The 2022 college football season has gotten off to a blazing start with 33 teams still riding on an undefeated record thus far. With squads like the defending CFP Champions Georgia, Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, and Oklahoma all leading the pack, something that shouldn’t shock NCAAF odds fans, that still leaves 28 other teams riding on a perfect 3-0 record.
Now, if we were to take that list of 28 remaining teams, there are a few that stand out for bigger reasons than the rest. On the one hand, some schools could be on to something special here. On the other hand, there are some other schools, like Coastal Carolina, Maryland, Tulane, Rutgers, and James Madison that you can feel will not be riding the undefeated bus for much longer.
For now, while we wait for week 4 to come around, let’s talk about four specific schools starting to stand out from the pack, aside from the usual favorites.
Florida State Seminoles
It’s been a month and a day since the Florida State Seminoles played some decent to good football. But hey, here we are, and here they are, 3-0 and looking like a very good football team. If a key to FSU’s success had to be pointed out, it would have to be the resilient will to fight that this team has brought to the table in each game.
While they started the season out with an easy win over Duquesne, their week 2 victory over LSU started putting the Seminoles back on the map. Now, after scoring yet another big W over Louisville last Saturday, it’s time to start putting some recognition on Florida State. Even after losing QB Jordan Travis, DE Jared Verse, and other players to different injuries against the Cardinals, the Seminoles battled on and left Cardinal Stadium with their record intact.
FSU’s offense plays in a way where it knows exactly when to turn the jets on. Their defense once again is showing signs of being a dominant core. When you put it all together, with coach Norvell’s guidance, it all adds up to some great Seminoles football. Here’s to hoping it lasts as long as possible.
North Carolina State Wolfpack
If you’re a fan of defensive football, then the Wolfpack should be a team to keep on your radar this season. Before the season started, it was a given that NC State would be entering this year with one of the best defensive lines in the country and they have not disappointed one bit.
In their games against East Carolina and Texas Tech, two schools known for having explosive offenses, the Wolfpack showed up and showed off. After only allowing 34 points between both teams, NC State has proven that it will be their defense that continues to carry them this season.
The one key that could become a problem for the Wolfpack moving forward is their offense not playing up to par with the defense. QB Devin Leary seriously needs to pick up the pace and go from being a mediocre passer to an actual threat. Once NC State manages to have all of their units playing at the same level, watch out for the Wolfpack. If they don’t though, it can easily be considered a massive waste of defensive talent.
Caleb Williams is on his way to becoming the next great USC QB. With the guidance of Lincoln Riley, who in his first season as the USC Trojans head coach has managed to give this team a complete makeover, Williams and USC’s offense is thriving.
When you have an offense that has managed to maintain an average of over 50 points per game, you know you are doing something good. But it’s their defense that needs to start playing at a higher level. USC’s defense has been lucky so far that they’ve played against squads with faulty offenses, where turnovers are an everyday thing. But, as the season progresses and the competition within the PAC-12 becomes a race instead of a marathon, the Trojans are going to need their defense to start making big plays.
Don’t get me wrong, this offense has all the chops to win any game they play, but it would be nice for Williams and company to catch a break now and again if they don’t want to wear themselves out.
Penn State Nittany Lions
James Franklin is starting to take in what being a successful coach for Penn State is all about. The school’s running team is as elite as it can be. If you need any proof, just take a look at last weekend’s game against Auburn. Penn State’s running core put on a show with 245 rushing yards and five touchdowns. If Franklin and the company can manage to get similar numbers from this unit every week, we could easily be seeing Penn breaking into the CFP scene sooner rather than later.
But why stop there? On defense, Penn State has also balled out. In their week one road win against Purdue and again last week on the road against Auburn, the defense stood tall and strong and shut down two outstanding offenses, allowing Penn to collect a couple of victories in two of their toughest road trips this season.
After showing glimpses of talent here and there for the past two seasons, all signs point to now being the time for Penn State to take the NCAA football scene by storm. If they manage to beat Michigan in their road game in mid-October, it will be incredibly difficult to not consider the Nittany Lions as a top contender for the upcoming college football playoffs.