The Five Most Surprising Teams

1) Vanderbilt Commodores (5-0, 3-0)

After years of being SEC’s perennial punching bag, head coach Bobby Johnson has Vanderbilt in contention to win the SEC East.

Beating Auburn last night could be a watershed moment for the program, provided Johnson doesn’t leave for a bigger name school. This wasn’t a scheduling fluke either; Vandy has beaten South Carolina, won at Ole Miss, and beaten Auburn. Look for a 7-9-win season and their first bowl since 1982.

2) Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0, 3-0)

Nick Saban decided that everyone’s three to four year plan to return Alabama football to prominence was too long. So, he did it in two.

They are the nation’s most physical team, just ask the Clemson Tigers and the Georgia Bulldogs—two preseason top 10 teams who wilted under the Tide’s massive lines. Also, John Parker Wilson is doing an efficient job at quarterback.

3) Penn State Nittany Lions (6-0, 2-0)

No team has stayed within two touchdowns of Penn State this year. This includes Oregon State, who beat the USC Trojans, and explosive Big 10 rival Illinois. Penn State was expected to be good, but not dominant.

If they can get by a reeling Wisconsin team next week, only a game at Ohio State on October 25 may stand in the way of finishing undefeated.

4) Northwestern Wildcats (5-0, 1-0)

The beauty of college football is that when nearly at the midpoint of the season, schools like Northwestern and Vanderbilt are a combined 10-0. The Wildcats could be 9-0 before playing Ohio State, on Nov. 8. Don’t think so? Next four are Michigan State and Purdue at home, and Indiana and Minnesota on the road. Those are all winnable games.

5) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (4-1, 2-1)

Paul Johnson’s critics said his triple option offense wouldn’t work in the ACC, and many media types had the Jackets winning only three, four, or five games this year.

Johnson is proving them all wrong. With the ACC’s best defensive line, as the anchor, and the offense rapidly improving, the Jackets will only get better as the season progresses.