College Football Power Five Sleeper Teams: 21 For 2021 Preview Topics No. 9

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21 for 2021 key college football offseason topics: No. 9. Every Power Five league’s sleeper team.

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Texas A&M wasn’t exactly a sleeper last going into last season, but it was ranked 13th in the preseason polls and turned out to be a whole lot stronger.

Iowa State was 23rd in the preseason AP Poll and 25th in the Coaches Poll, Northwestern received just one vote in the AP, and Indiana got just one in the Coaches.

In last year’s Power Five Sleeper Teams piece, we got Texas A&M right, hit it on 8-4 NC State, and was sort of right on a West Virginia team that went 6-4.

Politely give us a free pass on UCLA – and anything Pac-12 – and we’ll all move right along on the thought that Nebraska was finally going to become a thing under Scott Frost.

The 5 Power Five programs listed below almost certainly aren’t going to win their respective conferences, and they’re not likely to be ranked all that high – if at all – but they should give their fans a fun year.

21 for 2021 Preview Topics (so far)
21. Thoughts, Wishes, Hopes for 2021
20. Best Teams To Not Make CFP
19: Teams That Will Rebound Big
18. Teams That Will Fall Back
17: Every Power 5 Team’s Letdown Game
16. Expectations For New Head Coaches
15. Expectations For 2nd Year Head Coaches
14. Power 5 Hot Seat Coach Rankings
13. 21 Key Transfers You Need To Know
12. Group of 5 over Power 5 Upset Alerts
11. 5 of College Football’s New Superstars
10. Group of 5 Teams In New Year’s Six Hunt

CFN 2021 Preview: All 130 Team Previews

College Football Power Five Sleeper Teams

ACC Sleeper: Boston College Eagles

CFN 2021 Boston College Preview

To be totally honest, Boston College is here mostly because there’s not a whole lot to choose from.

NC State was the ACC call last year – and it should be every bit as strong again this time around – but Clemson is obviously amazing, and North Carolina and Miami performing well wouldn’t be that much of a surprise.

Boston College has the best shot of being that quirky out-of-the-blue team that pulls off a shocker or three thanks to a transformed passing attack that gets almost everyone back around QB Phil Jurkovec.

2021 CFN Preseason ACC Rankings

It took a year to transform the attack, the defense should be better, and the schedule will help with no Miami or North Carolina from the Coastal.

It’s asking too much to win the ACC Atlantic, but it gave Clemson fits last year, and … forget that. Clemson is Clemson.

Colgate, at UMass, at Temple. That’s three wins right there, and it’s followed up by getting a home date against Missouri. Win that, and the program’s first eight-win season since 2009 should be on the way.

To get even more jacked up, NC State, at Louisville, Virginia Tech, at Georgia Tech, Florida State, Wake Forest. Find the game after dealing with Clemson that BC can’t win.

NEXT: College Football Power Five Sleeper Teams: Big Ten

Big Ten Sleeper: Purdue Boilermakers

CFN 2021 Purdue Preview

Let’s just say the Boilermakers have been in a bit of a rut.

They were rolling along in 2018 with a nice 4-3 record, and then they managed to lose four of their last six including the Music City Bowl to Auburn 63-14.

Now they’re 8-16 in their last 24 games, and the Jeff Brohm era could use a bit of a kickstart.

Predicting Every 2021 Big Ten Game

The program has known just one winning season since 2011, hasn’t won more than seven games since 2007, and hasn’t won more than eight since 2003.

This year’s version might just have the right makeup and schedule make a monster comeback.

The offense has some of the best receiving weapons in the Big Ten, the defense has pass rushing terror George Karlaftis on the line and a slew of excellent linebackers, and above all, the schedule isn’t bad.

Purdue can’t take any team for granted, but Oregon State, at UConn, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan State, Indiana. If this is going to be a breakthrough season, winning at least four is a must, but five would be better.

There should be another victory or two somewhere – going to Nebraska isn’t that bad, and dealing with Wisconsin at home and Northwestern on a neutral site are possible gets.

The program and Brohm are overdue to do something amazing.

CFN 2021 Preview: All 130 Team Previews

NEXT: College Football Power Five Sleeper Teams: Big 12

Big 12 Sleeper: Texas Tech Red Raiders

CFN 2021 Texas Tech Preview

The Houston Cougars should be fully formed with a rock-solid …

Wait, this isn’t 2023 and the Big 12 didn’t panic-expand yet after being fired by Texas and Oklahoma?

