Picking favorites is easy. Nick Saban’s Alabama teams are good bets to at least go to a top bowl every year, while defending national champions Florida State look ready to steamroll through the ACC once again with Heisman winner Jameis Winston under center for at least one more year. Anyone who watched any football last year can tell you that Ohio State and Oregon could very well take home the Big Ten and Pac-12 championships, respectively. What people don’t predict is a 2013 Auburn run to the national championship game, or Arizona State winning ten games in the regular season and going to the Pac-12 championship.
While powerhouse programs remain at the top for a reason, there are teams that fly under the radar during the spring and summer every year that wind up doing miraculous things in the fall. Here are the teams from each conference that the experts won’t be picking, but we think have a chance to make some noise this season.