Every summer since 2007 I have created an intricate set of college football predictions for each upcoming season. This year is no exception, as I will be using my blog over the next few hours to publish my 15th annual college football preview guide which will contain 19 entries in all. Without further ado, here are the teams I am predicting to surprise this season. These teams are ordered in the relative disparity between my picks and the experts average while also taking into account the significance of each pick.
|Surprise Teams||My Predictions:||Experts Predictions:|
|1||Missouri||10th in nation (+35); 2nd in SEC East (+2)||45th in nation; 4th in SEC East|
|2||West Virginia||14th in nation (+19); 2nd in Big 12 (+4)||33rd in nation; 6th in Big 12|
|3||Pittsburgh||17th in nation (+14); 2nd in ACC Coastal (+1)||33rd in nation; T-3rd in ACC Coastal|
|4||Nebraska||24th in nation (+24); 2nd in Big Ten West (+2)||48th in nation; T-4th in Big Ten West|
|5||Houston||35th in nation (+36); 2nd in AAC (+1)||71st in nation; T-3rd in AAC|
|6||UTSA||36th in nation (+49); 1st in C-USA West (+1)||85th in nation; 2nd in C-USA West|
|7||Louisville||43rd in nation (+12); 3rd in ACC Atlantic (+2)||55th in nation; 5th in ACC Atlantic|
|8||California||44th in nation (+16); 3rd in Pac-12 North (+2)||60th in nation; 5th in Pac-12 North|
|9||Florida International||72nd in nation (+46); 3rd in C-USA East (+2)||118th in nation; 5th in C-USA East|
|10||South Alabama||82nd in nation (+40); 2nd in Sun Belt West (+2)||122nd in nation; 4th in Sun Belt West|
As you can see, I am picking the Missouri Tigers to be my # 1 surprise team in the country for 2021 based on their manageable schedule, the coaching of Eliah Drinkwitz, their rising star quarterback Connor Bazelak, and the fact that the SEC East is unusually soft this season. If you remember back to 2014 and 2015, when Tennessee and Florida were both down, Missouri was able to sneak up on everyone and capture the division crown in consecutive seasons. I see a similar phenomenon occurring this season, and even though, I don’t think Missouri can get by Georgia to win the East, I have them going 10-2 and landing in a New Years Six Bowl. Keep in mind that I nailed my # 1 surprise picks the last two seasons when both Miami-FL (last season) and California (2019) had breakthrough seasons that no one saw coming.