Four weeks into the 2022 college football season, only 21 teams remain unbeaten. Of the undefeated or one-loss teams, some look familiar to college basketball fans.
The reigning national champion Kansas Jayhawks are among the undefeated college football teams. The Kentucky Wildcats are also 4-0 and started the round of 64 as the No. 2 seed before being the first team that fell in the Saint Peter’s Peacocks’ Cinderella run.
As these traditional basketball powerhouses see success on the gridiron, here’s a look at their most recent notable football accolades:
Best season: 2007
The Jayhawks earned their most recent division title in 2007 after finishing with a program-best 12-1 overall record. They reached as high as No. 2 in the polls before losing to Missouri to end the regular season. Kansas went on to defeat the Virginia Tech Hokies in the 2008 Orange Bowl, for their first and only BCS bowl victory.
Kansas also saw success on the court and field in that year. In November 2007, it was the only school with its football team and men’s basketball team both ranked in the AP top 10.
Where are they now: Despite having the least probable path to an undefeated September, according to ESPN’s College Football Power Index, the Jayhawks are 4-0 for the first time since 2009. Quarterback Jalon Daniels leads FBS with a 97.5 Total QBR this season — the highest mark by a Big 12 quarterback through four games since Baylor’s Bryce Petty in 2013, per ESPN Stats & Information research.
What’s ahead: ESPN’s FPI gives them a 38.7% chance to win against Iowa State this week and their odds for the following week slightly increase to 41.7% against another currently undefeated program in TCU.
Kansas’ schedule won’t get any easier after that, as it will face No. 18 Oklahoma, No. 16 Baylor and No. 9 Oklahoma State the three consecutive weeks.
Best season: 1950
Legendary head coach Bear Bryant led the Wildcats to an 11-1 record, and they defeated the then-No.1 Oklahoma Sooners in the 1951 Sugar Bowl. They were retroactively declared national champions, and it is one just four seasons where Kentucky totaled 10-plus wins. The others occurred in 1977, 2018 and 2021.
Where are they now: Kentucky beat then-No. 12 Florida in the second game of the season in Gainesville, Florida, and travels to Ole Miss this week. The Wildcats are looking to win multiple road games against ranked opponents in the same season for just the second time since the AP poll debuted in 1936.
However, with a strength of schedule that ranks 102nd out of 131 FBS teams, the Wildcats’ path to being unbeaten has been one of the easiest in the SEC and all of college football. That changes in coming weeks.
What’s ahead: Kentucky faces another undefeated and formidable foe this week in Oxford. It will face No. 14 Ole Miss as ranked opponents for just the second time in series history. Kentucky will play two more ranked opponents this season in No. 8 Tennessee and No.1 Georgia.
Duke Blue Devils
Best season: 1941
Duke went undefeated in the regular season under coach Wallace Wade, whose name is on the Blue Devils’ stadium. Duke finished the season ranked No. 2 team in the country, its highest AP poll finish in program history. The Blue Devils lost the Sugar Bowl in the postseason but still earned an unclaimed national title — an honor they share for that year with Alabama, one of the most controversial titles in college football history.
Where are they now: The Blue Devils are coming off a 35-27 loss to Kansas, where they allowed Jalon Daniels to account for five touchdowns, but outscored their other three opponents 110-43.
What’s ahead: Duke is considered to be “the worst of the remaining basketball schools” in some industry circles. But, per ESPN’s FPI, Duke also has the easiest schedule of the bunch. The Blue Devils close the regular season against No. 24 Pitt and No. 22 Wake Forest, which are the only remaining ranked opponents on their schedule, but those rankings are likely to change by the time the matchup occurs.
North Carolina Tar Heels
Best season: 1980
North Carolina’s most recent conference championship came in 1980 with a defense that was bolstered by Lawrence Taylor. It won the ACC title and finished the season as the No. 10-ranked team with an 11-1 overall record that included going undefeated in conference play. UNC has only had 11-win seasons two other times since then (1997, 2015).
Where are they now: The Tar Heels are coming off of a 45-32 loss to Notre Dame, but their offense was on full display in their first three games. First-year starting quarterback Drake Maye threw for 930 yards 11 touchdowns and one interception in those games.
What’s ahead: They currently have three ranked opponents left in their schedule in No. 24 Pittsburgh, No. 22 Wake Forest and No. 10 NC State. ESPN’s FPI heavily favors North Carolina against Virginia Tech this week, but predicts the Tar Heels only have a 26% chance to win against Miami in the following week.