20 for 2020 key college football offseason topics: No. 9. Every Power Five league’s sleeper team.
Really? Last offseason you actually thought that Baylor was going to be a player in the College Football Playoff chase?
You thought Virginia could end up in the Orange Bowl, and Illinois actually had a shot at going bowling?
Okay … we had those last two in the 2019 version of this, but please cheerfully ignore just how off we were on everything else. (Arkansas … really?)
Of course the Alabamas, Oklahomas, Clemsons and Ohio States of the world are going to do what they do, but other Power Five fan bases want to have some fun, too.
It’s always fun when teams rise up and be a factor? Which Power Five programs could be this year’s Minnesota, Louisville or Tennessee?
ACC: NC State Wolfpack
It was a whole lot of ugly last season.
NC State had turned into a consistent rock under head coach Dave Doeren – going to five straight bowls and winning nine games two years in a row before 2019. But last year was supposed to be a bit of a rebuilding campaign.
That should’ve meant winning six games and fighting to get into a bowl, but instead, all of the wheels came off with a six-game losing streak to finish up the season against a relatively easy schedule.
Let’s try this again.
The schedule is still relatively easy.
There’s a trip to Clemson that’s as tough as it gets, and the regular season is bookended by road games at Louisville and North Carolina, but that’s about it.
Oh sure, Mississippi State is a tough non-conference game, but that’s at home. Outside of the trip to Death Valley, the two other road games in the middle ten are at Troy and Syracuse.
Fine, but is the team any better after having major quarterback issues, massive turnover problems, and with the defense not able to overcome the problems on the other side?
QB Matt McKay is transferring to Montana State, but there’s a great chance that almost all of the offensive two-deep depth chart will be back. The hope will be that last year was a big step back to potentially see a giant leap forward, and for the D to be far stronger with nine of the top 12 tacklers are expected to return.