5 underrated college football teams that could shake up the CFB Playoffs

Northwestern Wildcats celebrate their Citrus Bowl victory.
Northwestern Wildcats celebrate their Citrus Bowl victory.
Walter Sharp

Every college football season, there's a group of teams that pop up out of nowhere to shock the world. Last season Coastal Carolina and Northwestern made the most out of their underrated status.

Northwestern carried themselves all the way to the Big Ten championship game and a Citrus Bowl victory. Coastal Carolina went undefeated and even though they fell short in the Mortgage Cure Bowl against Liberty. Their 2020 season was a success after being overlooked by experts.

Who are the top-five underrated college football teams in the country in 2021?

Nevada QB Carson Strong
Nevada QB Carson Strong

In the 2021-2022 college football season, five teams could shake up the entire college football playoff selection.

#1 Nevada Wolfpack

Nevada enters the season with one of the top quarterback prospects in the country in Carson Strong. What fans are overlooking is the talented wide receivers Strong will throw to this season. Romeo Doubs and Elijah Cooks are sneaky good and are coming off a successful 2020 college football season.

Doubs is coming off a junior season where he caught 58 passes for 1,002 yards and nine touchdowns. Cooks only appeared in one game last season, but in 2019 he caught 76 passes for 926 yards and eight touchdowns.

Carson Strong is coming off his best season at Nevada. During the 2020 season, Carson Strong completed 70% of his passes for 2,858 yards and 27 touchdowns. Strong should seem a boost in production, with Doubs and Cooks playing an entire season in 2021.

Northwestern safety Brandon Joseph
Northwestern safety Brandon Joseph

#2 Northwestern Wildcats

Northwestern lands itself on the underrated college football team lost for the second straight season. The Wildcats are led on defense by their safety Brandon Joseph. Pat Fitzgerald and the company are looking at another uphill climb during the 2021 college football season.

Pro Football Focus gives Northwestern a 3% chance of winning the Big Ten Conference and has its projected win total at 7.3 wins. Northwestern is always a tough out for anyone that steps on the field with them. That will not change during the 2021 college football season.

The Wildcats will lean heavily on their defense to lead the way. Northwestern's defense welcomes back several talented players. Brandon Joseph will be joined by cornerbacks Cameron Mitchell and A.J. Hampton.

#3 Texas Longhorns

It's hard to remember the last time that Texas was on an underrated team list in college football. The Longhorns have gone through changes at the head coaching spot. Steve Sarkisian comes over after winning a national championship with Alabama in 2020.

The Texas Longhorns had high hopes about Tom Herman when they hired him as their football coach. Unfortunately for Texas and Herman, things didn't work out as planned. Sarkisian will now try his luck at one of the most challenging jobs in college football.

Texas will have to choose from Hudson Card and Casey Thompson to replace Sam Ehlinger. Card and Thompson both have massive shoes to fill, replacing Ehlinger. Especially since neither quarterback has a ton of college football experience.

Washington CB Trent McDuffie
Washington CB Trent McDuffie

#4 Washington Huskies

The Pac-12 is currently a two-team race between Oregon and USC. There's one team that will have a say, so, the Washington Huskies. The Huskies have one of the best defenses in the country entering the upcoming college football season.

Washington is led by their talented cornerbacks Trent McDuffie, Brendan Radley-Hiles, and Kyler Gordon. The Huskies' defensive front seven also ranks high in college football. On the defensive line, the Huskies are led by edge rushers Ryan Bowman and Zion Tupuola-Fetui.

The Huskies will lean on their defense to put their names in the race for the Pac-12. McDuffie enters his junior season with 59 total tackles and two interceptions. Tupuola-Fetui is coming off his best season at Washington with 13 total tackles, seven tackles for loss, and seven sacks.

#5 Ole Miss Rebels

Lane Kiffin enters his second season as the head coach at Ole Miss. Kiffin is coming off a 2020 college football season where he finished with a 5-5 record. The Rebels are hoping that Kiffin can lead the team to another bowl game victory.

Ole Miss may have one of the most underrated quarterbacks in college football in Matt Corral. Last season Corral threw for 3,337 yards and 29 touchdowns for Ole Miss. He added 506 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 112 attempts.

The only downfall to the Rebels team is their defensive line and secondary. Ole Miss will enter the 2021 college football season with the sixth-best quarterback and ranks third in the SEC at the running back position. Jerrion Ealy will assist Corral as the Rebels look to shock the college football world in 2021.

Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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