Surprising College Football Teams

By Loot, NCAA Basketball Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Potential Surprise College Football Teams in 2013

UCLA Bruins: With two consecutive Pac-12 south titles, UCLA isn’t really a surprise at this point. But for the only good football team in LA, they are still flying a bit under the radar. It’s hard to not like the job done by former NFL head coach Jim Mora, who won 9 games in his first season in 2012. Their title in 2011 was a result of USC serving a ban and the rest of the South being in shambles. And even last year, the big news out of the Pac-12 was Oregon, Stanford, and how USC flopped.

More experience on the offensive line should give way to a huge season for sophomore Brett Hundley, who completed almost 67% of his throws for 3745 yards with 29 touchdowns last season. The Bruins defense alarmingly returns no starters from its secondary and the schedule is indeed tough. UCLA faces back-to-back road games at Stanford and Oregon and Hundley will have a chance to show why he’s considered one of the top pro prospects in college football.

Florida Gators: In the SEC, it’s easy to go unnoticed, even for a traditionally-winning program like Florida. In the offseason, we heard about Alabama’s growing dynasty. We heard about the Johnny Manziel circus at Texas A&M, in addition to how the Aggies are legitimate contenders. We’ve all heard the name Jadeveon Clowney at least 5000 times. LSU is still getting run on the press. Meanwhile, Florida is not getting much attention.

Coming off an 11-win season that saw them get their second loss in a Sugar Bowl defeat to Louisville, Florida faced issues, but some signs of promise, as well. They will have more than enough opportunities to make waves this season. QB Jeff Driskel will need to step it up a notch and the defense has some holes to fill, especially in the secondary. If the offense can make an upgrade, they should be in the mix. After all, they did beat Texas A&M, LSU, and South Carolina last season.

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Oregon State Beavers: A young Beavers squad went 9-4 last season and seems to be transforming into a winning program with continuity under the calm leadership of head coach Mike Riley. It’s easy to overlook the Beavers with an in-state conference rival that is one of the favorites to win the championship in Oregon. The Beavers have a manageable schedule and could easily be 7-0 and coming off a bye by the time they host Stanford on October 26.

Oregon State has a blossoming running back in Storm Woods and a rising ball-catcher in Brandin Cooks. Combine that with a nice 1-2 quarterback punch in Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz and this offense should be formidable and diverse in their attack. Some components return on defense, including DE Scott Crighton, who led the team with 9 sacks in 2012. That line will be tough, even if the defense on a whole remains a question. The loss of WR Markus Wheaton doesn’t help, either. There still might be some good spots for bettors to exploit a low-key team that is solid and underrated.

Miami Hurricanes: After a self-imposed two-year bowl ban, Miami is back in the bowl picture and it’s just a question of how big the bowl it will be. A painfully-young team, the Hurricanes still managed to soldier to a 7-5 season last season. They enter 2013 with some higher hopes, with QB Stephen Morris, who could have a huge breakout season. RB Duke Johnson had over 1000 yards rushing in his freshman season and should be even better. In fact, this whole team should be better with most key guys returning with more experience.

Fresno State Bulldogs: From 4-9 in 2011 to 9-4 in 2012, the Bulldogs look to be headed in the right direction. QB Derek Carr was huge in 2012 with over 4000 yards passing and 37 touchdowns against only 7 picks. He played most of the year with an abdominal tear, making one wonder what he will do if healthy in 2013. They may be a nice little sleeper team this season, especially if they can finally get over the Boise State hump. This year should give them their best chance in recent memory.

North Carolina Tar Heels: Even with a bowl ban in effect, the Tar Heels still managed to win 8 games in 2012 under first-year coach Larry Fedora, whose spread offense should be even better in 2013. QB Bryn Renner has started for 3 seasons and is coming off a huge season with 28 touchdowns against only 7 interceptions. The 6’3” 225-pound pro prospect has a great arm, good legs, and stepped forward in the decision-making department last season. It’s been so long since the Tar Heels were legit that we’ve all become dismissive of them. Doing that in 2013 might prove costly.

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2017/2018 College Football Predictions – Odds for each team to win the college football playoff along with predictions of teams that have a legit shot of winning it all, including a longshot pick.

2017 Heisman Trophy Odds – Picks to Win – College football pundits are expecting either Sam Darnold or Baker Mayfield to win the Heisman this year. Loot takes a look at these and other names that offer tremendous wagering value.

Misc.

College Football Conferences – List of all NCAA football conferences including the teams that make up each conference.

Heisman Trophy Winners – A complete list of Heisman Trophy winners (college football’s best player award) in chronological order, dating back to 1935.

Famous College Football Coaches – Behind every great team is an even better coach. Check out Loot’s picks for the greatest of all-time.

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