CFN Staff Predictions: The College Football Playoff Four Teams Will Be
Which team will be better than everyone is predicting? The Big Sleeper will be …
Sleeper Team Prediction
@Rich Cirminiello, CFN: Texas. Tom Herman has walked into a positively perfect situation in Austin. Charlie Strong, for all of his failings with the Horns, stocked the cupboard with a slew of talented players on both sides of the line. Now, Herman and his staff get an opportunity to continue what Strong started, looking like the heroes while leading Texas to its best season since winning nine in 2012.
@Jeff Feyerer, CFN: Kansas State. I always love Bill Snyder’s teams a little more than I should, and maybe it’s because they don’t follow the lead of their fast-paced, defensively-challenged Big 12 brethren. But there is a wealth of talent in Manhattan. QB Jesse Ertz returns, DL Will Geary is a tank, CB DJ Reed is one of the best in the conference, and WR/KR Byron Pringle is dynamic playmaker with the ball in his hands. They get Oklahoma at home and have to travel to Austin and Stillwater, but neither of those games are impossible.
@Pete Fiutak, CFN: Michigan. And I realize how ridiculous it is to in any way call Michigan a sleeper, or an underdog, or a Little Engine That Could. While the Wolverines are in the top ten of the preseason rankings, everyone seems to be dismissing the idea that they’re good enough to get into the College Football Playoff. Very, very talented – if inexperienced – if they get by Florida, split against Penn State and Wisconsin, and finally take down Ohio State in Ann Arbor, they’ll find their way in.
@Jeremy Harper, SunBeltHeat: Toledo Rockets. Led by the brilliant Jason Candle on the sideline and the underrated Logan Woodside at quarterback, this could be the Western Michigan of 2017. Also a sneaky pick: Troy Trojans.
@Phil Harrison, CFN: Wisconsin. Yeah, it’s not sleeper as in coming from nowhere as a preseason top ten team, but I think the Badgers have a legitimate shot to get into the CFP with the way the schedule lines up. They almost snuck in last year with a brutal schedule, and there’s more than enough back in key spots to not feel much drop off. Wisconsin gets Michigan at home, and misses Ohio State and Penn State in the schedule rotation.
@Jeremy Mauss, MWwire.com: Kansas State. Bill Snyder magic will be back once again and return key players on both sides of the ball particularly in quarterback Jesse Ertz – a trip to the re-instated Big 12 title game could be in the works. The Wildcats do travel to Texas, but until the Longhorns prove otherwise, there’s no reason to trust that they’re back as even a Big 12 power. Kansas State catches a break with TCU and Oklahoma at home, so that helps the cause, but going to Stillwater to face Oklahoma State in November is a tough one.
@Russ Mitchell, CFN: Right out of the gate, Rich is crazy picking Texas; I’ll bet you a hundo they don’t finish above .500 in conference play, and that’s in a weak B12. And Pete … Michigan is your “sleeper”? They’re a Top 10 team! C’mon man … you’re better than that. Instead, I’m going with Oklahoma State. (That’s a wink just for you, Fiu.) He’s 50, he’s still a man, his roster’s stacked in a weak conference, and most importantly, he’s not going to roll over this time and allow Alabama to take what’s rightfully his.
@Joe Vitale, UGAFootballLive: NC State. Each year it seems like the Wolfpack take either Clemson or Florida State – or in last year’s case, both – to the final quarter of play in a close game. If State can manage to win just one of those games this year, then things may fall into place for the Pack. They return a lot of talent in 2017, mainly on the defensive line and have two quarterbacks who are both capable of being the starting guy. Good problem or bad problem? I guess we’ll find out soon.