BCS Rankings: Teams That Will Continue to Rise in Coming Weeks

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistSeptember 24, 2012

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - SEPTEMBER 22: Gary Nova #15 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights throws a pass against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on September 22, 2012 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Scarlet Knights defeated the Razorbacks 35-26. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

With conference schedules getting under way in college football next week, we already have a pretty good idea of what teams are made of after four weeks of play.

The Associated Press Top 25 looks different, even if many of the regular faces are still included—that is, until you get toward the bottom half of the rankings.

A few teams are quietly rising up the board. These are the teams everyone should be watching out for as they continue their winning ways.

No. 21 Mississippi State Bulldogs

Mississippi State's lone quality win came against Auburn, but this team is playing good football. Three more wins in a row should be expected from the Bulldogs before they must travel to face Alabama.

Their defense is scrappy, and Tyler Russell can open up their passing offense. He's thrown for 822 yards and has an elite target in Chad Bumphis on the outside. Bumphis has five touchdown catches so far this season.

Don't expect the Bulldogs to defeat Alabama, but this team will enter that game with a higher ranking than it currently has. Tennessee will provide a stiff challenge in three weeks, but Mississippi State's toughness should earn it a victory.

No. 23 Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Rutgers took advantage of a reeling Arkansas team to move to 4-0 on the year. Now, it will face Connecticut, Syracuse, Temple, Kent State and Army consecutively. That sounds like a rankings climb to me.

The Scarlet Knights have benefited from surprisingly efficient play behind center. Gary Nova is 74-of-124 for 962 yards and nine touchdowns. He has an array of targets to throw to, including Brandon Coleman (five touchdowns), and Jawan Jamison is a quality running back.

If the Rutgers defense keeps allowing less than 13 points per game, this team should keep winning. It jumped on Arkansas at an opportune time, gaining enough momentum to carry itself through the next few weeks.

The Big East is weak. Expect Rutgers to cash in on that.

No. 18 Oregon State Beavers

Oregon State is only 2-0, but winning games over Wisconsin and UCLA looks pretty good at this point in the season.

The Beavers are rising quickly with another chance to prove themselves against Arizona this week. It will be a test, but they have the talent to grab a victory.

Oregon State doesn't play Southern California. It doesn't play Stanford until Nov. 10. It's a favorable schedule until then for Mike Riley's crew.

Sean Mannion leads an Oregon State offense that has thrown for nearly 330 yards per game. He's turning the ball over much less than he did last year, allowing an opportunistic defense to do his job for him.

Oregon State isn't the Pac-12's most talented team, but it is dangerous. Two upset wins have the Beavers looking very good.