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
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1. Notre Dame Fighting Irish will make the CFP, probably winning a game

This is so obvious, but people out there really do hate them some Notre Dame. Even though the Fighting Irish need to join a conference, especially once the College Football Playoff expands to 14 teams, they should be a fantastic team to watch this fall. Marcus Freeman has been able to ride out the rocky transition from Brian Kelly. While he did lose Gerad Parker, he added Riley Leonard.

And that right there is why I am so bullish on the Irish this fall. Leonard could be a first-round pick next spring, along the likes of Carson Beck, Quinn Ewers, Shedeur Sanders and maybe even Jalen Milroe. He did extraordinary things when he was healthy playing for Mike Elko at Duke. Despite Freeman losing Parker to the Troy job, being able to bring Mike Denbrock back over from LSU is a huge pickup.

Given that the Irish don't play in a conference, they can realistically get to the expanded College Football Playoff with something like a 10-2 record. With the way their schedule shakes out, this might be an 11-1 team. If that were the case, they would be my No. 7 seed behind the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC winners, as well as the runner-ups for both the Big Ten and SEC. It is good to be the Irish!

Not only do I expect the Irish to make the expanded playoff, but they will win a home playoff game.

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