NCAA Football Rankings 2013: Teams That Will Climb into Top 10 by Season's End

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIISeptember 23, 2013

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 14:   Quarterback Blake Bell #10 of the Oklahoma Sooners looks for a hole in the Tulsa Hurricane defense September 14, 2013 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. The Sooners defeated the Golden Hurricane 51-20.  (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Brett Deering/Getty Images

Week 4 of the 2013 college football season has officially concluded, and the updated AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches polls have been revealed. Even after a week that was low on upsets, the rankings have changed, and teams across the country have both improved their standing and lost ground.

The question is, which teams will continue to rise up the rankings and crack the Top 10?

 

Miami Hurricanes

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 07:  Stephen Morris #17 of the Miami Hurricanes hands off to Duke Johnson #8 during a game against the Florida Gators at Sun Life Stadium on September 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Record: 3-0, 0-0 ACC

AP Poll: No. 15

USA Today Coaches Poll: No. 15

Next Game: at South Florida Bulls

The Miami Hurricanes responded to criticism of their rise in the rankings by defeating Savannah State 77-7. Savannah State may not be the most intimidating opponent, but a 77-point performance is still a 77-point performance.

With only one ranked opponent remaining on the Hurricanes' schedule, expect the wins to pile up and a Top 10 ranking to come about.

Miami owns a 21-16 win over the Florida Gators, which offers enough proof that Miami's defense is ready to play. Through three games, the Hurricanes are allowing just 9.7 points per game and managed to force Florida into committing five turnovers.

For the first time in a long time, Miami looks legitimate.

Offensively, Duke Johnson is a genuine star at running back, picking up 304 yards and three rushing touchdowns through three games. Quarterback play hasn't been a strength, but a healthy Stephen Morris can lead a dynamic charge.

In the end, a favorable schedule and a high-powered defense will be enough to lead Miami into the Top 10.

 

Oklahoma Sooners

Sep 14, 2013; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Brennan Clay (24) is congratulated by quarterback Blake Bell (10) after running for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 3-0, 1-0 Big 12

AP Poll: No. 14

USA Today Coaches Poll: No. 12

Next Game: at Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Prior to the 2013 college football season, the Oklahoma Sooners controversially named Trevor Knight the starting quarterback over Blake Bell. Knight proceeded to go 21-of-48 for 205 yards as Oklahoma underwhelmed in its first two games.

In his first start for the Sooners, Bell went off for 413 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions against Tulsa on 27-of-37 passing, thus winning the starting job and reminding the nation of just how dangerous Oklahoma can be.

It's safe to say the Sooners are a better team with Bell under center.

Bell will lead the Sooners against the No. 22 Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday, Sept. 28, thus offering Oklahoma an opportunity to move up in the rankings. The Irish have an excellent defensive unit, but we shouldn't talk defense without mentioning the Sooners.

Oklahoma may not have the star power that Notre Dame possesses, but it's limiting opponents to 9.0 points per game.

The key for the Sooners will be on offense, where three separate running backs have topped 100 total rushing yards through three games. Brennan Clay leads the charge with 262 yards and two touchdowns, while Damien Williams has gone for 161 over the span of two appearances.

Notre Dame may have a feared defensive unit, but the Sooners have the running game and quarterback play to break it down and pull out a win. From there, it's all about a favorable schedule and a well-respected head coach.

Oklahoma will be a Top 10 team by season's end.

 

Oklahoma State Cowboys

WACO, TX - DECEMBER 1: J.W. Walsh #4 of the Oklahoma State University Cowboys celebrates a 1 yard touchdown run with teammate Kye Staley #9 against the Baylor University Bears on December 1, 2012 at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Cooper Ne
Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Record: 3-0, 0-0 Big 12

AP Poll: No. 11

USA Today Coaches Poll: No. 11

Next Game: at West Virginia

The Oklahoma State Cowboys will not play a ranked team until Saturday, Nov. 2, when they go on the road to play the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Already ranked No. 11 in the AP and Coaches polls, the Cowboys are on the brink of reaching the Top 10.

It's all a matter of winning the games that they're expected to win.

At the center of Oklahoma State's success is Heisman Trophy candidate J.W. Walsh. The sophomore quarterback has gone off for 642 yards and five touchdowns through the air, also running for 290 yards and seven scores.

Don't expect a Sept. 28 game against the West Virginia to change too much.

The Cowboys rank in the top 20 in both scoring offense and scoring defense, putting up 50-plus points in consecutive games after holding Mississippi State to just three points during Week 1. With as favorable a schedule as any team in the nation, expect the Cowboys to shine and maintain their success.

Already ranked No. 11, a Top 10 appearance is attainable by season's end.