(Sorry … too soon?)

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Will Texas and Oklahoma REALLY Leave For The SEC? College Wires Podcast

The offense hasn’t been rolling like it should be under head coach Matt Wells – the Red Raiders usually don’t get out of bed for the 29 points per game they scored last year – but this is when it might all change.

Tyler Shough was better than he got credit for at Oregon, and now he’s about to be – if all goes according to plan – the high-rising star on the NFL Draft charts with all the tools and talent to sneak his way into a prime spot in what should be a down year for pro quarterback prospects.

Predicting Every 2021 Big 12 Game

But Texas Tech’s defense should be the difference with one of the best – no, really – linebacking corps in the Big 12 and a solid group of defensive backs. It’s the offense, though, that has to be more of a factor – and it will be.

The season starts off against the aforementioned Houston Cougars, and with Stephen F. Austin and FIU at home along with the free-space game against Kansas, matching the four-win total of each of the last two seasons shouldn’t be tough.

Upset a TCU at home here, pull off a shocker over a Texas/Iowa State/Oklahoma State there, and this could be the first winning season since 2015.

NEXT: College Football Power Five Sleeper Teams: Pac-12

Pac-12 Sleeper: Stanford Cardinal

CFN 2021 Stanford Preview

Four. You’re going to insult me and the rest of the college football world with a win total on the board of four?!

That’s what BetMGM had, but Stanford should blow past that with relative ease.

The Cardinal came up with a 4-2 season in 2020 and they’re only two years removed from being a dominant force.

Oh how quickly everyone forgets that the program won 101 games from 2009 to 2018.

The 2019 team got beaten up, battered and bruised right away, and it was never right in an aberration of a 4-8 season. This year’s team under David Shaw should be more like normal.

Predicting Every 2021 Pac-12 Game

Don’t get too caught up in the schedule that goes 12-for-12 with an all Power Five slate. Get a little closer, though, and Kansas State is beatable, and so is Vanderbilt – even though those two games are away from Palo Alto.

Not playing Arizona and Colorado from the South is a brutally bad break, but getting Oregon, Washington, Utah and Notre Dame at home eases that pain somewhat.

The defense is going to be a rock up front around a great front 6 or 7 – depending on the alignment – and the offense should be more consistent as long as the running game is going again.

NEXT: College Football Power Five Sleeper Teams: SEC

SEC Sleeper: Ole Miss Rebels

CFN 2021 Ole Miss Preview

It’s the cliché team – it’ll be good enough to beat anyone on the right day, or lose to anyone.

You do NOT want to deal with this offense.

The Lane Kiffin era started out with a whole lot of yards, fireworks, and fun averaging 556 yards per game – third in the nation behind Kent State and UCF – as it ripped through just about everyone including a 647-yard performance against Alabama.

However …

Predicting Every 2021 SEC Game

The Rebels allowed a mere 63 points and 723 yards to the Crimson Tide.

The defense has a whole lot of experience, should be a wee bit better against the decent passing teams, and no on will notice because QB Matt Corral and the offense will be firing at will.

In this year of the super-senior, Ole Miss is one of those teams that gets just about everyone back. It’s going to show right away in a hot start against Louisville, Austin Peay, and Tulane.

Will it beat Bama in Tuscaloosa? Probably not, but it wouldn’t be a total stunner with this offense.

There’s no Florida or Georgia to face from the East – hellloooooo Vanderbilt and Tennessee – Liberty has to be a win against Hugh Freeze, and Arkansas, at Mississippi State, and Auburn will all be getable enough to hope for the first winning season since 2015.

21 for 2021 Preview Topics (so far)
21. Thoughts, Wishes, Hopes for 2021
20. Best Teams To Not Make CFP
19: Teams That Will Rebound Big
18. Teams That Will Fall Back
17: Every Power 5 Team’s Letdown Game
16. Expectations For New Head Coaches
15. Expectations For 2nd Year Head Coaches
14. Power 5 Hot Seat Coach Rankings
13. 21 Key Transfers You Need To Know
12. Group of 5 over Power 5 Upset Alerts
11. 5 of College Football’s New Superstars
10. Group of 5 Teams In New Year’s Six Hunt

CFN 2021 Preview: All 130 Team Previews

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