College Football Rankings 2013: Teams on Verge of Cracking Top 25 in Week 8

Emily BayciContributor IIIOctober 16, 2013

LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 5: Running back Ameer Abdullah #8 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers during their game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

After an intense Week 7 of college football, there was an expected shakeup in the AP rankings. With half the top teams remaining undefeated, the majority of those spots are hard earned.

Now that conference play is truly underway and the season is in full swing, there are a few teams waiting to make a charge into the rankings.

There are four teams who simply need to perform to potential and will be bound to break into the Top 25.

LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 5: Wide receiver Jamal Turner #10 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers jumps on the shoulders of his teammates before their game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Eric
Eric Francis/Getty Images

 

Nebraska

I’m still wondering why Nebraska did not make the Top 25 in the first place.

The Huskers are currently ranked No. 21 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, but cannot seem to break into the AP Poll.

It is difficult to say that Northern Illinois or Auburn can really be better than Nebraska. The Cornhuskers' only loss was to UCLA, which is a top-10 team. Nebraska is averaging more than 40 points per game, and its defense is continually improving. As long as the Cornhuskers build off how they have been performing, the rankings should eventually reflect it.

 

Texas

Oct 12, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns defensive tackle Chris Whaley (96) celebrates scoring a touchdown on an interception return with defensive tackle Malcom Brown (90) in the first quarter of the game against the Oklahoma Sooners during the Red
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

When the Texas Longhorns had a history-making upset last Saturday and beat No. 18 Oklahoma 36-20, it was the start of a revolution for the Texas offense. The offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage, allowing Case McCoy to total 190 yards and two touchdowns.

Another week following this game plan is what the Longhorns need. Texas fans were becoming skeptical due to a shaky start in non conference play before the Oklahoma victory. Now, the Longhorns are on the path to a Big 12 title and can easily climb into the rankings.

 

Notre Dame

Oct 5, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils wide receiver Jaelen Strong (21) catches a pass for a touchdown in front of Notre Dame Fighting Irish safety Austin Collinsworth (28) in the second quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt C
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

As Notre Dame charges into a less-anticipated-than-the-norm rivalry face-off against USC, the Fighting Irish have a lot to prove. The the return of USC star wide receiver Marqise Lee will put the Notre Dame defense to an ultimate test. However, the ability to shut him down can lead Notre Dame to the strong finish its loyal fanbase is waiting for.

 

Michigan State

Oct 12, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans running back R.J. Shelton (12) runs for a touchdown against Indiana Hoosiers during the second half in a game at Spartan Stadium. MSU won 42-28. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

There has been a lack of Big Ten representation in the rankings, which can easily change. Michigan State’s offense finally came together against Indiana last weekend, and the team proved its offense will pose a serious threat in conference play. Michigan State has hit a balance in its rushing attack and passing game, which leads to a more unpredictable offense.

Entering a game against Purdue, the Spartans have no excuse for anything less than a blowout. Solid play on both ends can give the team a good buffer as it faces tougher competitors. That cushion should put the Spartans back on the board.

AP Top 25
RankTeamRecord
1Alabama6-0
2Oregon6-0
3Clemson6-0
4Ohio State6-0
5Florida State5-0
6LSU6-1
7Texas A & M5-1
8Louisville6-0
9UCLA5-0
10Miami (FL)5-0
11South Carolina5-1
12Baylor5-0
13Stanford5-1
14Missouri6-0
15Georgia4-2
16Texas Tech6-0
17Fresno State5-0
18Oklahoma5-1
19Virginia Tech6-1
20Washington4-2
21Oklahoma State4-1
22Florida4-2
23Northern Illinois6-0
24Auburn5-1
25Wisconsin4-2
Associated Press