would make us all forget about that. Kind of. 

The 12th-ranked Longhorns are certainly a better team, but in a game that I expect to turn into a shootout, I'll go with the home team to pull off the upset.


Here are the Week 5 Associated Press Top 25 Rankings.

 1. Alabama
 2. Oregon
 3. LSU
 4. Florida State
 5. Georgia
 6. South Carolina
 7. Kansas State
 8. Stanford
 9. West Virginia
 10. Notre Dame
 11. Florida
 12. Texas
 13. USC
 14. Ohio State
 15. TCU
 16. Oklahoma
 17. Clemson
 18. Oregon State
 19. Louisville
 20. Michigan State
 21. Mississippi State
 22. Nebraska
 23. Rutgers
 24. Boise State
 25. Baylor