The odds were against them at the start of the season for a variety of reasons. They aren’t part of the college football elite, they don’t (with one exception ) have a track record of success which would enhance their status.
The odds are still against them, halfway through the season.
And the odds will still be against them at the end of the season.
Say hello to college football’s under appreciated, maybe underrated and certainly under publicized power 5 teams, who have a combined record of 26-0. Three of them, UCF (Central Florida), South Florida and Cincinnati are from the underrated American Athletic Conference. The other two, North Carolina State and Colorado, are from Power 5 conferences, but are receiving little or no recognition for their accomplishments thus far.
All 5 finally achieved some status this week by climbing into the Top 25.
UCF, which also has the longest winning streak in the FBS (18 games) is getting the most recognition and has climbed to No. 9 in the rankings. The Knights finished at No. 6 last season, after capping an unbeaten season with a Peach Bowl victory over Auburn.
Had UCF been from a Power 5 conference instead of the AAC and had a quarterback with the credentials of McKenzie Milton returning, they would have been a lock as a Top 10 team in the pre-season rankings. Instead, they started this year ranked No. 21, behind such schools as Virginia Tech, Florida State and even Auburn, who they beat in January.
UCF’s AAC brethren, USF and Cincinnati. came from an unranked status to No. 23 (USF) and No. 25 (Cincinnati) this week.
North Carolina State (No. 20) is in the same league and same conference (Atlantic Coast Conference) as Clemson and has ripped through the first half of its season without a loss and almost without recognition. That matter will be clarified on Oct. 20 when the Wolfpack travels to Clemson.
Colorado is perhaps the most invisible unbeaten team. Playing in the lightly regarded Pac-12 conference against a schedule (Colorado State, New Hampshire, UCLA, Nebraska, Arizona State) with a combined record of 6-21 has not helped.
Of that group, Arizona State (3-3) is the only team at or above the .500 mark. And playing in the Pac-12’s Friday night, Saturday night lights rotation has also kept the Buffaloes grazing in the darkness.
As an example of the lack of respect, the Buffs are underdogs by nearly a touchdown for this week’s game at a 3-2 USC.
Having said all of that, this magic carpet ride might not last much longer.
Someone has to lose among the three AAC teams since they all must play each other. NC State must get past Clemson. Colorado, if it is legitimate, must deal with a road game at Washington a week after the game at USC.
So this is likely to be the high point for this unsung group of 5, which is why we are naming them TMG Newsmakers of the Week.