5 Surprise Teams This 2014 Season

5 Surprise Teams This 2014 Season
  • Opening Intro -

    By now, you probably realize that Mississippi and Ole Miss are performing better than expected this college football season.

    Sure, Ole Miss now has two losses on the season, but they’re still further up the SEC line than most had expected.

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The two Mississippi teams are not the only college football programs that are surprising a lot of people this year. Five others are beating expectations and are giving their fans a lot to cheer about this season.

TCU Horned Frogs

It was supposed to be Oklahoma’s year in the Big 12. The preseason conference poll had the Sooners finishing first, just ahead of Baylor. TCU, currently ranked No. 6 nationally on the season was expected to finish in seventh place. After slipping past West Virginia on Sat. they’re ready to take on Kansas State this weekend with a chance to tie the Wildcats for the conference lead.

Much of the credit for the Horned Frog’s ascendancy should be given to its offense, led by quarterback Trevone Boykin. The junior has thrown for nearly 2,500 yards and has 22 touchdowns to his credit with receiver Josh Doctson and rightback B.J. Catalon leading the charge. If TCU wins out they’ll make a serious case as a playoff team.

Utah Utes

In the Pac 12 preseason poll, Utah was picked to finish fifth in the South Division. Right now, they’re tied for fourth, but are ranked No. 17 in the nation. The Utes have already beaten UCLA and USC and are coming off of a 19-16 overtime loss to Arizona State.

This weekend, Utah will host No. 4 Oregon for its most important test of the season. By beating the Ducks, Utah would effectively eliminate Oregon from playoff consideration, while burnishing its own image in the Pac 12. A strong offense and a solid defense has helped the Utes so far this year. They’ll need more of the same as Stanford and Arizona follow in successive weeks.

Duke Blue Devils

Is Duke really that much of a surprise? After all, they were picked to finish second in the ACC’s Coastal Division. Right now they are in first place with their only loss coming from Miami on Sept. 27.

Throw out last week’s 51-48 win at Pittsburgh and you have a team that has played very good defense this year. There is a very good chance that the Blue Devils will win out their season, setting up an ACC championship game against Florida State.

West Virginia Mountaineers

Like TCU, West Virginia has been a Big 12 surprise this year. The Mountaineers played gallantly this past Sat., losing to TCU at home 31-30. That game was decided as time expired, making for a devastating defeat.

Despite the loss, the Mountaineers are now 6-3 and ranked No. 23 in the nation. Strong showings against Alabama and Oklahoma in the other games they lost have proven that West Virginia was seriously underestimated at the start of the season. Clint Trickett has passed for more than 2,900 yards through nine games and has thrown 18 touchdowns. Kevin White has rushed for over 1,000 yards and has eight touchdowns. If West Virginia wins out they’ll far exceed anyone’s expectations for the year.

Wisconsin Badgers

Wisconsin, like Duke, may not be much of a surprise. The Badgers are currently ranked No. 25 and are in a three-way tie for second in the Big Ten West division. The Badgers catch a break this weekend as they take on Purdue, but then they’ll have three straight games against divisional competitors Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota.

If the Badgers keep their heads up and win out, they’ll take the division title and play for the Big Ten championship game. This is a team that opened the season with a narrow loss to LSU and was upset by Northwestern on Oct. 4. The Badgers have a good offense, but it is its defense that has frustrated teams this year.

Playoff Picture

If the season were to end today, Mississippi State, Florida State, Auburn and Oregon would be in the playoffs. But, the final third of the season is currently being waged and the top teams are likely to change.

Florida State looks to have the best chance of making the playoffs, but that is no guarantee. The Seminoles have had several close calls this season, with quarterback Jameis Winston rising to the occasion time and again.

See AlsoBig Battles Set the College Football Table This Weekend

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