Skip to main content

CBS Names 5 'Dark Horse' College Football Playoff Teams

Arkansas celebrates a touchdown.

FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS - SEPTEMBER 11: Dominique Johnson #20 of the Arkansas Razorbacks celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the first half of a game against the Texas Longhorns at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on September 11, 2021 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

The 2022 college football season is still a few months away, but that didn't stop one analyst from making a list of five dark horse candidates for the playoff.

CBS Sports created a list of dark horses by taking one team from every conference. The only limitation was that the teams needed to be a longer shot than 50-1 to make the College Football Playoff.

ACC: NC State

"NC State was right on the edge of competing for the conference championship in 2021 but came just short," CBS Sports said. "Circle a matchup on the road against Clemson on Sept. 30 – it could decide the ACC Atlantic."

Big Ten: Penn State

"Penn State has built a consistent defensive reputation and should be able to keep it going after losing two star defenders in the second round of the draft. However, the deep roster of options at quarterback could be what Penn State finally needs to enter the playoff mix."

Big 12: Baylor

"Baylor boasts the Big 12's best trenches on both sides of the ball with four offensive linemen and every defensive lineman back. The Bears also added intriguing interior lineman Jaxon Player from Tulsa to bolster the unit next to future NFL Draft pick Siaki Ika at nose tackle."

Pac-12: Washington

"The Huskies ranked No. 17 nationally in talent composite in 2021, right in the range of Michigan, Penn State and Florida State. DeBoer added a top 25 national transfer class, including Indiana quarterback Michael Penix and four skill position players. The ingredients for a turnaround are heading to Seattle."

SEC: Arkansas

"A few key parts are off to the NFL, but quarterback KJ Jefferson should only keep growing behind an offensive line that should always be excellent. The Razorbacks get Cincinnati, South Carolina and Texas A&M in the first four weeks of the season leading into Alabama. We'll know what to expect quickly."

Did CBS Sports get it right?