This college football season has been unpredictable, to say the least. With a team like Auburn (who completed an unlikely comeback from three wins last year to just one loss this season) in the BCS National Championship game, this year has had its fair share of storylines.
With the bowl announcements and the final BCS rankings coming out Sunday, here is where some of the most underrated teams will land when the bowl season officially rolls around.
The Duke football team may have been blown out by Florida State in the ACC Championship game, but who hasn't? The Seminoles have beaten their opponents by an average of 42.3 points this season, so the 45-7 loss was actually right on par with where other teams have finished against the current No. 1 team in the nation.
For a Blue Devils team that has done nothing but exceed expectations all year en route to a 10-3 record at this point, they likely won't replace Florida State in the Orange Bowl as the second team taken in the ACC. According to Laura Keeley of The News & Observer in Raleigh, NC, Duke was nearly jumped by Miami for the Chick-fil-A bowl, the No. 4 team in the conference:
If #Duke does not go to the Chick Fil A bowl, it will be because that bowl had an 11th hour (literally, after last night) change of heart— Laura Keeley (@laurakeeley) December 8, 2013
But she later tweeted the Blue Devils will play in Atlanta against an SEC opponent, likely Georgia:
source confirms #Duke to the Chick-fil-A bowl in Atlanta on the 31st. I've learned much about bowl politics today— Laura Keeley (@laurakeeley) December 8, 2013
For coach David Cutcliffe and the Blue Devils, this season has been one that sets the bar for the program. But unfortunately, due to the history of the two programs, Miami overtook Duke despite being ranked ahead of the Hurricanes in the Coastal Division, having more wins and winning the head-to-head matchup.
It's hard to call an 11-1 team underrated, but at No. 15 in the AP Poll after winning the American Athletic Conference Championship game, the Knights are still not seen as a worthy challenger to win a BCS bowl game.
The Knights will likely land in the Fiesta Bowl and face Big-12 Champion Baylor in a game that could be won strictly on the offensive side of the ball. UCF has scored 35 or more points six times this season, but will face a Bears offense that scores 53.3 points per game, the highest in the country.
While the Knights will likely not be able to pull off a huge upset against the high-powered Baylor offense, this should be a game to watch if they can slow down the Bears like they did against Louisville
The Gamecocks can beat nearly any team in the country. But after two losses to the then-ranked No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs and Tennessee, South Carolina has not been talked about thanks to other teams inside its strong conference.
But with the 14th-ranked scoring defense in the country that just shut down Clemson for only 17 points, the Gamecocks will have to prove themselves in a non-BCS bowl game. The Gamecocks may have knocked off teams like Missouri and Clemson, but Evan Flood of 247Sports said an appearance in the Capital One Bowl seems likely:
The Gamecocks may had bigger dreams heading into the season, but defeating Wisconsin and finishing 11-2 might wash some of the bitter taste out of their mouths.