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Unranked to start the season, but with BCS Potential

Each year, the NCAA polls are released in the preseason to much reaction and analysis. Yet, each year, many of those preseason predictions end up being laughable by the end of the season.

Last year the USC Trojans were ranked No. 1 to start the year but ended the season with a dismal 7-6 record.

Last September, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame were unranked, but tore through their schedule to end the regular season undefeated and reached the national championship game.

Teams such as Boise State and Northern Illinois have crashed the BCS Bowl game schedule with their superb play the last couple of seasons.

For this season, who will be that team or teams that start unranked but eventually might be there at season’s end fighting for the national championship.

Let’s start with Arizona State. The Sun Devils from Tempe did not have a stellar season last year in the Pac-12, but are poised to be in the national headlines when the season starts this September.

Fourteen of the 22 starters from last season are returning, including Will Sutton their defensive tackle that can stop a running and passing game all by himself. The Sun Devils defense was second overall in the Pac-12 last season.

Offensively with the dual running of D.J. Foster and Marion Grice, the Sun Devils could be rolling up points in large numbers. Taylor Kelly, the team’s quarterback had 29 touchdowns and could be even better in this his junior season.

The Bulldogs of Fresno State could also surprise many teams this season. The Bulldogs have 16 of their 22 starters returning from a team that was ranked both offensively and defensively in the top 25 in the nation.

Figuring to be their biggest returning player is Derek Carr their quarterback who had 37 touchdowns and over 4,100 yards through the air.

Fresno was 7-1 in Mountain West conference play and 9-4 overall after going just 4-9 during 2011.

One more team that could put the scare into many opponents and could be ranked high late in the season is the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes. Last season the Golden Hurricanes finished with an 11-3 record and took by storm the Conference USA.

The offense for Tulsa had one of the most exciting ground games in college football. Both tailbacks that helped the team average over 34 points a game are returning. The team steamrolled over Iowa State in last season’s Liberty Bowl in a 31-17 victory.

If the team wants to move up during this season and hope for a possible BCS berth, they need to defeat the teams they are not supposed to. For Tulsa that means upsetting Oklahoma in mid September.

These three teams and others might make such an impression this season that a BCS bowl could be on the horizon.



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