AP Polls College Football 2013: Underrated Teams in Week 4 Rankings
The AP poll for Week 4 of the college football season was released on Sunday, and there's a familiar face at the top.
Alabama maintained its No. 1 ranking after an impressive 49-42 victory on the road against reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M. In fact, the top five spots in the poll remain unchanged from Week 3.
Let's take a look at the latest AP poll and three underrated teams from this week's ranking.
Oklahoma, No. 14
The Sooners are one of the favorites to win the Big 12 conference this season and are a dark horse to reach the BCS National Championship Game. Don't be fooled by the team's modest No. 14 ranking in the latest poll, this Oklahoma squad is going to be one of the tougher teams to beat this season.
Through three weeks, the Sooners defense has been fantastic, with only nine points allowed per game (fourth-best in the nation).
On offense, Bob Stoops' team has found a nice balance between the passing attack and the running game. Oklahoma has averaged 271.7 yards on the ground this season, which is good for 15th-best in country, and the team has averaged 218.7 yards through the air.
Starting quarterback Blake Bell has enjoyed a strong start to the season with 453 yards passing, four touchdowns and a 69.8 completion percentage.
Blake Bell's 96.7 raw QBR today is the highest by an Oklahoma QB since Sam Bradford in 2008 (99.0 vs Baylor). http://t.co/QXb78t6Stm— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 14, 2013
Oklahoma's schedule starts to get tougher next week thanks to a highly anticipated matchup against No. 22 Notre Dame on the road. But after watching the Sooners dominate their opponents through three games, it would be surprising if the team's recent success doesn't continue in South Bend.
Northwestern, No. 18
The Wildcats have emerged as legitimate contenders in the Big Ten conference after an impressive 3-0 start to the season. Two of those wins were against Syracuse and California, both of whom are better than what their records would suggest.
Northwestern's defense has been solid through the first three weeks, with eight interceptions (most among FBS teams), five sacks and two touchdowns.
From an offensive standpoint, the Northwestern ground game has been quite effective, averaging of 249 yards per game. This team has a big, physical offensive line that does a tremendous job creating open lanes for running backs Treyvon Green and Kain Colter.
Northwestern has an easy matchup against unranked Maine next week before two tough games against No. 4 Ohio State and No. 24 Wisconsin. As a team that wins the turnover battle and can dominate time of possession with a good running game, expect the Wildcats to contend for a spot in the Big Ten conference title game.
Ole Miss, No. 21
For the first time in 24 years, the Ole Miss Rebels have started 3-0 thanks to impressive wins over Texas and Vanderbilt.
The Ole Miss offense has been in fine form to start the season, averaging 490 yards (240 passing, 250 rushing) per game. The star of Rebels' year thus far is running back Jeff Scott, who set a career high with 164 rushing yards against Texas on Saturday. He also returned a punt for a touchdown (see video below).
As a young team with talent and speed at the skill positions on offense, this Ole Miss squad won't be an easy team for the top SEC contenders to beat.
The Rebels will travel to Tuscaloosa next week to take on the No. 1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, and it's a matchup that will determine how competitive Ole Miss will be in 2013.
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