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September 19, 2007

SCS.comWith the í07-í08 campaign now three weeks old, the season is starting to reach the point where teams that are expected to be winning are winning for the most part (sorry Notre Dame), and teams that are expected to be losing are doing their part as well. However, as is always the case, there are several teams right now that have been excelling and not getting the recognition that maybe they should be. Now granted, the top 25 is always a tough fraternity to crack during the season, especially for teams that began the season on the outside looking in; but here are a few teams that still have a big goose egg in the loss column that should maybe be getting a little more of the spotlight than they are.

Michigan State: 3-0 Ė 1 AP Poll vote

The Spartans have quietly put together a nice run to open their season. While the offense hasnít been consistent yet (55 points in week one versus UAB, 17 points last week versus Pitt), there has been some nice individual production. Senior running back Jehuu Caulcrick is averaging nearly five yards per carry and has found the endzone six times this season while splitting rushing duties with junior Javon Ringer. Quarterback Brian Hoyer isnít wowing anyone statistically, but he isnít making many mistakes either which is a good sign.

Defense is what has been impressive so far for Michigan State in their three wins. The Spartans are allowing just 16 points per game and have amassed 17 sacks and 5 interceptions already. Defensive end Jonal Saint-Dic has been a monster with 5 sacks already, and four different Spartans are averaging at least 6 tackles per game. With a trip to South Bend to face struggling Notre Dame up next, Michigan State could be 4-0 in a week when they visit Wisconsin.

Purdue: 3-0 Ė 6 AP Poll votes

Imagine an offense that averages 50 points and 534 yards of offense per game, while winning by an average margin of 32 points. Sounds a lot like USC doesnít it? Well guess again, because the Boilermakers have been putting up monster numbers in their first three games. Even if the three wins have come against Toledo, Eastern Illinois and Central Michigan, numbers like these are too good to ignore. Junior quarterback Curtis Painter has been absolutely on fire, completing nearly 70% of his passes for 952 yards, 13 touchdowns and no interceptions. His quarterback rating almost weighs as much as some of his receivers do.

Of course, when your top three running backs are all averaging better than 6 yards per carry, that does tend to open the field up a little bit to make some big passing plays. With next weekís matchup against a Minnesota team that has been allowing 36 points per game to opponents, expect another big showing from Purdue and Painter.

Cincinnati: 3-0 Ė 0 AP Poll votes

When you outscore your first three opponents 140-16 as Cincinnati has, generally you think that at least one voter is likely to notice and throw you a bone; but not in this case. Granted, SE Missouri State and Miami (OH) arenít powerhouse programs, but Oregon State is no slouch. Letís be real, when your defense doesnít allow a touchdown until week three, they are doing something right.

The Bearcats have 11 interceptions already; Mike Mickens and DeAngelo Smith have 3 each. With a secondary that is putting up those kinds of numbers, pass happy Louisville better be careful when they meet up with the 'Cats in October. The offense hasnít had to do much to win, but is still putting up over 400 yards per game which it will need to do later in the season. With upcoming games against Marshall and San Diego State, the Bearcats could be rolling into Piscataway for their matchup with Rutgers at a perfect 5-0.

Kansas: 3-0 Ė 1 AP Poll vote

We donít often hear about the Jayhawks until Midnight Madness rolls around, but Kansas has been making some noise in the Midwest, to the tune of a 46 point average margin of victory. A 52-7 shellacking of Central Michigan to start the season was nice, but subsequent 62-0 and 45-13 wins over SE Louisiana and Toledo announced that Kansas wasnít messing around.

Sophomore quarterback Todd Reesing has certainly been spreading the wealth, throwing 10 touchdown passes to 7 different receivers. Even more encouraging is that all 7 of those receivers are averaging at least 10 yards per catch. Defensively Kansas has yet to really be tested, but with how their offense has been playing they may not have to worry about that for at least another two weeks when they play a solid Kansas State team.

Air Force: 3-0 Ė 8 AP Poll Votes

The Falcons, unlike most of the other teams on this list, havenít been putting up eye popping numbers, but have simply been beating quality opponents. A 34-3 drubbing of South Carolina State certainly wasnít surprising, but subsequent wins against Utah and TCU should turn a head or two. The Utah win looks even more impressive now in light of the Utes 44-6 thumping of UCLA. TCU just a couple of weeks ago was ranked in the top 25, and gave Texas a decent run, so chalk that up as another strong win for Air Force.

The rush attack has been the backbone of the offense thus far, with four players having gained between 110 and 175 yards on the ground thus far. Having won two of their tougher out of conference games so far, and looking at a Mountain West Conference where they are in the top tier, it isnít completely out of the picture to think that the Falcons could be 10-0 come their November 10th date with Notre Dame.

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