While Kent State doesn’t have one superstar, they do have a scrappy team that will wrestle hard all the way through the lineup. So far the Golden Flashes are 6-2 with wins over tough Utah Valley and University of Virginia teams. They dropped a 38-9 decision to #2 Ohio State, as well as a down to the wire 16-15 loss to unranked Buffalo. While the loss to Buffalo might hold them out of the ranking discussion for now, they will have the opportunity to make up for it when they face some ranked competition on the second half of their schedule.
Wyoming is 1-1 this season losing 25-10 to #12 Nebraska while beating Big 12 rival Iowa State 24-14. Wyoming’s 2 time All-American and NCAA finalist Bryce Meredith leads this Cowboy squad as they try to crack the rankings. They most likely won’t have the opportunity to do so until late January when they face some more ranked competition.
Northwestern is out to a 4-0 start this season with a runner up finish at the Keystone Classic behind #1 Penn State. Their wins haven’t been cake walks as the Wildcats barely scraped by Old Dominion 17-16 and Northern Colorado 24-20. Northwestern will have the opportunity to make some noise and potentially earn a spot in the rankings when they start the meat of their Big 10 conference schedule in January with #14, Illinois. After that, they will wrestle 6 more top #25 teams in a row, providing them ample opportunities to pull an upset and earn their way into the rankings.
Drexel comes in at 4-2, and 2-2 against division 1 opponents. The young Dragons squad is anchored by human tornado, true freshman, #7 Austin DeSanto. Their big win this season was over a rebuilding Iowa State program 21-16. They have dropped matches to #25 Navy 22-13, a team they matched up terribly with, and #5 Lehigh, 21-20, a match they lost on criteria. While Lehigh’s team was missing two of their key starters, it was still Drexel’s most impressive match this year. After a string of unranked opponents, Drexel will wrestle #21 Rider on January 4th. If they win this match, and don’t drop any along the way, they could find themselves over the hump and into the rankings.
1. North Dakota State
North Dakota’s 1-3 record is deceptive and not indicative of how good they are as a team. While their losses to #3 Oklahoma State and #7 Iowa were not remotely close, their third loss to #15 Northern Iowa was a 18-16 nail biter. The sole win on their record comes against a ranked team, #23 Central Michigan, who were ranked #18 when the Bison defeated them. After Christmas NDSU will take on #13 Cornell and #21 Rider. Beating either of those teams will most likely be enough to push them into the top 25.