In the heart of college football’s Week 4, there are four teams that have managed to fly under the radar despite their impressive performances on the field.
As we delve into the stories of these underrated teams, it becomes clear that their potential to shake up the college football landscape is worth keeping an eye on.
Louisville Cardinals (3-0, unranked)
In Jeff Brohm’s first year at his alma mater, he has the Cardinals sitting at 3-0 with two close wins over Power 5 opponents and one blowout win over an FCS foe.
Louisville has been the definition of consistent offensively, with Jack Plummer, Jawhar Jordan, and Jamari Thrash leading the Cardinals in passing, rushing, and receiving, respectively, through the first three games of the season. They have a clear offensive identity and have built a winning formula.
The Cardinals are double-digit favorites heading into this weekend’s matchup against Boston College, and should pull out a win against a down NC State team the following week. If Louisville takes care of business against both of those teams, the Cardinals will head into their biggest challenge of the season against Notre Dame sitting at 5-0 and possibly ranked in the top-25.
UCF Knights (3-0, unranked)
There was some uncertainty surrounding UCF heading into Week 3 after losing starting quarterback John Rhy Plumlee for multiple weeks with a leg injury, but the Knights looked excellent in their 48-14 beatdown of Villanova. This was one of the best FCS teams in the country, so a win by that wide a margin is nothing to scoff at. It appears the Knights will be fine with Timmy McClain behind center while Plumlee recovers.
The Knights have a fascinating matchup in their Big 12 opener, taking on Kansas State on the road. The Wildcats will certainly be locked in, looking to bounce back after a devastating 30-28 loss to Missouri last week on the road. The crowd in Manhattan will be charged up and ready to hand UCF its first loss as a member of the Big 12.
I think UCF has what it takes to turn the tables and hand K-State its second consecutive loss, but McClain will need to replicate his performance against Villanova to make it happen.
Syracuse Orange (3-0, unranked)
No one, and I mean no one is talking about Syracuse. Why? The Orange have absolutely throttled every team its played thus far, including a 15-point disposal of Purdue on the road.
As it turns out, senior quarterback Garrett Shrader is a baller. The Mississippi State transfer is in his third year at Syracuse and he looks more dynamic than ever. In last week’s win against Purdue, he rushed for 195 yards and four touchdowns. He’s gone for over 250 passing yards in the other two games.
He’s going to be a problem in the ACC, and, as a result, Syracuse will, too.
Washington State Cougars (3-0, No. 23)
To be fair, Washington State is getting some credit. The problem is, it’s a lot less credit than most of the other teams in the PAC-12 are getting this year.
Cam Ward has been electric this season, leading the team to a 3-0 start with a massive win against No. 19 Wisconsin. The Cougars also demolished Colorado State, 50-24, while other teams in the conference are being congratulated and crowned for narrowly defeating the Rams. I digress.
Washington State is a complete football team capable of contending for the conference title. Keep an eye on the Cougars in this week’s top-25 tilt against No. 14 Oregon State – another chance for Washington State to earn some respect.
Honorable Mentions: Duke Blue Devils, Georgia State Panthers, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Liberty Flames
As college football enthusiasts look ahead to the coming weeks, it’s apparent that these four underrated teams hold the potential to rewrite the narrative of the season.
Louisville’s consistent offensive identity may see them rise in the rankings if they continue their winning ways. UCF’s Timmy McClain-led Knights face a significant test in the Big 12 opener against Kansas State, with an opportunity to make a statement. The Syracuse Orange, despite the lack of attention, have a dynamic playmaker in Garrett Shrader who could be a game-changer in the ACC. Lastly, the Washington State Cougars have already demonstrated their mettle with impressive wins, and their upcoming clash against No. 14 Oregon State presents another chance to gain the respect they rightfully deserve.
These underrated teams have the potential to redefine the college football landscape in the weeks to come, proving that sometimes it’s the quiet ones who make the most noise.
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