Now that we’ve officially kicked off the 2011 season of college football, we can look forward to how the polls will shake out after a full weekend of play.
With games stretching from Thursday night all the way through Monday evening, it will take almost four full days to determine how the teams will stack up after actually (and finally) hitting the gridiron.
So, which teams that didn’t find their way into the preseason polls will manage to make an appearance in the rankings going into the Week 2 festivities?
The first obvious step in teams climbing upwards is that a certain number of ranked squads will have to drop out to make room, something that will happen either by a school in the lower Top 25 suffering a defeat or by virtue of a huge upset occurring to one of the higher rated teams (I’m getting excited just thinking about all the options).
The following slideshow identifies seven unranked squads that have a relatively good chance of finding the Top 25 after the dust settles on Week 1.
The key elements of these selections are that the team in question either has a realistic shot of upsetting a Top 25 team or they have received mention (points/votes) in either of the major preseason polls (but not enough to be ranked) and play an opponent that could produce a win worthy of upward mobility.
Though teams that finished just outside of the Top 25 window in both polls such as Penn State, Arizona State and Utah could be seen as candidates to squeak in, all three play FCS opponents in Week 1, which greatly weakens their argument to push upwards (though they no doubt will find the rankings in coming weeks if they continue to win).