With the College Football Playoffs ushering in a new era, teams are preparing to be one of those four "in" teams to raise the new college football championship trophy. Here are 5 teams across the nation that I think could be dark horses this season and may be put in considered in discussion for a playoff spot.
1. Florida: A team that ended last season 4-8 usually doesn't have a snowballs chance in hell in being a contender. Florida is different. They're healthy than what they were last year, which plagued this team. They play 6 preseason ranked teams, including #1 Florida State at the end of the regular season. And they're in the SEC, which has always been contenders for a national title. Florida's schedule begins basically against #2 Alabama, and if they can beat a questionable Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, don't be surprised to see this team in contention for a title.
2. Washington: The Pac-12 is full of contenders, from USC to Stanford to Oregon. But Washington is coming in this season with something to prove. The Huskies are a dark horse in the Pac-12 period, but should they contend, maybe compete for a conference title, then the committee should think of a Huskies playoff team.
3. Ohio State: The Big Ten is Michigan State's to lose now with the loss of Braxton Miller. The Spartans are the only ranked team on the Buckeye's schedule. Don't rule them out, for should they beat the Spartans on November 8th, then the Big Ten east division will be all up for grabs then. But with their strength of schedule, even if Ohio State wins the conference, they're gonna need a lot of help to clinch a playoff spot.
4. Texas: Everything's bigger in Texas....but their football team has taken steps in the wrong direction lately. This is a pick i'm scared of making. The Big 12 has a few powerhouse teams, but this is the year for the Longhorns to put up or shut up. With #7 UCLA coming into Austin in week 3, this will be the game that defines the season. If they win, then they can contend with the Big 12. Lose, and the dark horse spot I'm giving to them left and is never coming back....until next season. Maybe.
5. UCLA: Strength in schedule is always important in today's college sports. But UCLA has probably the best in the Pac-12. With Heisman contender Brett Hundley under center, the Bruins are now in the national spotlight. If they don't win the Pac-12 it's a shame, because Hundley has many offensive weapons to go with this season. Make way for the Bruins, not the Trojans, to be a heavy dark horse team to make the college football playoffs this year.