Being ranked inside the AP Top 25 is a badge of honor for college football teams.
It’s a sign that the program is doing something right and often means that the squad is headed for a prestigious bowl game; with the potential to even be selected for a BCS matchup.
While it’s great to be ranked early in the season, it’s even more important to crash into the Top 25 later on in the year. That’s certainly no different in 2013, as a number of quality teams are angling to dive into the poll after Week 7.
Let’s take a look at the latest results and highlight a handful of schools that should be joining the ranks shortly.
There weren’t many expectations for the Tigers this season—not after a dismal 2012 campaign in which they finished just 3-9.
However, the Gus Malzahn era has begun with a bang, and the new head coach has his team off to a hot start. Auburn is currently sitting at 4-1, with a 35-21 loss to then-No. 6 LSU the only blemish on the record.
The Tigers recently pulled off a big win at home against then-No. 24 Ole Miss, routing the Rebels 30-22. They also have victories over Washington State, Arkansas State and Mississippi State.
Voters clearly think highly of this rebuilding program, as they are the top team outside the rankings with 61 nods in the “Others Receiving Votes” portion of the AP Top 25.
With a showdown against cupcake opponent Western Carolina next week, there is little doubt the Tigers could make a quick leap into the rankings. It would just take a slip from one of the numerous teams ahead of them.
Whether or not Auburn can remain ranked is the real question, as No. 9 Texas A&M looms on Oct. 19. That will be the true test of this young team and determine whether or not they deserve to be in the polls in 2013.
The Cornhuskers started the 2013 season ranked, but fell out of the Top 25 after a tough home loss to then-No. 16 UCLA. The team lost in Lincoln by 20 points in a 41-21 rout and has yet to recover in the voters' eyes.
That could all change in the near future. Nebraska has a shot this coming Saturday to win a third straight contest and remain undefeated in the Big Ten.
Purdue will be hosting the Huskers in an afternoon showdown and it’s hard to imagine the Boilermakers will give much resistance. They are a paltry 1-4 on the year and have suffered big losses to programs like Wisconsin and Northern Illinois.
Regardless, it’s a conference foe that pollsters will give the Blackshirts credit for beating and could move them up a few pegs on the big board.
As of Week 7, Nebraska is receiving the third-most votes—behind Auburn and Notre Dame—meaning it is poised to claim a Top 25 spot as long as the wins keep coming.
The real test for this Huskers squad will come in November, when the team takes on No. 19 Northwestern and No. 18 Michigan in back-to-back weeks.
Add in a showdown with Michigan State after that and you are looking at a grueling three-week stretch that could make or break this team’s chances of making the Big Ten title game out of the Legends Division.
Until then, Nebraska has a great shot of being ranked and should be somewhere inside the Top 25 by the time the meat of the conference schedule comes around.