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Surprise Team Makes Appearance On ESPN's CFB Playoff Projection

Dylan Soehner celebrates with Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy.

MORGANTOWN, WV - OCTOBER 12: Brock Purdy #15 of the Iowa State Cyclones celebrates with Dylan Soehner #89 after rushing for a two-yard touchdown in the first half against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Mountaineer Field on October 12, 2019 in Morgantown, West Virginia. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

It's been a while since a surprise team made the College Football Playoff. ESPN thinks that could change this upcoming season.

ESPN's FPI revealed four possible playoff projections on Thursday. The first projection isn't anything out of the ordinary, seeing that it includes Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma.

The second projection leaves out Ohio State and keeps Alabama, Clemson and Oklahoma in the mix. Believe it or not, Iowa State also makes the cut in FPI's projection.

The Cyclones have risen from the ashes under the guidance and leadership of head coach Matt Campbell. Could a College Football Playoff berth be in their future? ESPN seems to think so.

Iowa State had an unprecedented season last year. The Cyclones finished the regular season 9-2, earning a trip to the Big 12 Championship in the process. After a narrow loss to the Oklahoma Sooners in the conference title game, ISU moved on to the Fiesta Bowl where it beat the Oregon Ducks 34-17.

The Cyclones return key starters in quarterback Brock Purdy and star running back Breece Hall. They should be well-equipped to challenge Oklahoma in the Big 12, once again. But both teams reaching the playoff would be a stretch.

Just once have two teams from the same conference reached the same College Football Playoff (Georgia and Alabama in 2017). It's difficult to imagine the Big 12 - a conference which doesn't even have a playoff win to boast - sending two teams this upcoming season. But crazier things have happened.

Iowa State is receiving plenty of hype this off-season. We'll have to wait to find out if the Cyclones live up to the sky-high expectations.