College Football Rankings 2013: Highlighting Underrated Teams Lurking in Top 25
In general, it's hard to find too much fault with the rankings. The voters have done a good job balancing the preseason poll with results on the field.
As a fan, you don't want to get too worked up about the latest ranks. We're only six weeks into the season, so there's plenty of time for the teams you feel are ranked too low to come out and attain their rightful place.
However, the rankings on the following three teams are a bit deceiving, as they've been a bit undervalued by the voters despite what have been strong starts to the season. Don't be surprised to see them finish the season higher than they are.
No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes
Making the No. 4 team in the country underrated is not an easy thing to do, but that's what has happened with Ohio State. Likely a combination of the perception toward the Big Ten and the Buckeyes' rather soft schedule before Saturday, OSU has only dropped since the season began. It started at No. 2 in the preseason rankings but has been overtaken by Oregon and Clemson.
Maybe seeing one of those teams jump into second spot is fair enough, but seeing both leapfrog the Buckeyes is a bit quizzical.
Ohio State earned a nice win over the weekend, beating Wisconsin 31-24. There were some warning signs, but the Bucks passed their first real test of the season.
Perhaps it was encouraging that the Buckeyes won even with Braxton Miller not having a banner game. He looked like a quarterback who had missed the last two games. Once he's back to his best, though, the offense will be more than enough to cover what has been a spotty defense.
No. 11 Oklahoma Sooners
That hard-fought win against West Virginia is looking a little bit better for Oklahoma. At least the Sooners didn't lose, like their in-state rivals did on Saturday. OU also got a nice victory in South Bend against Notre Dame.
It was a comprehensive win. The defense intercepted Tommy Rees three times and held him to 104 yards passing. Blake Bell also completed 22 of 30 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns. The defense had a hard time stopping George Atkinson III, but to be fair, it's hard for a running back alone to win a game, especially when his quarterback is that bad.
The Sooners have a well-balanced team. The defense is ranked 17th, and the offense has Bell and Brennan Clay to offer the aerial and ground threats. They look far and away the class of the Big 12.
No. 24 Ole Miss Rebels
After that dismal display on Saturday night, most are probably completely dismissing Ole Miss. You can't blame them too much, as the Rebels were shut out by Alabama and only gained 205 yards. It was a great litmus test to see where this team is, and it's clear there's a lot of work to be done.
It's important, though, to not read too much into that one loss. Don't forget about the road wins against Texas and Vanderbilt. The Crimson Tide can make very good teams look pedestrian. They're the No. 1 team in the country, after all.
Ole Miss is still a relatively young team, especially on defense. Not every freshman is going to perform like Johnny Manziel did in Tuscaloosa.
They needed that baptism by fire to get them ready for the rest of the SEC schedule. The longer this season goes, the more the Rebels will improve.
This upcoming three-game stretch—at Auburn and home to Texas A&M and LSU—should be a much better barometer of where Ole Miss truly is.
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