College Football: Texas A&M Is One Of The Biggest Surprises

The college football season is just about halfway done, and there have been a plethora of surprises as several teams in the preseason are now unranked.

Of the teams that started ranked in the Associated Press preseason top-25 poll, only 15 remain ranked after Week 6. In the meantime, 12 teams currently ranked in the Amway Coaches poll were unranked at one time this season. There are also just 11 NCAA FBS teams that remain undefeated with perhaps the biggest surprise being the Texas A&M Aggies.

Texas A&M upped its record to 6-0 on the season, including 4-0 in the SEC, with a 45-38 double-overtime victory over then-No. 9 Tennessee Volunteers (5-2, 2-1 SEC). Texas A&M began the season unranked and has slowly crept up in the top-10 in both polls.

The Aggies were predicted to finish with between six to nine wins and around four or five SEC victories by national publications. They currently have three victories over ranked teams and have averaged 40.2 points a game — which ranks No. 21 in the nation — while surrendering 19.2 points a contests – which also ranks 22nd in the country. A big reason Texas A&M is 6-0 for the first time since 1994 has been its running game.

Texas A&M’s running attack ranks eighth in the country with 274.3 yards a contest as freshman back Trayveon Williams has racked up 704 yards on just 82 carries. Senior quarterback Trevor Knight has added 502 yards on the ground and junior running back Keith Ford has contributed in 242 yards on 49 attempts. Williams ran for a season-high 217 yards, on 28 carries, against Tennessee and Knight had 110 yards, on 15 attempts, to mark just the second time since 1950 that the Aggies had a 200-yard and 100-yard rusher in the same game, according to Mark Schlabach of ESPN. Nineteen of their 28 offensive touchdowns have come on the ground.

“I believe in this team,” quarterback Trevor Knight told Sam Khan Jr. of ESPN. “And I know internally that we believe in each other. When our backs are against the wall and we have to make plays, we believe in the guy next to us, and it just happens.”

Texas A&M will have two weeks to patch up its defense before traveling to No. 1 Alabama on October 22. The Aggies defense blew a 21-point third quarter lead against Tennessee as they permitted 684 yards of total offense to the Volunteers.

The rest of the article will look at some of the other teams that are off to a good start.

UCF (3-2, 1-0 American Athletic): The Knights went 0-12 in 2015 and were projected to finish sixth in the American Athletic East division this year by Athalon Sports. UCF, which has won two straight, had its game this weekend against Tulane postponed this week. They will host Temple (3-3) on 10/15.

Navy (4-1, 3-0 American Athletic): The Midshipmen were supposed to challenge Houston for supremacy in the AAC West, but they now control their own destiny after upsetting the No. 6 Cougars 46-40 on Saturday. Navy’s victory over Houston was its first over a ranked team since 1984.

Virginia Tech (4-1, 3-0 ACC): The Hokies won their third straight game with a 34-3 victory at North Carolina this past week. Virginia Tech has one of the best defenses in the nation, surrendering just 15.6 points as the Hokes have given up 20 or more points once.

Arizona State (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12): The Sun Devils got a key 23-20 victory over UCLA on Saturday as senior kicker Zane Gonzales kicked three field goals to become the all-time FBS leader. ASU, which was without senior quarterback Manny Wilkins, has been outscored 102-94 in conference play.

Washington State (3-2, 2-0 Pac-12): The Cougars opened the season by dropping their first two games, but are undefeated since. WSU defeated then-No. 15 Stanford 42-16 this past weekend for its third straight victory. They are the 11th highest scoring team in the nation with 42.6 points a game. Quarterback Luke Falk has thrown for 300 or more yards in four games so far. Falk has also tossed 16 touchdowns compared to four interceptions.

Tulane (3-2, 0-1 American Athletic): The Green Wave have matched their win total from last season. Tulane’s two losses has come by a total of 10 points to Wake Forest and Navy.

Wake Forest ( 5-1, 2-1 ACC): The Demon Deacons need one more win to be bowl eligible for the first time since 2011. Wake Forest is solid on defense, giving up 18.0 points a game — which ranks 18th in the nation. They have three games against ranked teams remaining on their schedule.

Baylor (5-0, 2-0 Big-12): The Bears faced a lot of turmoil this offseason, and entered the season with a new coach Jim Grobe. Baylor, behind the arm of senior quarterback Seth Russell, has scored at least 35 points in each of its first five games. Their offense ranks 11th in scoring (42.6), 33rd in passing (278.2) and fifth in rushing (290.2) while their defense ranks 22nd, permitting 19.2 a contest.

Nebraska (5-0, 2-0 Big-12): The Cornhuskers have not been challenged a lot this season with their biggest win coming against previously ranked Oregon (35-32). Nebraska has given up just 88 points (tied-15th), including just 29 in conference play.

Western Michigan (6-0, 2-0 MAC): The Broncos were favored to win the MAC West, but it is a surprise they are one of the remaining undefeated teams. Western Michigan is 6-0 for the first time since 1941.

Eastern Michigan (4-2, 1-1 MAC): The Eagles are off to their best start since 1995 despite falling to Toledo 35-20 this past weekend.

Colorado (4-2, 2-1 Pac-12): The Buffaloes already have the most conference wins during fourth-year coach Mike MacIntyre’s tenure. Colorado also has matched last season’s win total, which ties the most wins in a season under MacIntyre.

[Featured Image by Scott Halleran/Getty Images]