These 13 programs have put together magical campaigns entering week seven.
Each team has a different style when it comes to winning. Some get it done with offense, others with defense, and a couple with both. What all of the teams share in common is success.
All 13 have exceeded expectations thus far and the best is yet to come. The more the victories stockpile, the bigger the targets become on these players’ jerseys, and they should be expecting every opponents’ best from this point moving forward.
There’s still a lot of football left to be played, but these teams look like contenders and been eliminating all of the pretenders in their path.
13. UTSA (6-0): It’s just his second season leading the Roadrunners, but Jeff Traylor is looking like an early Coach of the Year candidate. UTSA has won nine of its’ last 10 games overall. The Roadrunners are averaging 37.5 points per game. Running back Sincere McCormick was the nation’s No. 2 rusher in 2020, and he leads the country in carries this fall. McCormick has four 100-yards games and a total of 661 on the ground, which ranks eighth in the FBS. Quarterback Frank Harris already has the amount of touchdown passes that he finished with last season. Harris threw for 349 yards and six touchdowns in last week’s win over Western Kentucky. Wide receiver De’Corian Clark has 269 receiving yards and four touchdown catches over the past two games. Roadrunners are the only undefeated team that’s not ranked.
12. Southern Methodist, (6-0): Sonny Dykes is showing the rest of the country that his system can excel in the right conference. Despite operating with a new quarterback this fall, the 23rd-ranked Mustangs have one of the best offenses in the nation. SMU currently ranks top-10 nationally in points and yards per game. Quarterback Tanner Mordecai has been putting up video game numbers. The former Oklahoma Sooner leads the nation with 26 touchdown passes. Not to mention Mordecai has thrown for 1,893 yards, which ranks sixth in the FBS. Wide receivers Danny Gray and Rashee Rice have been a deadly combo. Gray is tied for sixth in the FBS in touchdown catches, while Rice is tied for 12th. In hindsight, SMU is Cincinnati’s biggest threat to a second-straight undefeated regular season.
11. Wake Forest, (6-0): No one envisioned the Demon Deacons would be the last unblemished ACC team. Dave Clawson continues to show why he’s one of the most underrated coaches in the country. Thanks to the play of quarterback Sam Hartman and a set of elite receivers in Jaquarii Roberson and A.T. Perry, Wake Forest ranks 14th in the FBS in points per game. Hartman has been lighting defenses up all season. His14 touchdowns passes is tied for 11th-best in the country. He threw for a season-high, 330 yards and three touchdowns in the road win at Syracuse last week. Roberson and Perry eclipsed the century mark in receiving against Louisville. The defense has a knack for creating turnovers. The team ranks sixth in the FBS in turnover margin, plus the defense has 21 sacks and seven interceptions.
10. San Diego State, (5-0): Everyone forgot about Brady Hoke. The same coach who Michigan fired and replaced with Jim Harbaugh. Now Hoke has the 24th-ranked Aztecs looking like contenders in his fourth season patrolling the sidelines. San Diego State has a hard-nosed defense and a physical rushing attack. Pounding the ball has been successful for Hoke, which helps the Aztecs dominate time of possession and keeps the defense fresh.The Aztecs are averaging 244.4 rushing yards per game and have 15 touchdowns on the ground. The defense ranks second in the FBS against the run and sixth in total yards allowed. The pass rush is ferocious and the group has generated a jaw-dropping, 18 sacks. Not to mention the unit has intercepted seven passes. The team can easily run the table the rest of the way.
9. Michigan State, (6-0): Mel Tucker has the 10th-ranked Spartans balling out of their minds in his second season. The offense has took the Big Ten by storm, and ranks 15th in the FBS in total yards per game. Quarterback Payton Thorne is second in the league, with 14 touchdown passes. Running back Kenneth Walker III is looking like a Heisman candidate, and leads the nation in rushing yards. He also has nine touchdowns on the ground. Michigan State’s receivers are dynamic. Jalen Nailor is a speedster, who ranks second in the conference with six touchdown catches. Jayden Reed has hauled in five touchdown passes of his own. The Spartans’ defense continues to wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks. The unit has stockpiled a jaw-dropping, 23 sacks, which ranks first in the Big Ten and fifth in the FBS.
8. Oklahoma State, (5-0): The Cowboys are one of two unblemished Big 12 teams. Although Mike Gundy is an offensive guru, Oklahoma State is excelling on the defensive side of the ball this fall. The unit ranks ninth in the nation against the run and 12th in total yards allowed. The Pokes are tied for first in the league with 16 sacks. Quarterback Spencer Sanders has been operating like a seasoned veteran. He’s surrounded by a plethora of talented young receivers, and they’ve got chemistry. Running back Jaylen Warren has turned it up over the past three games. He rushed for a season-high, 218 yards against Boise State, 123 against Kansas State and 125 against Baylor. Receiver Davontavean Martin has had two 100-yard receiving games. Oklahoma State is looking extremely dangerous coming off a bye-week.
