Top Surprise College Football Teams for 2019

Every year there are a handful of teams that win 2-3 games more than everyone expected. This list highlights teams that will play better than the majority of CFB fans expect. Some of them may be surprise playoff contenders, surprise 8-9 win teams or surprise teams in their own conference. Without further ado, here are the 10 surprise college football teams for 2019 (plus a bonus team).

1

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Washington Huskies

Everyone is buying the hype of Oregon in the Pac 12 and believe that the Huskies 9 starters lost on defense will lead to a drop in the conference. The Washington offense returns every WR and Jacob Eason who is going to be a breakout QB for the Huskies. The defense returns loads of talent and players who played 15-20% of snaps. They get Oregon, Utah and Wazzu at home. The defense isn’t getting enough credit and that moves them to the top of my surprise team list. This is a Playoff Contender.

2

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Syracuse Orange

Of course, the loss of QB Eric Dungey is big. However, Tommy DeVito has a strong arm and can also scramble when needed. DeVito will lead an offense that returns their top 2 RBs and 3/4 WRs. The defense has one of the top D-lines in the nation with Alton Robinson and Kendall Coleman. The secondary is led by All-American candidate Andre Cisco. The first 3 weeks are important, but if they can win 2 of those 3, then 10 wins is very possible. The Orange will be back this season.

3

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Memphis Tigers

UCF has run the AAC the last couple years, but the conference is getting stronger. The Tigers may have lost RBs Darrell Henderson and Tony Pollard, but the offense stays explosive with QB Brady White. The weapons on offense are still plentiful with RB Patrick Taylor, WR Damonte Coxie, WR Pop Williams and TE Joey Magnifico. The defense struggled last year, but EDGE Bryce Huff, LB Austin Hall and CB TJ Carter will help improve the numbers. They have a solid shot at starting 9-0, and are the leading contender to knock off the Knights in the AAC.

4

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Virginia Cavaliers

This team has the capability to win 9-10 games. The defense will be among the best in the ACC with LBs Charles Snowden and Jordan Mack returning. The secondary is solid with top CB Bryce Hall back, as well as safeties Brenton Nelson and Joey Blount. The offense returns underrated QB Bryce Perkins and has WRs Joe Reed, Hasise Dubois and transfer Dejon Brissett to work with. The most important games are at Pitt, vs FSU, at Miami Fl and vs Virginia Tech. If they can get through those 4 games with 3 wins, then 10 wins is 100% in the picture for the Cavs.

5

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TCU Horned Frogs

TCU had about 1000 injuries last year, which is an over exaggeration. But not by a lot. They return their Top 2 RBs, WR Jalen Reagor and 4 O-line starters. The offense’s success will settle on the QB position, which is between Alex Delton, Justin Rogers and Max Duggan. The defense returns loads of talent including DL Ross Blacklock, LB Garret Wallow, SS Innis Gaines and CB Jeff Gladney. Gary Patterson has been known for following bad seasons with 10+ win years. They get Texas and Baylor at home, but almost all of the road games are still up for grabs. If they can stay healthy, this team will win 9-10 games in 2019.

6

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Minnesota Golden Gophers

Coming off a 7-6 year, people aren’t expecting the Golden Gophers to be a great team. However, they return 9 starters on offense. This includes one of the deepest RB groups in the nation and Top 15 WR Tyler Johnson. The defense returns 7 starters, including DE Carter Coughlin and a solid secondary. With almost all of their offensive production back and playing Nebraska, Penn St, and Wisconsin at home, the Gophers are going to be a threat in the Big Ten West this season.

7

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Boise State Broncos

Boise St again will have one of the top defenses in the Group of 5 and the nation with EDGE Curtis Weaver and S Kekoa Nawahine leading the way. The offense must replace their QB, but Hank Bachmeier and Chase Cord are two of the highest rated QBs the Broncos have ever recruited. The winner of the job will work with a very talented WR core and 5 OL starters back. If they get past FSU week 1, then the only real test left would be at Utah St in November.

8

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Kentucky Wildcats

The assumption among a ton of people is that losing Benny Snell and Josh Allen means this team will never win again. QB Terry Wilson looked improved in the spring game and has Top 15 WR Lynn Bowden as his main target. RBs AJ Rose and Kavosiey Smoke will help replace the loss of Snell. The defense still returns solid players including LBs Kash Daniel and Jamar Watson. Mark Stoops has done a solid job and has the players to push for 8-9 wins again this year. They get Florida and Missouri at home in games that will be crucial for them to get to 9 wins. 8 seems like a good spot.

9

Arizona State Sun Devils (1980 - Pres)

Arizona State Sun Devils

If the Sun Devils find a good QB out of the 4 battling for the job, they will have a chance to surprise a lot. They return RB Eno Benjamin and WR weapons Kyle Williams, Brandon Aiyuk and Frank Darby. The O-line returns 4 starters as well. The defense returns 7 starters, including leaders at LB in Merlin Robertson and Darien Butler. They get Wazzu, USC and Oregon at home. Nine wins is not out of the question in Tempe this season.

10

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Maryland Terrapins

Take a look at the transfer additions for the Terps this offseason. QB Josh Jackson, TE Tyler Mabry and LB Keandre Jones. RB Anthony McFarland is an explosive runner. The defense should be ok with a good returning secondary of Antoine Brooks and Tino Ellis, as well as the addition of freshman Nick Cross. The Terps get key games vs Syracuse, Indiana and Nebraska at home. However, big games for bowl eligibility against Temple, Purdue and Michigan St are on the road. This team will surprise a couple teams and push for a bowl game.

Wild Card Surprise Team

WC

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Utah Utes

Utah returns almost all their WR production including their top 5. QB Tyler Huntley and RB Zack Moss will be a solid backfield as they return after missing the last 5 games. The defense will be among the best in the nation. The defensive line is the best in the nation, with Bradlee Anae, Leki Fotu, Maxs Tupai and John Penisini combining for 18 TFL and 16 sacks last year. The only daunting game on the schedule is at Washington. This team is a dark horse for the playoff this year.