What are CFBs biggest dark horse teams this upcoming season?

  1. They still aren’t sure who their QB will be. Then again the coastal isn’t going to be strong so they could find themselves finishing in the top 2

  2. UNC is Tennessee, except without having a period of excellence in their past. I'm not sure why they are media darlings, but as far back as I can remember caring about CFB, I can remember UNC hype.

  3. Idk why people act like UNC gets Miami level hype all of the time. Yes they ended up being overrated last season but that was the first time in ages they had serious preseason hype. If you actually go back and look at preseason rankings this century they’re usually at best a fringe top 25 team or completely off the radar.

  4. Fill me in on what I’m missing with the UCLA hype that’s picked up recently. I know it’s an explosive offense but they’re not scaring anybody in the trenches. Is the defense supposed to be improved significantly?

  5. Idk they bullied LSU pretty hard in the trenches last year. Their DC had been a problem for a while so Chip replaced him. They also get Utah and USC at home. They bring back a lot of veteran talent, and they have a very favorable schedule dynamic.

  6. I’m hoping Martinez can finally figure out some of the issues that he couldn’t resolve at Nebraska and have a breakout season. If he’s healthy, can avoid silly mistakes like intentional grounding in his own end zone, and can clutch up game finishing series he is a monster of a qb.

  7. It was a “rebuilding year” for Alabama according to Saban. A “rebuilding year” where they made the fucking national championship and barely lost to UGA in large part due to Bama losing their two best wide receivers while being forced to play unproven freshmen as their WRs lol.

  8. Tennessee is not poised for a breakout year like people think. Their depth problems haven’t been solved and their defense is not legit. They can score, but I don’t know if they have the personnel to keep up for 4 quarters and they must be able to grind out some long drives to spell their defense or things will get out of hand in the second half, especially in the back half of the season. I put UT at 7-5 at best.

  9. Tennessee recruiting has steadily declined over the 2010s. They are now about the 7th best recruited team in the SEC. Their best shot was 2014-2017 when their great recruiting classes of 4 and 5 stars matured.

  10. I got Tennessee as a dark horse to make an NY6 and Wake Forest, Ole Miss, and OU as dark horses to make the CFP (I think OU should be considered as a “dark horse” because even though they’re usually the favorites for the CFP they’re unknowns atm due to having a new coach, new QB, and new system).

  11. I hope you're right but I'm going into this season with zero expectations. Venables I think will be a great coach, but seems like kind of a rebuilding year.

  12. I think a realistic year for us are losses to Bama, Georgia, @ LSU, and Florida (I will always count that as a loss until the clock hits 00:00). Puts us at 8-4. Beating Florida and/or LSU would be icing on the cake.

  13. I’m trying to figure out how Tennessee gets into an NY6 bowl. They win the East but lose the SECCG (unlikely). I guess if the entire SEC West (including Alabama) was in shambles, they’d send someone to Atlanta to get boat raced by Georgia and then UT gets the NY6 because Georgia makes the Playoffs.

  14. The sentiment I see from Nebraska fans is that he is a good QB that made a lot of dumb mistakes in part because of he was expected to put the team on his back, with Deuce he should have less pressure and make less mistakes

  15. I’m curious on why you think Minnesota would be the favorite in the West when Vegas has them as the 4th best odds to win it. Genuinely trying to catch up on teams now. I know they got that stud at running back Mo Ibrahim and Tanner coming back provides some stability but that’s about the extent I know. Know they got that linebacker who’s pretty good too.

  16. Literally the one time Minnesota decided to utilize the forward pass they went 11-2 in 2019 and unfortunately beat Auburn in the bowl game sadly. And Minnesota’s OC who was a part of the 2019 team is coming back so that’s where a lot of their hype is coming from I suppose.

  17. I'm not predicting that they will win the Big 12 or anything but I really like the Joey McGuire hire at Texas Tech. I think he has a real shot at getting something going there. His Big 12 media day presser was a ton of fun to listen to and his players sound super bought in.

