Yes, we know that the college football season is still some time away, but at the same time, when has it ever been a bad time to talk about college football? While there are teams that will always be at the top of all college football picks experts’ lists, there are other teams that have quietly been working on building up their stock and turning their football programs into true contenders, all while still flying relatively low under the radar.

With this said, here are our picks for the best sleeper teams that could make a run for a spot in the College Football Playoffs.

Miami Hurricanes

Has anybody ever really thought about how much college football would seriously benefit from having the Miami Hurricanes back on top of their game? It’s been years since the Miami Hurricanes have truly made headlines in the NCAA football universe but it seems like those days are closer to being gone than they are from continuing on. After what many people would call a successful season in 2020 with a 9-3 record, coach Manny Diaz and company understood that if they truly wanted to show people that the “U” is back, more work needed to be done.

Photo Credit: Kasey Moody

Miami will have a boatload of returning starters with star QB and future NFL prospect D’Eriq King at the helm and WR Mike Harley, RB Cam’Ron Harris, OT Jarrid Williams, DT Jon Ford and Nesta Jade Silvera, DE Zach McCloud and S Bubba Bolden all wanting to come back for another season with the Hurricanes. Easily put, if Miami manages to win their opening game against Alabama, do not be surprised if we end up watching the Hurricanes make a run for a spot in the CFP.

Texas Longhorns

If we’re going to talk about how Miami making a run to be in the CFP once again would be all sorts of beneficial for college football, then what about if the Texas Longhorns were to do so as well? First signal of pure improvement and hope is the fact that new HC and former Alabama OC Steve Sarkisian will have a very well loaded roster full of returning playmakers to try their best to put Texas back in the college football map, all players who led the Longhorns to yet another bowl title last fall.

While Sarkisian still needs to figure out who his starting QB will be between Casey Thompson and Hudson Card, on the defensive side of the ball is where Texas will be a powerhouse able to compete at the highest level for a spot in the CFP. Linebacker DeMarvion Overshown as well as DL Keondre Coburn will be expected to step up immensely to lead this Texas defense on to victory in all games.

LSU Tigers

Yup, I know, it’s weird to see the LSU Tigers in a list like this instead of a list with all the top contenders for a spot in the CFP. Especially after they won the title just two years ago, but that’s how big of a difference one bad season can cause in college football. Ed Ogeron’s team is coming off a 5-5 season that saw them have more issues to deal with both on and off the field than success stories.

With all that said though, you can never rule out the LSU Tigers from putting in their work towards becoming a true threat and contender both in the SEC and in the CFP picture in general. With all but two of their starters returning for this season, this team is stacked to the brim with talent on all sides of the ball and they will be ready to fight it out until the end.

Arizona State Sun Devils

If there is one player in particular who will be playing with a gigantic chip on his shoulder and who will be definitely looking to show why he is a rumored candidate for a Heisman Trophy, it’s AZ State’s QB Jayden Daniels. After last season which was marred by COVID cases and interruptions and saw Arizona State only able to play four games, losing to USC and UCLA along the way, something magically clicked for Daniels and company and wow did they play some good football.

While most critics have their eyes set on either Oregon or USC as the top candidates to take the PAC-12 title, if Daniel can come in with the same poise and hunger that he showcased in his last two games of last season then Arizona State will surely be flipping some heads.

(Header Image: Tammy Anthony Baker)

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