College Football Playoff: 5 dark horse teams

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Jul 14, 2014; Irving, TX, USA; College football playoff executive director Bill Hancock speaks to the media at a press conference to unveil the new championship trophy at the college football playoff headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

A new era is under way, 2014 marks the inaugural College Football Playoff. The BCS is officially a thing of the past. As most people know, at the season’s end four teams will be selected to participate in a playoff for the National Championship by a respected committee — instead of two teams chosen by a computer.

Many people are betting on teams such as Florida State, Alabama, Oklahoma, Auburn and Oregon to make a run to the playoff. Those are all seemingly smart picks, but under the new format, many teams will be able to impress the selection committee. An upset here or there could take a few of these juggernaut programs out of the mix for the playoff and the national championship.

The committee is comprised of Jeff Long (chair), Barry Alvarez, Tom Osborne, Pat Haden, Oliver Luck, Archie Manning, Mike Gould, Dan Radakovich, Tom Jernstedt, Condoleezza Rice, Steve Wieberg, Tyrone Willingham and Mike Tranghese. They will watch every game and come to a conclusion as to which four teams are that nation’s elite. There are a lot of factors to consider. Does an undefeated Big Ten team get the nod over a one loss BCS team? Does an undefeated Big 12 school (not named Oklahoma) get selected over a dynamic one loss Oregon squad?

We believe an unexpected team could squeak into the first ever College Football Playoff. Here are our five dark horse teams to look out for.

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