  18. Yeah, they are probably a dark horse candidate in a couple of years. They were way down in total talent last season (61st in the nation) and even though recruiting has been great so far (17th right now for 2023), it will take time for this young players to get up to speed.

  19. Nebraska. I think they turn it around and when 8-9 games, if not we get the excitement of who is going to replace Frost and have a really talented team next year.

  20. They might not be a playoff threat or anything but they could win the coastal division even if they drop a couple games, and they do have more talent on the roster than anyone outside Miami. I haven’t looked at their schedule to see crossover/OOC but I could see them working their way into the rankings around 15-20 similar to how we have the last few years

  21. UCF added a ton of transfer talent, 13 to be exact, most of who are either very high 3 stars or transfer blue chips

  22. Optimistic of you to expect Florida to do something this year. I imagine Napier has a solid year this year, but it's next year I expect to see Florida make a move to get back in front of Tennessee and Kentucky. I just don't think Florida has the depth to pull it off this year. The frontline looks good (not great), but after that there's a real drop off in talent.

  23. Schedule is hard to argue against, going on the road to Texas A&M the week after the UGA game is brutal and Utah/UK/Tenn in the first 4 weeks isn't ideal either.

  24. Not a bad take honestly, but I think we’re actually poised for talent regression next year more so than this year. Our depth as you pointed out isn’t great, so while our 1s are pretty experienced and talented our depth (and hence a lot of our next year’s 1s) are going to be my biggest concern. Unless we land some instant impact freshman in the ‘23 class (some potential there but not sold) I don’t know if the blue chippers we picked up in 22 will be able to shoulder the whole burden. In particular if Richardson has a great year and leaves the QB room gets real sus going forward. This year I think we win a couple we’re not supposed to and drop a couple head scratchers. If I had to guess I’m thinking 8-4 this year, with a regression to 7-5 or 6-6 next year and a big step forward in 2024.

  25. Florida’s more talented than people realize. We underachieved in a huge way last year. 6-6 was just about the worst possible result we could have had. There’s good talent at QB, RB, OL, LB, and DB. Lacking at DT and somewhat at WR. There’s opportunity for a really strong running offense and an above average defense. The running offense could help protect a potentially weak run D.

  26. I think PSU shows a lot of progress this year, but their offensive line gives me serious concerns for their ceiling/ability to win the conference

  27. Until proven otherwise there is no reason to believe Penn State's oline will be good. It's been bad for basically a decade now

  28. We obviously have a tough schedule but I could see us beating anyone except ohio state and even then we have played them close. The duality is that we could also go 5-7 somewhat realistically. Hoping we can have a magical season though.

  29. I’m a homer, but UVA is bringing back a starting QB who led the nation in passing yards for much of the season along with an incredibly dynamic set of receivers. The line and backs are untested but talented.

  30. I definitely agree with UVA. Looking at the schedule, they’ll have the advantage at QB in every game, besides possibly Van Dyke at Miami.

  31. I do like UF to be the dark horse in the East just bc of the uncertainty that comes with having a new staff and a potential star QB.

  32. Gotta agree with the SEC Florida take. Everyone’s writing them off for this season and saying give Napier 3 years, but this year could be a splash year for them if Richardson plays to the hype and Napier gets the ship on the right track

  33. The issue with that is NC state is receiving lots of hype for this season so they aren’t really a dark horse

  34. Nah I got Wake Forest as a dark horse to make the CFP I think this year they’ll break through and make some noise. I think Wake Forest can outscore NC State and Clemson when it comes to a shootout.

  35. Kentucky used to be the most underrated team in FBS. Not sure you can call them a dark horse now that they are flirting with the Top 25 poll.

  36. Honestly Iowa State is a good pick to bet the over. And can go +2-3 if that qualifies as a dark horse. Likely to ruin someone's day.

