The new playoffs format for the NCAA Football Championships has added a whole new level of excitement to the sport. 2016 saw Clemson beat Oklahoma and Alabama beat Michigan State in the Semifinals, with Alabama beating Clemson 45 to 40 for the National Championship at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona. This was Alabama’s sixteenth National Championship, adding to their storied history.
The 2017 playoffs are still a long way off, but we can still look at the field and predict who might have success. Understandably, Clemson and Alabama are currently at the top of the odds list, followed by Oklahoma, Baylor, Stanford, and Michigan. However, there are a few key teams to keep an eye on, who could shoot from underdog status to a National Championship.
First up would be the Tennessee Volunteers. The vast majority of their roster will stay intact, which is always a recipe to make an impact. Talented quarterback Joshua Dobbs will return as well and they are expected to have one of the top offensive units this season. Similarly, the Ole Miss Rebels will also have a very potent offense, though they will be losing some of their key defensive players from last year. On the flipside, the TCU Horned Frogs will be keeping most of their defensive unit from last year. They do lose quarterback Trevone Boykin, but have a very competent replacement in Kenny Hill.
Between these three potential and surprising teams, and the expected powerhouses from last year, the 2017 playoffs should be very exciting.