College Football Rankings 2012: 3 Unranked Teams That Will Be Ranked Next Week

Brian Leigh@@BLeighDATFeatured ColumnistSeptember 28, 2012

EVANSTON, IL - SEPTEMBER 8: Venric Mark #5 of the Northwestern Wildcats runs with the football against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Ryan Field on September 8, 2012 in Evanston, Illinois. Northwestern won 23-13. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

There's too much chatter at the top of the AP Top 25; what about the bottom!

For some programs, just being ranked is an achievement in and of itself––the product of hard labor, fastidious preparation and untiring industry.

Each week, we also see a few teams at the bottom of the Top 25 falter––be it to an underdog or a higher-ranked squad––making way for a new cast of Cinderellas to emerge into the rankings.

Here are three teams who, at this time next week, will be squarely ranked in the Top 25:

Northwestern (4-0)

Could this be the year something good finally happens for Northwestern athletics (outside of women's lacrosse, that is)?

The past few years, Northwestern has been teasing its (admittedly not-too-eager) fanbase in both football and basketball, fielding semi-competitive teams, but still falling short of their goals. The hoops squad still hasn't made the NCAA tournament, and the football team still hasn't won a bowl game.

But that could all change, and soon.

Northwestern has looked mighty impressive in the early going this season, winning three of their four games over major conference opponents (Syracuse, Vanderbilt and Boston College, respectively).

The Wildcats are already the 26th ranked team in the AP poll and with an easy home game against Indiana (knock on wood) on deck, there's a good chance they'll be ranked next week.

Arizona (3-1)

Things couldn't have gone much worse in Eugene, where the Wildcats lost 49-0, but everyone gets a mulligan, right?

'Zona welcomes 18th-ranked Oregon State this weekend, with a chance to redeem themselves and vault back into the realm of the Top 25.

They've already welcomed an 18th-ranked O. State with orange and black jerseys into Tucson this year, and that game––a 59-38 dismantling of Oklahoma State––couldn't have gone much better.

If history repeats itself this weekend, 'Zona will have two impressive victories and only a loss against No. 2 to their detriment. If that doesn't say Top 25, then I don't know what does. (Except maybe the stuff Alabama is doing...).

Ohio (4-0)

That opening-week victory at Penn State looks stronger every day. After beating Navy and Temple, the Nittany Lions are one semi-competent kicker away from being 3-1, with their only loss to the Ohio Bobcats.

Ohio's actually built itself a nice little athletic program in the heart of our county, now excelling on the gridiron as a supplement to its recent mid-major surge on the hardwood.

The Bobcats get they hapless, 0-4 Minutemen of UMass this week, and once they steamroll them, Ohio could very well find itself ranked 24 or 25. The Bobcats are already ranked 29 in the AP poll, so that jump becomes even easier.