College Football Teams That Are Overachieving After Week 9
Upsets have run rampant through the 2013 college football season, leaving several teams as underachievers and numerous others as overachievers.
After their win over Texas A&M, the Auburn Tigers emerged as major overachievers, as few gave them a chance in the SEC before the year began.
Across the conference from Auburn, the Missouri Tigers have gone on an undefeated run through the first eight weeks despite notching a losing record in their first year in the league.
The wide-open Big 12 also provided a perfect scenario for a pair of dark-horse teams to rise while a few previous favorites have fallen.
Finally, one ACC team has made it back up near the level that made it an elite program years ago.
Note: All team rankings based on the Week 9 BCS standings unless otherwise noted.
Miami (Fla.)'s start isn't extremely surprising, considering the Hurricanes were picked to win the ACC Coastal Division in the preseason.
However, the Canes were on the outside looking in at the preseason AP Top 25 and have had a penchant for underachieving in recent years.
They haven't had a 10-win season since joining the ACC in 2004 but are poised to hit that mark this season, sitting at 6-0 with four winnable games left on the schedule.
Miami has been strong on defense and in the running game, much like the Hurricane teams of the early 2000s. The next step is taking down Florida State and Virginia Tech to compete for a national title like those teams from a decade ago.
Picked to finish fifth in the Big 12 before the season, Baylor is now the outright favorite in the league, and it isn't really close.
The Bears have averaged nearly 65 points and more than 700 yards per game this season and have improved each of the last two seasons, despite losing their starting quarterbacks both years.
The BU offense isn't that much of a surprise, as points have come easily in Waco under head coach Art Briles. However, the Bears defense has overachieved the most.
BU is No. 2 in the Big 12 in total defense and No. 1 in scoring defense, allowing just 317.3 yards and 16.2 points per game on average.
Baylor received just two first-place votes in the preseason media poll. If those two media members put money on those predictions, they'll be cashing in big time in a few weeks.
Before the season, Missouri was to the SEC what Ralph Nader is to a presidential election: just there, but not a real threat to do much of anything. Now, all of a sudden, the Tigers have picked up a few electoral votes, showing they can compete in college football's toughest conference.
Mizzou was predicted to finish sixth in the SEC East Division and is now fifth in the country.
Missouri and two-time defending national champion Alabama are the only two undefeated teams in the SEC, and with a win this weekend over South Carolina, the boys from "CoMo" (Columbia, Mo.) will have the East title essentially locked up.
They managed a win over one of the division's preseason favorites, Florida, even without their starting quarterback James Franklin.
Mizzou isn't a mirage. The Tigers have talent.
While Baylor was picked fifth, with two first-place votes in the preseason Big 12 media poll, Texas Tech was tabbed at No. 7 with zero first-place nods.
Now the Red Raiders are unblemished and at No. 10 in the BCS.
They managed this incredible start under a first-year head coach, Kliff Kingsbury, and with two true freshmen swapping in and out at quarterback: Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb.
The only reason this strong start by TTU isn't more of a shock is its weak schedule thus far. The Red Raiders have four wins in Big 12 play against four of the worst teams in the conference.
Their true mettle will be put to the test over the coming weeks.
The same poll that tabbed Missouri at No. 6 in the SEC East selected Auburn at a very distant No. 5 in the SEC West.
After the Tigers ended 2012 at 3-9 without a single win in conference play, that distinction seemed accurate. After sustaining the program's worst season in 60 years, not much was expected of the 2013 Tigers.
However, they wasted no time flipping the script under new head coach Gus Malzahn. Sitting at 6-1 overall and at No. 11 in the BCS, Auburn looks like it will go 9-3 at worst, effectively reversing its fortune from 2012.
At best, the Tigers could knock off rival Alabama in the final week of the season to win the West. Now who predicted that scenario before the season?