5 Under The Radar College Football Teams to keep an Eye On in 2020

5 Under The Radar College Football Teams to keep an Eye On in 2020

Written by on April 20, 2020

When it comes to the top national championship title contenders in all of college football, even casual fans of the game know the pedigrees of perennially-powerful programs like the Clemson Tigers, Alabama Crimson Tide and Ohio State Buckeyes.

However, when it comes to the nation’s top ‘under the radar’ title hopefuls, there are a handful of teams that have some legitimate hopes of reaching the 2020 College Football Playoffs. Here’s a look at my top five under the radar title hopefuls.

5 Under The Radar College Football Teams to keep an Eye On in 2020

Texas Longhorns

  • National Championship Odds:  +4000

The Longhorns have been a bag of mixed marbles in three seasons under head coach Tom Herman. After going 7-6 in his inaugural campaign in 2017, Texas took a leap to 10 wins in 2018. While Texas was expected to build on that promising campaign a year ago, Texas took a big step backwards in falling to eight victories. Now, as they get set for the upcoming 2020 regular season, I think Texas could surprise in a big way – or not!

The good news is that the Longhorns have 16 starters returning including senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who tossed 32 TD passes and 10 picks last season. There’s also some good reasons to use some caution, seeing as how the Big 12 title hopefuls have seven new coaches this coming campaign. Still, with Oklahoma featuring their fourth new starting quarterback in as many seasons, there’s some real hope for Texas heading into 2020.

Texas A&M Aggies

  • National Championship Odds: +4000

Texas A&M has gone 17-9 in two seasons under head coach Jimbo Fisher, including a modest 8-5 a year ago. Still, there’s plenty of reasons to believe the Aggies could reach the double-digit win mark in 2020. Staring quarterback Kellen Mond is back for his senior season after throwing for 2,897 yards with 20 TD p-asses and nine interceptions. Texas A&M has a gifted running back in sophomore Isaiah Spiller. Not only that, but the Aggies had the fourth best recruiting class a year ago and the nation’s sixth-best recruiting class this past offseason. Texas A&M also has a ton of talent on the defensive side of the ball, starting with senior linebacker Antonio Doyle and a handful of five and four-star recruits.

Penn State Nittany Lions

  • National Championship Odds: +4500

The Nittany Lions have won 42 games under head coach James Franklin the last four seasons while reaching a New Year’s Bowl Six game each season, including last year’s 11-2 mark and Cotton Bowl win over Memphis. While Penn State loses star performers like defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos and wide receiver K.J. Hamler, the Nittany Lions still return 11 starters including quarterback Sean Clifford who was solid, if not, outstanding in passing for 2,654 yards with 23 TD passes and seven interceptions. Penn State will have four new coaches this coming season, including new offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca. The Nittany Lions also have a stable of talent at the running back and a likely All-American in linebacker Micah Parsons.

Wisconsin Badgers

  • National Championship Odds: +6000

Wisconsin has gone a stellar 63-19 in six seasons under head coach Paul Chryst while recording a decent 10-4 mark a year ago. While the Badgers will need to find a suitable replacement for superstar running back Jonathan Taylor, who rushed for over 1,977 yards in three consecutive seasons, there’s reasons for hope heading into 2020. Sophomore Nakia Watson is undeniably talented and he’ll get his chance to be the new starter after rushing for 331 yards and two scores a year ago. Quarterback Jack Coan returns after passing for 2,727 yards and 18 touchdowns last season, but he’ll be in a three-way battle to keep his job. The best reasons to believe Wisconsin could surpass everyone’s expectations in 2020 is on the defensive side of the ball where they’ve been quite elite each and every season under Chryst.

USC Trojans

  • National Championship Odds: +6000

After going 21-6 in his first two full seasons at USC, head coach Clay Helton has watched his team take some significant steps backwards ever since. After posting a pitiful 5-7 mark in 2018, the Trojans ‘rebounded’ to 8-5 last season. Still, there’s some legitimate reasons to believe USC can get back to being a double-digit winner and legitimate challenger for the Pac-12 title at the very least. The Trojans found out that quarterback Kedon Slovis is a flat-out star after he passed for a stellar 2,502 yards with 30 TD passes and nine interceptions to win the Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year award. While Slovis will battle it out against former starter T.J. Daniels, no matter who opens as USC’s starter under center, the Trojans are in good shape. USC also has a ton of talent at the receivers positions and a gifted tight end in incoming freshman Jack Yary, the son of legendary of USC and NFL legend Ron Yary. If USC plays any sort of competent defense this coming campaign, they could very well end up as Pac-12 champions at the very least!

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