College Football’s Five Dark Horses To Look Forward To Next Season

NCAA Football: Indiana at Northwestern

College Football’s Five Dark Horses To Look Forward To Next Season

There are quite a few teams that can stun a few folks based on the summer magazines that does not have lofty expectations. One thing is for sure though, these five will be fun to watch and may not be on anybody’s list for appearing in the top 10-15 let alone a BCS bowl. The funny part is they all have the goods to challenge for it thanks to a ton of talent returning.

Ole Miss Rebels

Likely to return all but two of their starters, the Rebels are the one team that could pull a rabbit out of its hat in 2013.

By that of course I mean they have the skill to finally challenge for a relevant season in Oxford. It has not been since 2003 in which the Rebels were nationally known and that was back when Eli Manning was slinging it around.

This schedule is far from easy knowing that the SEC still being on top of the mountain, but they avoid all of the dominant teams in the East (UGA, UF, SC) and they get to host an LSU team that is losing s ton up front with their defense.

The key to their season very well could be that early September matchup in Austin against the Longhorns after they were drubbed at home 66-31 from this past season. I am not banking on the upset, but I mine as well go out on a limb and project it eight months in advance since it could springboard Hugh Freeze to a 9-4 or 10-3 type of season.

Miami FL Hurricanes

This could be the biggest question mark of them all since the ACC is so inconsistent and is great at teasing us. Will the Canes get back to winning ten-plus ball games?

No, but they could win eight or nine (counting their bowl game if they avoid a ban) and get back to kicking some teeth in during their growth process of getting back to a worthy program. That home tilt in September against a top ten Gators squad should tell us just how far they have come and it wouldn’t shock me one bit if they kept it a lot more interesting than most will anticipate.

Star running back Duke Johnson is ready to become the best back in the ACC, and perhaps one of the more complete ones in the country as well.

TCU Horned Frogs

Casey Pachall is enrolled back at school and he could make up the difference that they were so desperately missing from a season ago. Trevone Boykin can go back to running back and wide receiver, which should help fill the void that Josh Boyce has left them.

LaDarius Brown is one bad man and Brandon Carter is a burner that can coast past opposing secondary’s as well, which should allow B.J. Catalon and perhaps Waymons James (knee) to make this offense the most unstoppable unit in the Big 12.

10 starters are back on defense and they realistically could give the LSU Tigers one of their better games of the season, when we kick things off on the first Saturday of the year at Dallas Cowboys Stadium (8/31).

Boise State Broncos

Just when you think Chris Petersen is due for a down year or will take a head coaching job at a BCS school, he stays and proves why he is one of the three best in the game (Nick Saban, Urban Meyer).

The ‘’Smurf Turfs’’ will be returning 12 starters and despite passing up the Big East, their schedule will not be a walk in the park. In fact, they could start off the season with another loss as they will go on the road to the newly renovated Husky Stadium.

UW will be even more ticked off after they arguably let one go by in their loss to Boise to end this past season (Las Vegas Bowl). A trip to Provo at the end of October will be a challenge as well and it simply comes down to how much the offense will improve under Joe Southwick.

The running game was non-existent at times last year, but the targets they have returning in the passing game will put them in excellent position to finally challenge for a berth back to the BCS.

Northwestern Wildcats

Just think as to where this program may end up with Pat Fitzgerald continuously hitting the right buttons? I will be the first to call out a bold prediction for next season.

The Cats will upset either the top-ranked Buckeyes when they host them in October and or stun the Badgers in Madison the following week.

My confidence is soaring high and it is all thanks to the trio of Kain Colter, Venric Mark and Dan Vitale. These three studs often carried this offense on their shoulders and the improvement from Christian Jones and Tony Jones (no relation) gives this team one of the more complete offenses in the Big Ten.

Losing a few lineman on both sides will make it a challenge, but they have slowly been stockpiling solid players. The schedule will be challenging and while I am not predicting a Rose Bowl in the immediate future, this team could shockingly sneak into the top 10 next year.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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  • Joe Berezoski

    Good 5 to look for, also one that, even though they usually get overrated expectations, is the Texas Longhorns. They have about 16 or more starters back and ONE BIG LOSS-the loss is of the former Boise St offensive coordinator who gave them NO direction offensively. If you watch the 2nd half of the bowl game vs Oregon St (who had a great defense) you saw how Major Applewhite will run the offense and it was wonderful. With the Boise guy he didn’t know if he was a power team –a wide open team– a boise type team——He was everything but nothing. You cannot run an offense like that-this is why QB Ash was so inconsistent because his boss was. Major was a successful qb and will be a successful OC, Horns will be back.
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