  37. A very young team coming into Kinnick for the first time since 2018 against probably the best defense of the Ferentz era? Woof

  38. I think Ole Miss. Jaxson Dart, Zach Evans and Ulysses Bennett IV were great additions provided they stay healthy.

  39. I don't see UF having a chance in hell at the playoffs, bounces or not. They do not have talent deep enough to win the SEC, much less make the playoffs. Their QB is a big question mark in his play and durability. This is one thing that makes it so difficult to coach at UF. The expectations are unrealistic. The fans complain that Mullen has not recruited in 2 years, then they have a bunch of transfers, and they think the coach can fix that in a few months. This is not the Mountain West. I think Napier was the best hire in his year, I think he will make UF a force again, but dial it back. UF does not have the players to make it to the playoffs or the depth, yet. To me the team I find the most unpredictable is LSU.

  40. You could make that exact same argument for LSU. Except for your D-Line and WRs every single group is a question mark especially your QBs. At least Florida knows who their QB will be and what his potential is. LSU doesn't even know who their QB is and all three have mid potential at best. LSU will be lucky to make a bowl game.

  41. I like your optimism for us but we still have some kinks to work out from last year. Like our QB scenario. Our defense (firing our old DC last year mid season semi helped). And being able to play outside of reeser. For some reason our players and our coaches struggled in many away games last year. But at home we were generally a competitive team.

  42. Even though Baylor was ranked high last year, I don’t think people pay that much attention to them. Some will say that’s not a dark horse.

  43. Cincy won’t be as good as they were last year, but they’ve really reloaded well. People have largely dismissed them but I think they’re a top 15 team and AAC champs this year.

  44. University of Houston for sure. Projected to win the AAC next year, building a 150 million dollar facility and just got a commitment from a player that if he signs. He would be the 7th highest ranked recruit in program history.

  45. Does anyone actually see Texas or USC as a favorite or a dark horse? I think they’ll both be middle of the pack. Texas is coming off a 5-7 season and a loss to Kansas (no offense, Kansas), and Lincoln Riley has a lot of work in front of him at USC. I doubt he gets them to championship caliber in one season.

  46. Purdue is going to win the Big Ten West (and then will be sacrificed to the Big Ten East winner): mark my words!

  47. Iowa, they had one of the best defenses in the country last year, if they can make some major improvements on offense this year they could have a shot.

  48. Penn State will be Penn State. They will start out on fire. Then they will lose a game to a very beatable team or to Ohio State. After that they will lose at least 2 more in a row before rebounding. 8-4 or 9-3 as always.

  49. I’m high off my ass on BYU this year. No one is giving them any love and they are returning almost everyone from a top 15 team last year

  50. Northwestern might have the worst QB in the Big Ten, but count out Pat Fitzgerald in an even year at your peril.

  51. Gotta go with Boise State when they wear the alternate helmets with a black bronco. Second place, the brown horse on the Wyoming helmet.

  52. Couple of eastern fans seem to think we’ll win 8 games for the first time since the 80s. I could see it happening, but I ain’t about to go around saying it’ll happen this early.

  53. Too many homers here. Should have stated dark horse that’s not your team. I truly believe other than UGA all theses other teams are confused as can be about the SEC east. The question as to who can beat UGA or be flat out #2 in the east somehow has been so well clouded it’s mind boggling. The question in my mind is based on last year it would seem the argument can only be UK or Tenn. Everyone knows the SEC can be unpredictable but it seems the East will be won by UGA, UK, or Tenn and aside from that anyone else throwing their teams hat in the mix for the east is a absolute goober.

  54. Florida fans are getting into 2010’s Tennessee fan territory in terms of not understanding the caliber of team they have. New coach and the worst roster they’ve had since the Ron Zook days imo.

  55. If you add up the various hot takes on the Dawgs loss of 15 draft picks, we’re losing to Oregon, South Carolina, Florida, and Tennessee. The defending Champs are a dark horse, somehow.

  56. I know you love to talk Dawgs but it's tough to be considered a dark horse when you open the season in the top 5 which they undoubtedly will.

  57. LSU. Sure it's a homer pick. We have a coach that gives a damn. We have a DC that isn't bo pelini. We are returning all the QBs. We have the best offensive line coach in college football. We are loaded with talent. We may not win it all but we will give opposing teams problems.

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