5 college football teams that will be better than you think in 2024

Don't be shocked if any of these five college football teams are pushing for a playoff berth.

Marcus Freeman, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Marcus Freeman, Notre Dame Fighting Irish / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages
1 of 5

It is the dawn of a new era in major college football. Long gone are the days of antiquated divisions and the flaws of a four-team College Football Playoff. While the four-team format accomplished what it set out to do, which was to give us the four best teams in a given season, that is not what the general public really wanted. What it wanted was an opportunity for everyone to have a shot at a title.

So with that in mind, we have to look at the playoff picture quite differently than before. It is no longer about being one of the top four teams in college football, but rather one of the five highest-ranked conference champions or one of the seven next-best teams who didn't win their league. The expanded playoff is going to be more inclusive than ever. I can't wait to see how it all unfolds this fall.

But for every team that is a lock to make the 12-team field like a Georgia, an Ohio State, an Oregon or a Texas, there is always somebody hiding in the tall grass, waiting to pounce. Yes, there will be other contenders like Missouri, Ole Miss and Penn State probably making the field, but what about the guys nobody is thinking about? Who could some of those teams be? Let's find out now with this deep dive.

Here are five college football teams I fully expect will be better than most of the casual fans expect.

5. Texas A&M Aggies have soft schedule, led by familiar face in Mike Elko

The end of the Jimbo Fisher era in College Station did not go swimmingly. It was a lot of recruiting, a lot of empty promises and a whole lot of not winning conference games. After being exceptionally mid the last two years, the fast-talking snake oil salesman from Appalachia is probably eyeing the Pitt job. If he takes over for Pat Narduzzi, there is a chance the whole state of West Virginia will hate him.

But this isn't about Fisher. It is all about Mike Elko. The former Duke Blue Devils head coach comes back to College Station after a two-year residency in Durham. Although the Aggies play in the far tougher league, they have a fairly navigable schedule next season. Missouri, LSU and Texas are their three toughest conference games. They also draw Notre Dame this year. All four are at Kyle Field, too.

Everything else on their slate is very winnable, even road games at Florida and Auburn. If the Aggies were to win those two road games and then maybe use the 12th Man of theirs to their advantage vs. either Missouri, LSU, Notre Dame or Texas, that is a 9-3 football team. I may be a fool to be bullish on Texas A&M, but there is certainly some Good Bull to be had down in College Station now under Elko.

If the Aggies go 10-2, they will make the expanded playoff and Elko is a Coach of the Year candidate.