10 College Football Teams That Are Overachieving After Week 6
We're through six weeks of the 2013 college football season, and there's already some unexpected teams climbing the rankings and demanding to be noticed.
Take the Washington Huskies. They didn't receive a single first-place vote in the Pac-12 preseason poll. But now they're ranked and considered a contender for a Pac-12 title.
You've also got the Baylor Bears, who were picked fifth in the Big 12 season poll but now boast the nation's most prolific offense and find themselves ranked in the top 15 of the country.
Take a look at some of the other overachieving teams of college football through Week 6.
Quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted
Who would've thought that the Missouri Tigers matchup with the Georgia Bulldogs this weekend would be a battle of ranked teams?
The Tigers were picked second-to-last in the Eastern Division of the SEC preseason poll after going just 5-7 in their inaugural year in the league last season.
But this year, the Tigers have started at 5-0, already matching their win total of all of last season. And now Missouri has a legitimate chance to do the unthinkable and knock off the Georgia Bulldogs.
Quarterback James Franklin has been excellent this year, throwing for 1,407 yards and 13 touchdowns. Running back Henry Josey, who missed all of last year with an injury, has six rushing touchdowns as well.
What's most dangerous about the Tigers this season is their ability to put up points. According to ESPN, Missouri ranks eighth in the country in points per game at 46.6. That's certainly something to be concerned about if you're Georgia.
If the Tigers pull off the upset this weekend, they could be in a prime position to make a run at an SEC title game as Alabama is not on their schedule.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
The Texas Tech Red Raiders were one of just four Big 12 teams to not receive a first-place vote in the Big 12 preseason poll. That dubious honor was only shared by West Virginia, Iowa State and Kansas.
But under new head coach Kliff Kingsbury's uptempo offense, which has defined the Red Raiders since Mike Leach was at the helm in Lubbock, this team is now just one of three undefeated teams left in the Big 12 at 5-0.
Freshman walk-on quarterback Baker Mayfield has been particularly great this season, as he leads the nation's third-best passing attack. The Red Raiders as a team average 407.6 yards through the air, while Mayfield has racked up 1,488 yards and eight touchdown tosses.
The Red Raiders are in the midst of a seven-game stretch in Big 12 play that includes road trips to Oklahoma and Baylor, the other two unbeaten conference teams. If they can win both of those, it's hard not to peg the Red Raiders as the league favorites going down the stretch.
Fresno State Bulldogs
Quarterback Derek Carr is making a serious run as a contender for the Heisman Trophy as he has led the Fresno State Bulldogs to a perfect 5-0 start.
The season started with a 52-51 win in overtime over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Two games later, the Bulldogs delivered the Boise State Broncos second loss of the year in a 41-40 shootout.
Now the Bulldogs are ranked No. 21 in the country in the AP Poll and poised to make a run at a BCS bowl, similar to how Northern Illinois did last year.
Carr has been the heart and soul of this team. He ranks fourth in the country in passing yards (1,864), second in passing touchdowns (19) and second in completions (183), according to ESPN.
The Bulldogs have no ranked teams left on their schedule. So a perfect season, a Mountain West title and a BCS bowl is within their grasp.
By the way, Fresno State was picked to finish second in the Mountain West preseason poll behind the Broncos.
One of just three undefeated teams left in the Big 12, the Oklahoma Sooners are proving to be the best team in the league so far this year.
The Sooners, who lost Landry Jones, the Big 12's all-time leader in passing yards, are a perfect 5-0 to start the year. The season's defining win for Oklahoma came on the road, when they upended the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 35-21.
Oklahoma came into the season picked to finish second in the Big 12 preseason poll behind in-state rival Oklahoma State. The Cowboys received 15 first place votes, while the Sooners received eight.
Instead, Oklahoma State has faltered to a 1-1 start in conference play while the Sooners look like the team to beat in the Big 12.
Jones' replacement, quarterback Blake Bell, has been impressive and is the biggest reason why Oklahoma hasn't skipped a beat. After not starting the first two games, Bell earned the job against Tulsa and sealed it with his win over Notre Dame.
The Washington Huskies didn't receive a single first-place vote in the Pac-12 preseason poll. For what it's worth, USC received four.
But the Huskies hit the ground running with a dominating 38-6 win over then-No. 19 Boise State in Week 1. Washington rattled off three more wins and climbed to No. 15 in the AP poll before losing to Stanford last week 31-28.
