The 2020 football season didn’t really count. Sure, games were played, but with COVID restrictions, whole strings of special teams out after being exposed, and the reduced capacity of stadiums with spread-out games – it’s fair to call the entire last season a wash.
That’s probably not a popular opinion if you’re an LSU fan, but Clemson fans will back us up.
What we learned about college football last year is that strong programs stay strong in difficult circumstances, while programs that don’t constantly have billions of dollars streaming in were more affected by the global pandemic. We’re looking at you, Alabama.
That said, who should you keep your eye on this season? Which usually-underrated programs are going to blow us out of the water? Of course, there are no guarantees, but you can read on the five teams we have our Google Alerts set for, below.
1. The Oklahoma Sooners
While we don’t usually put our money in the Big 12 when it comes to making our free college football betting picks, the Sooners surprised us last year. Not only have they been focused on investing in the players they have there already, but they hosted one of the best recruiting events of the season for their upcoming class.
Their QB, Spencer Rattler, is one to look out for. He averaged over forty points a game last season, even though the team missed the playoffs. With their recruits, we expect that we’ll be yelling “BOOMER SOONER” for more games than we thought. What do you think? Will you be putting your faith in those Norman boys this season?
2. The Florida Gators
Rankings are not always kind to this Gainesville, FL team – but that’s what happens when Tim Tebow sets the bar sky-high. This central Florida team is coming off a few years of coaching issues but seems to be getting into the swing of things under head coach Dan Mullen.
We are mostly discounting last season, but their win over Georgia was a good example of what the team can do when they’re all there. One challenge they do have coming up is the loss of Kyle Trask. While we’re thrilled that the Florida-grown quarterback (who we think deserved the Heisman, but that’s a different article) was signed by the Super Bowl Champion Buccaneers, the program will miss him and the “Kyle-Kyle connection”.
If you’re betting on the Gators, you should always have them up when there are big rivalry games at home. Remember Florida vs. Auburn in 2019? No one had Florida winning that game, but the aptly named “Swamp” or Ben Hill Griffin Stadium was so loud and rowdy, that the team pulled through.
Rumor has it that was the most crowded and the loudest the stadium has been since Tebow-times. We hope they can break that record this season!
P.S. In case you missed it, Florida wonder-boy Tim Tebow is now the Tight End for the Jacksonville Jaguars. We’re happy to see him back in the Sunshine State, where he belongs.
Yes, we’re including the losers of last year’s NCAA championship game on our list. Why wouldn’t we? With all things considered (2020 in general) Clemson had a great season. Any team knows that playing against LSU is an uphill battle – especially for a smaller SEC school like Clemson.
We know that those tigers have been pacing in their off-season cage and will be ready to pounce whenever this season gives them a chance. They are losing golden-boy (and golden-haired) quarterback Trevor Lawrence, along with Travis Etienne, who were both first-round draft picks. But college programs are used to that, and their expected quarterback, D.J. Uiagaleilei had the opportunity to train with the best – so we expect great things for him.
D.J. already showed off his ability to lead the team after Lawrence got COVID-19 last year, and if you haven’t watched his highlights vs Notre Dame and Boston College, then you have some YouTube-ing to do.
We can’t wait to see his film roll this time next year.
4. Texas A&M
We love an underdog, and while the Aggies are ranked in the top ten this season, they haven’t always been. They’re a newer program that just recently became a team to watch. Some people predict that they are the most likely to give Alabama a run for their money in the SEC West games.
And we’d love to see that. They have a defense that is lovingly called “The Wrecking Crew”, and you couldn’t pay us enough to go up against them in real life.
Coach Jimbo Fisher has built up plenty of programs before and we expect him to work his magic this season at A&M as well.
While they had a so-so season last year, LSU still managed to pull off a win at the National Championship. That sentence only makes sense if you’re talking about 2020.
Anyways, the program has gotten new leadership and is ready to take a swing at some big teams this season. Can they make it to the finals two seasons in a row? While the program is generally well known, they have consistency issues – but we hope they surprise us!
College Football Season 2021: Back to Normal
While those cardboard cutouts of fans were cute, we’re excited to have college football back the way it’s supposed to be this season. Tailgates, rowdy college kids, and fans covered head-to-toe in glitter are all back in 2021 – and it couldn’t have come sooner.
For more posts about life returning to normal, subscribe to our blog. And check-in in 2022 to see if our opinions in this post were right!