7. Kentucky, (6-0): The 11th-ranked Wildcats are one of two undefeated teams in the SEC. Mark Stoops has a stifling defense and a punishing ground game. Quarterback Will Levis has been an upgrade for the offense. He threw for a season-high, 367 yards and four touchdowns in the opener against Louisiana-Monroe. He’s also coming off a three-touchdown performance against LSU. Running back Chris Rodriguez is one of the SEC’s best. He went over 100 yards rushing in five of Kentucky’s six games this season. Former Nebraska wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson has made an immediate impact, with three 100-yard games in 2021. Robinson also caught a touchdown against Florida and LSU. Kentucky ranks 18th nationally and third in the SEC in total defense. All eyes will be on the matchup against Georgia.
6. Oklahoma, (6-0): The fourth-ranked Sooners have lived on the edge all season and ha the nation’s longest winning streak. However, Oklahoma has delivered every time in the clutch. Lincoln Riley’s team is averaging 41.2 points per game, which ranks second in the Big 12 and eighth in the FBS. Regardless, the Sooners should be winning more convincingly. Riley benched quarterback Spencer Rattler and inserted Caleb Williams in last week’s win over Texas. Fans are hoping the change will light a fire under the offense. Running back Kennedy Brooks rushed for a season-high, 217 yards and two touchdowns against the Longhorns. Wideout Marvin Mims made a statement in the Red River Rivalry, with 136 receiving yards and two scores. Nose guard Perrion Winfrey has dominated the interior, and has 4.5 sacks.
5. Coastal Carolina, (6-0): The Chanticleers have a team worthy of a top-10 ranking, but are currently 15th. Coastal Carolina hasn’t lost a regular season game since November of 2019. The Chanticleers are the lone team that rank in the top-five nationally in total offense and total defense. Quarterback Grayson McCall may not be the flashiest player, but there’s no denying that he’s a winner. He’s coming off a monster game against Arkansas State, with 365 yards through the air and four touchdown passes. Running back Semari Jones has had three 100-yard games. Wideout Jaivon Heiligh went over 100 yards receiving against The Citadel, Buffalo and Arkansas State. Tight end Isaiah Likely caught four touchdowns against the Red Wolves. Edge rusher Jeffrey Gunter is elite, with seven tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.
4. Michigan, (6-0): Jim Harbaugh has finally assembled a team worthy of a run at the Big Ten Championship. The Wolverines are ranked No. 8 in the AP Poll and off to a 6-0 start for the first time since 2016. Michigan ranks in the top 15 nationally in scoring offense and scoring defense. Quarterback Cade McNamara has stepped his game up and been in full command of the offense. He had two touchdown passes apiece against Western Michigan and Wisconsin. Running back Blake Corum has three 100-yard rushing performances under his belt. Not to mention he rushed for thee touchdowns apiece against Washington and Northern Illinois. Hassan Haskins steamrolled for 123 yards and two scores last week at Nebraska. The Wolverines are also one of the nation’s best teams at creating turnovers.
3. Cincinnati, (5-0): The third-ranked Bearcats haven’t lost a regular season game since November of 2019. Luke Fickell is looking like a Coach of the Year candidate and Cincinnati is knocking on the door at postseason glory. The Bearcats rank in the top-10 nationally in scoring offense and scoring defense. Quarterback Desmond Ridder is arguably one of the best leaders in today’s game, and all he does is win. However, the Bearcats strength is their defense. Cincinnati ranks in the top-20 in total and pass defense. Cincinnati is fifth in the country in turnover margin. Not to mention the Bearcats’ defense has picked off nine passes, which is tied for fifth in the FBS. Although Cincinnati beat Indiana and Notre Dame, the schedule softens up the rest of the way. If SMU remains undefeated, it’ll boost Cincinnati’s resume.
2. Iowa, (6-0): The Hawkeyes have the second-longest winning streak at 12 games, and their highest AP ranking since 1985. Kirk Ferentz has assembled a tenacious defense, that ranks in the top-10 nationally in points and yards allowed. Iowa’s secondary is full of ballhawks and the defense leads the country with a jaw-dropping, 16 interceptions. There’s a reason why the Hawkeyes are No. 1 in the nation at creating turnovers. On the offensive of the ball Iowa is still blue collar. Quarterback Spencer Petras’ maturation process is starting to take flight. He’s doing a solid job using the weapons around him, but the offense needs more production. All-Big Ten rusher Tyler Goodson had 153 yards on the ground and three touchdowns against Kent State. Special teams also continues to be a strength for the Hawkeyes.
1. Georgia, (6-0): It’s all about the defense with the Bulldogs and they’re scary good. It looks like men among boys every Saturday. That’s why Georgia ranks first in the FBS in scoring, passing and total defense. Not to mention the unit has only allowed one rushing touchdown all season. Kirby Smart’s team is hungry as ever and it’s National Title or bust this time around. Georgia is well on its’ way, with a resume that includes victories over Clemson, Arkansas and Auburn. Quarterback Stetson Bennett has kept the wheels rolling on offense and the unit is averaging 39.8 points per game, which ranks 12th nationally. Bennett threw for five touchdowns against UAB and had two more last week at Auburn. The Bulldogs seem like a lock for the Playoffs, even if they suffer a loss. The matchup with Kentucky will be epic.