But nevertheless, behind quarterback Keith Price and running back Bishop Sankey, the Huskies are still considered serious contenders for a Pac-12 title as they head into their matchup with the Oregon Ducks this weekend.
The Huskies run one of the most balanced offenses in the country, ranking in the top 25 in both rushing and passing yards per game according to ESPN.
Their defense also ranks 11th in the nation in points allowed per game at 14.8.
Oregon has yet to face a team anywhere close to the caliber of Washington. That may allow the Huskies to sneak up on the Ducks and pull off one of college football's biggest upsets of the year on Saturday.
Virginia Tech Hokies
Coming off a 7-6 year in 2012, the Virginia Tech Hokies were simply hoping to improve by a few wins in 2013. And after being routed by top-ranked Alabama 35-10 in Week 1, it looked like 2013 was going to be a long year in Blacksburg, Va.
Instead, the Hokies haven't dropped a game since that Week 1 loss and now sit at 5-1 overall and are ranked No. 24 in the country.
The Hokies received just one first place vote in the ACC preseason poll, but instead the Hokies are poised to make a run at the league title. The Hokies don't face Clemson or Florida State, so should they beat Miami on Nov. 9, they should be set for the ACC title game.
Virginia Tech's offense hasn't been much to write home about. It ranks 89th in passing and 93rd in rushing according to ESPN.
But the Hokies defense, led by linebacker Jack Tyler, has been one of the best units in the country this year. They rank 12th in points allowed (16.0 per game) and fifth in total defense (263.7 yards allowed per game).
A great defense will always keep Virginia Tech in every game they play, which has made them a dark horse for the ACC conference title.
Although the Maryland Terrapins just got throttled by Florida State 63-0, that shouldn't take away the accomplishments this team has so far in 2013.
That loss to the Seminoles was actually the first of the season for Maryland as they started the season 4-0, including a 37-0 win over West Virginia.
The Terrapins didn't receive a single vote in either the AP or Coaches preseason polls. But going into their matchup with Florida State, Maryland was ranked No. 25 in the AP poll.
Much of Maryland's success is thanks to senior quarterback C.J. Brown, who has only thrown one interception this season but has over 1,100 yards through the air.
On Oct. 26, the Terrapins take on the Clemson Tigers in what could be a much more interesting game than most thought it would've been in the preseason.
The Miami Hurricanes proved they are the real deal in 2013 with their punctuating Week 2 win over the Florida Gators.
Despite receiving just three first place votes in the ACC preseason poll, the Hurricanes are a huge threat to Clemson and Florida State in the league.
The Hurricanes have been great on both sides of the ball, ranking 10th in scoring and 12th in scoring defense according to ESPN.
Miami also ranks second in the nation in passing defense, which will be huge if they hope to beat quarterback Jameis Winston and the Florida State Seminoles on Nov. 2.
Through just five games in the season, the Auburn Tigers are 4-1 and have already improved on their win total from last year.
Now the Tigers are looking like an SEC squad that can make a run at a top four finish in the SEC after beating then-No. 22 Ole Miss 30-22 last week.
Auburn's rejuvenation has come on the ground as the Tigers rank 18th in the country in rushing yards per game. The Tigers have four players with over 200 rushing yards on the season, led by Tre Mason who has racked up 415 along with five rushing touchdowns.
In two weeks, the Tigers will face another huge test as they face Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies in College Station, Texas.
"Big 12 championship, national title. Heisman Trophy winner. Why not?"
That's what Baylor Bears running back Lache Seastrunk said at Big 12 media days, shortly after his team had been picked fifth in the conference preseason poll.
Well now the Bears are top 15 team, undefeated at 4-0 and boast the nation's most prolific offense.
The Bears rank first in the nation in total offense with an average of 779.5 yards per game. That's over 100 yards better than the Oregon Ducks, who rank second in that category with 630.4 yards per game.
Baylor's offensive production is a result of quarterback Bryce Petty and running back Lache Seastrunk, the best two-headed monster in college football.
Petty is sixth in the nation with a 72.8 completion percentage, while Seastrunk ranks second in the country with an average of 147.3 yards per game on the ground.
The Bears head to Manhattan, Kan. this week to face the Kansas State Wildcats, the team they upset last year when the Wildcats were No. 1 in the country.
If Baylor finishes the season undefeated, there is a serious case to be made for them being considered for the BCS National Championship.