10 of College Football's Most Underrated Teams
Notre Dame, Oregon and Kansas State have been the talk of their towns so far this year, and why not? The Ducks have been electric, the Wildcats have impressed with a blue collar attitude, and Notre Dame is relevant for the first time in the BCS era.
But which teams have been left out of the discussion? Which teams aren't getting nearly enough credit for their accomplishments?
Here are ten teams that deserve a little bit more respect.
Duke Blue Devils
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Record: 6-4, 3-3 ACC
Notable games: 33-30 win vs. North Carolina, 48-7 loss @ FSU, 56-20 loss vs. Clemson
Remaining games: @ Georgia Tech, Miami (FL)
Duke is no better than a "C" level team, but it's hard to believe the Blue Devils could easily finish 7-5 or 8-4 this season, and that alone is enough to give them a nod on this list.
They have not stood ground against the best opponents, but a win over rival UNC and bowl eligibility has Duke fans feeling good—and the Blue Devils could actually still qualify for the ACC title game.
The Blue Devils are currently in a three-horse race against Miami (FL) and Georgia Tech for the Coastal Division. Winning out would put them against Florida State in the conference championship.
9-5 is a reality, and even with the reality that this team isn't as good as the top of the ACC, this basketball school could be very proud at the end of this year.
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Record: 6-4, 4-3 SEC
Notable games: 17-13 loss vs. South Carolina, 19-15 win @ Missouri
Remaining games: Tennessee, @ Wake Forest
Vanderbilt has quietly had a good year, and been competitive against good teams in South Carolina and Florida.
The Commodores can finish 8-4, 5-3 in conference if they win out, which is starting to look like a possibility.
Vanderbilt gets to host a reeling Tennessee team and will finish on the road against an equal opponent in Wake Forest.
The Commodores have shown in big games that they are well coached and have plenty of talent. A 9-4 season would no doubt go down as the best in team history, if pulled off.
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Record: 7-2, 3-1 Big East
Notable games: 27-24 win vs. Virginia Tech, 29-23 loss @ Toledo, 34-31 OT loss @ Louisville
Remaining games: Rutgers, South Florida, @ UConn
Cincinatti's two losses have come by a total of nine points. To win the conference, the Bearcats need to win out and hope Louisville loses one of its final conference games, which includes Rutgers.
The Bearcats boast a very balanced offense, averaging 228.8 passing yards and 226.8 rushing yards per contest. It also has allowed just 18.8 points per game.
Cincinnati looks good, and can still, with help, make a BCS appearance for just the second time in team history.
No. 22 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
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Record: 8-1, 4-0 Big East
Notable games: 35-26 win @ Arkansas, 35-23 loss @ Kent State
Remaining games: @ Cincinnati, @ Pittsburgh, Louisville
Rutgers is just now hitting the meat of its conference schedule, which includes games against Cincinnati and Louisville, who each have one conference loss.
The Scarlet Knights are in control of their own destiny in the Big East, and their only loss of 2012 has come against a very good Kent State team.
Yes, the Big East is looking up this year despite only having eight teams, and is still an automatic qualifying conference for the BCS.
If Rutgers wins out, it will make its first ever BCS appearance.
Central Florida Knights
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Record: 8-2, 6-0 C-USA
Notable games: 31-16 loss @ Ohio State, 21-16 loss vs. Missouri
Remaining games: @ Tulsa, UAB
Central Florida is undefeated in conference, and a big contest against Tulsa will put its undefeated streak to the test this weekend.
Central Florida would get a rematch against Tulsa if it holds off ECU in the Conference USA Eastern division.
That's a possible 11-2 year for the Knights, who are making the most of its season.
Northern Illinois Huskies
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Record: 10-1, 7-1 MAC
Notable games: 18-17 loss vs. Iowa, 31-24 win vs. Toledo
Remaining games: @ Eastern Michigan
The Huskies are primed for a pretty good MAC Championship Game match against Kent State. The two teams are a combined 19-2.
What makes Northern Illinois so intriguing is the fact they are averaging a 40-19 win per week, and their only loss came by one point against Iowa.
Quarterback Jordan Lynch, who has thrown for over 2,500 yards and rushed for over 1,000, is one of the most overlooked players in the nation.
A BCS bowl is likely out of the question, but there's no doubt the Huskies can play some ball.
No. 10 Florida State Seminoles
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Record: 9-1, 6-1 ACC
Notable games: 49-37 win vs. Clemson, 17-16 loss @ NC State
Remaining Games: @ Maryland, vs. Florida
Florida State is only ranked 10th in the BCS standings, but hold a nice 6th place spot in the Coaches Poll. While the Seminoles schedule has not been daunting, they have had more than respectable results through the year.
Not only did FSU have a huge game against Clemson, but it lost to an NC State team that can be very dangerous, especially in big games.
Florida State should take care of business against a hapless Maryland team and clinch a spot in the ACC Championship game. Its opponent will be either Miami (FL), Georgia Tech or Duke, which means a 12-1 record and BCS bowl appearance is almost inevitable.
It's crazy to think the Noles are only ranked 10th in the country, especially considering the likes of Georgia, Florida and LSU are ranked higher. While the Seminoles' opponents have not been daunting, they certainly pass the eye test.
Utah State Aggies
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Record: 8-2, 4-0 WAC
Notable games: 27-20 OT win vs. Utah, 16-14 loss @ Wisconsin, 6-3 loss @ BYU
Remaining games: @ LaTech, Idaho
Utah State has an argument for being ranked. The Aggies are not only 8-2 and undefeated in conference, but were five points away from surviving the non-conference schedule unscathed with a two-point loss at Wisconsin and a three-point loss at BYU.
A win over Louisiana Tech this weekend will definitely put the Aggies in the top 25, which is hard to believe considering they were considered one of the worst teams in the nation a few years ago.
No. 20 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
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Record: 9-1, 4-0 WAC
Notable games: 52-24 win @ Illinois, 59-57 loss vs. Texas A&M
Remaining games: Utah State, @ San Jose State
This weekend makes for a huge showdown for WAC fans. The two top teams will face off with a combined record of 17-2, and both teams could very easily be undefeated.
Yes, the WAC is weak, especially with transition schools in Texas State and San Antonio in the mix, but the Bulldogs are the second-highest scoring team in the nation and took Texas A&M, who just beat Alabama, on the ropes in a 59-57 loss.
Louisiana Tech will likely crack the Top 20 in the BCS standings if it beats Utah State.
No. 11 Clemson Tigers
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Record: 9-1, 6-1 ACC
Notable games: 49-37 loss @ Florida State
Remaining games: North Carolina State, South Carolina
Clemson might be the most underrated team in the nation, and its current ranking in the BCS definitely is not fair. Since dropping a quality loss against FSU, Clemson has won six games in a row with ease.
The Tigers have destroyed every other opponent on their schedule except for Auburn, whom they beat 26-19 in the season opener.
They definitely look the part, but are only 11th in the BCS standings. The coaches have given them the most credit by ranking them 9th.
The worst part is, unless Florida State loses at Maryland, which isn't likely, Clemson will have to sit at home and watch the Seminoles face Duke, Miami (FL) or Georgia Tech in the conference championship game.
Clemson might be one of the top teams in the nation, but is far out of any championship picture. A win over South Carolina should send Clemson as an at-large to the Sugar Bowl, which could mean a revival of an old rivalry against the Georgia Bulldogs.