College Football Rankings: 5 Underrated Teams as We Approach the BCS Rankings

John BradfordCorrespondent IOctober 11, 2011

College Football Rankings: 5 Underrated Teams as We Approach the BCS Rankings

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    Six weeks into the season, the college football rankings have started to take form.

    While many of the top teams are those that we all expected to see, some teams are flying under the radar.

    So, whether they have been written off or just can't get respect they deserve, who are these teams?

    Let's take a look at five underrated teams as we approach the announcement of the first BCS rankings. 

South Carolina

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    If what we saw out of Connor Shaw against Kentucky wasn’t an aberration, South Carolina could be for real. The Gamecocks are ranked 12th in the Coaches' Poll, with their only loss coming at the hands of Auburn.

    The South Carolina defense—featuring talented pass rushers Melvin Ingram and Jadeveon Clowney—could flourish with fewer turnovers from its offense. If Shaw can hold on to the football, as Stephen Garcia couldn’t, the Gamecocks are the favorites in the SEC East. 

Arizona State

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    Playing out of the Pac-12 spotlight, Arizona State has handled its business this season. With their only loss being to undefeated Illinois, the Sun Devils are 5-1 for the year and ranked 20th in the Coaches' Poll. 

    Having already defeated USC, Dennis Erickson’s bunch is in the driver's seat for the Southern Division Crown. If they can defeat an Oregon team that could be without LaMichael James this weekend, the Sun Devils will be favored in the remainder of their games.

Stanford

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    Although no player gets more attention than Andrew Luck, his team is flying under the radar.

    No one expected Stanford to repeat last season's performance, following the departure of Jim Harbaugh. Although ranked fifth in the Coaches' Poll, the Cardinal don’t get the respect of other top five teams.  

    Stanford’s defense is giving up only 10.6 PPG, and the Cardinal have won every game by at least 25 points. Their schedule is back-loaded, but don’t expect the boys from Palo Alto to go anywhere. 

Clemson

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    Maybe people have held off on Clemson because of their history: For years, they got off to hot starts, only to tail off in the second half of the season.

    This team should be different, if for no other reason than their schedule.

    The Tigers have already survived their toughest stretch, defeating Auburn, Florida State and Virginia Tech in consecutive weeks. Georgia Tech and South Carolina remain on the schedule, but, barring a bad loss, this should be a 10-win team with a chance to play for an ACC Title. 

Texas A&M

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    After back-to-back losses to Oklahoma State and Arkansas, most people jumped off of the Aggies bandwagon. Don’t give up just yet, though—Texas A&M has enough talent to beat any team on its schedule, including Oklahoma. 

    At the end of the year, this team should be right about where we expected them. With only one conference loss, don’t count them out in the Big 12.