By Trevor Lowry @TheTrevorLowry on July 31, 2014
Now that there is finally a playoff in college football, every fan should be happy. Well, at least for the time being as I am sure someone’s team will be left out of the playoff in the 2014-15 season. Teams like Alabama, Oregon, Oklahoma and Florida State are probably many people’s favorites to make the playoff this year, but those teams are not guaranteed to do so. With that, we look at 10 teams that could sneak into the first playoff.
The Florida Gators are definitely not expected to win the SEC this year, but it is not completely out of the question. Assuming QB Jeff Driskel has his best season yet, and other players stay healthy, Florida could surprise a lot of people. This is the Gators after all, who are one of the most talented teams on a yearly basis.
Like Florida, and basically every team on this list, Kansas State is not expected to be the best team in its conference. With that said, the Wildcats should finish near the top of the Big 12 standings. You never know, if a couple of close games go its way, and QB Jake Waters has a huge season, Kansas State could be in the running for the playoff.
The USC Trojans are no longer the top dogs in the Pac-12, but that could change in a hurry. The team did finish 10-4 last year, and seems to be heading in the right direction.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish made it to the championship game two years ago. They were less impressive last year and will have a brutal schedule in 2014. But hey, at least QB Everett Golson will be back — QB who led the team to the national title. If the Fighting Irish actually went undefeated, there would be no doubt that they would deserve a spot in the playoff.
Head coach Hugh Freeze has done a great job at Ole Miss so far. Although teams like Alabama are still dominant in the SEC, Ole Miss has the talent to take the next step in 2014. The Rebels would have to get significantly better to actually make the playoff, though.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers are a competitive team, but they haven’t been able to take that next step towards being elite. I am not sure if the team they have set in place will be able to make that leap in 2014, but the Cornhuskers should at least be good enough to stay ranked throughout the year.
The Texas Longhorns will be rocking a new head coach in the upcoming season. Charlie Strong is a very capable coach and it would not be a surprise if he led his team to the national championship in his first season. Okay, that would be a pretty big surprise, but it is definitely not impossible given the talent on this team.
The Wisconsin Badgers seem to always compete in the Big 10 and the 2014-15 season should be no different. The only problem is the fact that this team is losing a bunch of players. The Badgers can easily win the West. Winning the Big 10 title is a different story, though.
The Arizona State Sun Devils should have no problem putting points on the scoreboard. That’s the good news. The bad news is the defense could hold the team back. Still, if Taylor Kelly and Co. can continue to rack up the points, this team has a shot at winning the Pac-12, which could lead to a surprise appearance in the College Football Playoff.
South Carolina is actually getting quite a bit of hype entering the 2014 season, but it still has to get past Auburn, Alabama and every other team in the SEC.
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