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Sports Illustrated Names 5 CFB Programs "On The Rise"

Oklahoma balloons fly.

TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 30: Balloons for the Oklahoma Sooners fly outside of Sun Devil Stadium before the Insight Bowl against the Iowa Hawkeyes on December 30, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Here are five college football programs on the rise heading into 2018.

Several of college football's major programs had disappointing seasons in 2017. Michigan, Florida State, Tennessee and Nebraska, among others, all had rough years.

Who is going to be much improved in 2018? Sports Illustrated has made some predictions.

Perhaps no one will be more improved than FSU. The Seminoles went 7-6 in 2017, but had some tough injuries. They'll be really talented next season.

Sports Illustrated has named FSU a team "on the rise." Here's why.

There should be measured expectations for what the Seminoles can achieve in 2018, which definitely was not the case last fall, when they entered Week 1 as a popular national champion pick and ranked third in both the AP Top 25 and Coaches Polls. If you ignore the indignity of needing to reschedule a canceled game against Louisiana Monroe in order to preserve the nation’s longest bowl streak, Florida State did end its miserable season on a positive note by stringing together four consecutive wins, though they came against one Football Championship Subdivision team (Delaware State), two Group of Five teams (Southern Miss and Louisiana Monroe) and fifth-place SEC East finisher Florida.

The Seminoles are losing defensive standouts like safety Derwin James, cornerback Tarvarus McFadden and tackle Derrick Nnadi, but tailback Cam Akers could take off as a sophomore in new head coach Willie Taggart’s pace-pushing offense after rushing for 1,024 yards last season. And the Seminoles will be in better shape at quarterback if Deondre Francois is fully recovered after undergoing surgery to repair the torn patellar tendon he suffered against Alabama last September. The ACC Atlantic is Clemson’s division to lose until its performance indicates otherwise, but eclipsing the seven victories recorded last season is a reasonable goal for Florida State.

They're not the only program Sports Illustrated likes. Here are four others:

  • Michigan
  • Michigan State
  • Oregon
  • West Virginia

This is a list you want to be on. We'll see if these programs will prove right.