BOZICH | College football's most unlikely unbeaten is NOT Indian - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | College football's most unlikely unbeaten is NOT Indiana

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Quarterback Nate Sudfeld has led Indiana to a 3-0 start. Quarterback Nate Sudfeld has led Indiana to a 3-0 start.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – After three weekends college football is stuffed with 34 unbeaten FBS programs. Most of the names will make you shrug or fast-forward to the next story.

Ohio State.

Louisiana State.

Notre Dame.

Georgia.

Oklahoma.

Big deal. The usual Grade A beef.

Then there is my list of the Most Unlikely Unbeatens.

They’re unapologetic, but unproven. They’re unflinching but untested. Better stop here before I’m unable to match another pair of words.

Confession: My intent was to deliver a list of the 10 Most Unlikely Unbeatens.

I had to pass. That would have required including Ole Miss (58-70 record last 10 seasons), California (six bowls last 10 seasons) and Northwestern (just 10-14 the last two seasons). But those programs expect to roar away to an occasional dazzling start. The Rebels, Bears and Wildcats (and even Navy) make as many bowl games as they miss these days.

I had to cut my list to the Five Most Unlikely Unbeatens. These programs had to hire research assistants to determine the last time they started 4-0 or did something truly unforgettable.

These are the teams that were not supposed to be sitting with the Ohio States and Notre Dames on the last weekend in September. But they’re all 3-0, mostly through intelligent scheduling and one (Temple over Penn State) because of a king-sized upset.

I shared my list with nine other college football observers, including Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports and my WDRB sidekicks Eric Crawford and John Lewis. This is how the group of 10 ranked the Most Unlikely Unbeatens.

5. North Carolina State (3-0)

Record last 10 seasons: 61-64 (.488 winning percentage).

Bowl appearances last 10 seasons: Six.

Last season ranked in final AP Top 25: 25th in 2010.

Worst 2014 Loss: Clemson 41, N.C. State 0.

Sagarin predictor ranking: No. 43.

Votes in latest AP Top 25 poll: None.

Sagarin schedule strength: 176th.

Point differential: Plus-87.

Last 4-0 Start: 2014.

Outlook This Weekend: Sunny – favored by 17 over South Alabama.

4. Syracuse (3-0)

Record last 10 seasons: 45-77 (.369)

Bowl appearances last 10 seasons: 3.

Last season ranked in final AP Top 25: 14th in 2001.

Worst 2014 Loss: Pittsburgh 30, Syracuse 7.

Sagarin predictor ranking: No. 69.

Votes in latest AP Top 25 poll: None.

Sagarin schedule strength: 180.

Point differential: Plus-63.

Last 4-0 Start: 1991.

Outlook This Weekend: Chance of storms off the charts as LSU blows into The Carrier Dome as a 24 ½ point favorite.

3. Indiana (3-0)

Record last 10 seasons: 42-78 (.350).

Bowl appearances last 10 seasons: One (2007).

Last season ranked in final AP Top 25: 20th in 1988.

Worst 2014 Loss: Michigan State 56, IU 17.

Sagarin predictor ranking: No. 84.

Votes in latest AP Top 25 poll: None.

Sagarin schedule strength: 130.

Point differential: Plus-18.

Last 4-0 Start: 1990.

Outlook This Weekend: Partly sunny. Hoosiers favored by 3 ½ over Wake Forest, which could be without its starting quarterback.

2. Memphis (3-0)

Record last 10 seasons:  44-79 (.358).

Bowl appearances last 10 seasons: 4.

Last season ranked in final AP Top 25: 25th, last season.

Worst 2014 Loss: Ole Miss 24, Memphis 3.

Sagarin predictor ranking: No.42.

Votes in latest AP Top 25 poll: 1, ranked 44th.

Sagarin schedule strength: 132.

Point differential: Plus-91.

Last 4-0 Start: 1961.

Outlook This Weekend: Mostly sunny. Tigers are favored by 10 in their home game Thursday night against Cincinnati. Bearcats’ quarterback Gunner Kiel is trying to return from a concussion.

1. Temple (3-0)

Record last 10 seasons: 48-72 (.400).

Bowl appearances last 10 seasons: 2.

Last season ranked in final AP Top 25: 17th in 1979.

Worst 2014 Loss: Houston 31, Temple 10.

Sagarin predictor ranking: No. 58.

Votes in latest AP Top 25 poll: 20, tied for 33rd with Auburn and Texas Tech.

Sagarin schedule strength: 64th.

Point differential: Plus-27.

Last 4-0 Start: 1974.

Outlook This Weekend: Warm and sunny. The Owls are idle until an Oct. 2 trip to Charlotte.

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