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Five Potential NCAA Football Dark Horse Playoff Contenders to Watch

Posted by: Hilbert Mayer
Five Potential NCAA Football Dark Horse Playoff Contenders to Watch

College Football never runs out of surprises when it comes to dark horse playoff contenders. College football fans did not expect the Michigan Wolverines and the Cincinnati Bearcats would be on the NCAA Football Playoff field with the Clemson Tigers and the Oklahoma Sooners. Bettors will have the challenging options for their stakes when playoff season comes. Here are our five potential dark horse playoff contenders to watch for the 2022-2023 Collegiate football season.

Big 12: Baylor Bears

The Baylor Bears are the defending Champion of the Big 12 Conference. The Bears just lost 6 of their key players to the NFL Draft but still have the best trenches on both sides of the ball with four offensive linemen and every defensive lineman back for the season.

The Bears added interior lineman Jaxon Player from the Tulsa Golden Hurricane to boost the defensive unit. QB Blake Shapen will take the center stage after Gerry Bohanon’s successful run in the team’s history. Shapen will be useful with Oklahoma and BYU on the slate.

Atlantic Coast Conference: NC State Wolf Pack

Coach Dave Doeren Wolf Pack had been trying to sneak into the playoff contention for the past decade. Since 2014, North Carolina State University won all 7 to 9 games but one; their 2021 9-3 run could have been their best to the bowl contests if it was not canceled.

The NC State Wolf pack is the postseason top 15 team to rank 12th at 81% in returning production. Its defensive returning production is 5th with Quarterback Devin Leary ensuring that the offense will continue its progress.

PAC 12: Washington Huskies

The Washington Huskies were 4-8 last season. New coach Kalen DeBoer replaced Jimmy Lake to continue one of the NCAA’s most consistent football programs. Lake’s offense was bad but DeBoer harnessed potential athletes everywhere he coached.

The Huskies is No. 17 at the national level in terms of talent composition in 2021. The team is at range with the Michigan Wolverines, Penn State State Nittany Lions, and the Florida State Seminoles. DeBoer acquired top 25 national transferees, including Indiana Hoosiers QB Michael Penix and four skilled position players.

Big Ten: Penn State Nittany Lions

Quarterback Sean Clifford is back with Penn State after the team suffered setbacks riddled with injuries last season. Top quarterback recruit Drew Allar will join the Nittany Lions; he is the no.3 overall prospect in the top 247 rankings. Additionally, backup QB Christian Veilleux has shown improved performance last season.

Penn State’s defense will keep its wheels turning after losing two key defenders in the 2nd round draft pick. To earn a playoff berth, the team’s quarterback options are key to opening their road to the playoffs.

SEC: Arkansas Razorbacks

According to this top college football sportsbook, there are several potential playoff contenders hovering for a chance to land a playoff spot on the field. Coach Sam Pittman has the Arkansas Razorbacks ready to jump on the playoff bandwagon and ready to knock off contenders for the berth.

The Razorbacks were 9-4 over the Penn State Nittany Lions in the Outback Bowl. The Hogs won five of its last six games down the stretch, and only lost to then-No. 2 Alabama by seven points.

Some key players of Arkansas went off to the NFL. Quarterback KJ Jefferson will continue to develop behind an excellent offensive line. The Razorbacks will have Cincinnati, the South Carolina Gamecocks, and the Texas A&M Aggies in the first four weeks of the season leading into Alabama.