With football just 10 days away, here are 10 Non-Power 5 teams to watch out for. I am ruling out independent schools.
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
The Chanticleers finished 11-1 in 2020. There star QB Grayson McCall is back and ready to play along with star senior wideout Jaivon Heiligh. McCall was 172 for 250, threw for 2,488 yards in 2020 and 26 TDs with 3 interceptions. Jaivon Heiligh had 998 recieving yards and 10 recieving TDs. Star Senior CB D'Jordan Strong is back. He led the team in 2020 with 5 picks. The Chanticleers are geared up to make a title run, which makes me think... WHY ARE THEY RANKED 22ND?
The Bearcats are a great team with a great program and recruiting. Star Senior QB Desmond Ridder is back and better than ever. Ridder threw for 2,296 yards (186-281) and 19 TDs with 6 picks in 2020. The Bearcats are ranked 8th in the nation and have a chance to become the first non-Power 5 team to reach the CFP. They have the tools to do it.
Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns
The Rajun' Cajuns are back with star senior QB Levi Lewis. Sadly, star RB Elijah Mitchell was lost to the NFL, but with Levi's mobility, they should be able to be okay. They should be able to win the division, but finish 2nd in the conference and go to a bowl game like the New Mexico Bowl.
San Jose State Spartans
San Jose State is a Mountain West title contender and possible top 20 team. Star senior QB Nick Starkel is back after a great 2020 season. He threw for 2,174 yards and 17 TDs with 7 interceptions. The Spartans are a very fast team which should allow them to win at least 6 out of 8 conference games with that speed and accuracy. The Spartans are a hard finalist in the Mountain West Conference.
The Wolfpack are a very strong and powerful team operating with an incredible offense with speedy recievers and strong running backs. They're operating behind star senior QB Carson Strong. Strong is on the Heisman Watch as he is a super powerful, underated QB that could be a star in the NFL. Strong threw for 2,858 yards last year with 27 TDs and only 4 picks. They will definitely be competing with San Jose State for a spot in the Mountain West Championship.
The Knights are back with star junior QB Dillon Gabriel at QB, looking to make another title run. UCF looks like a team that could go undefeated and be in the Sugar Bowl come January 1st. Dillon Gabriel threw for 3,570 yards with 32 touchdowns and 4 picks. He could also be on the Heisman watch midway through the season.
Marshall Thundering Herd
The Herd are a great team with star Grant Wells at QB. Wells threw for 2,091 yards and 18 TDs, but had 9 interceptions. Wells has had a lot of time to develop in the offseason and should beable get the picks under control. The Marshall squad is very strong with speed on both sides of the ball. Marshall should have a great season.
Ball State Cardinals
Ball State had a great 2020 season behind Drew Plitt at QB. He threw for 2,154 yards and 17 TDs with 6 picks. They are currently on a 7 game winning streak with their last loss being the first game of the 2020 season against Miami (Ohio). They then won 6 in a row, and competed in the Arizona Bowl against San Jose State, winning, and making it 7 in a row. Can they make it 19 or 20 or 21 in a row? Possibly 22?
The Cowboys are operating behind a "Trey Lance type" QB in Sean Chambers. Chambers has had problems with injuries, but he is back and healthy and ready for the 2021 season. Wyoming is very strong and speedy. Star RB Xazavian Valladay had a great 2019, but an underwhelming 2020. He is ready for a Heisman run in 2021, though. Wyoming is looking scary good in 2021.
Boise State Broncos
Boise State is another top Mountain West team and one of the best non-Power 5 teams in history. The Broncos are another vey strong and fast team with a great team all around. Their offense is operating under star QB Hank Bachmeier who threw for 1,150 yards, 6 TDs, and 2 picks in 2020. The Broncos also have USC transfer Jack Sears lined up to compete in 2021 or 2022. The senior starred as a Trojan and is almost spot on with every pass. He is a great guy to have and could carry the team if he had to. The Broncos could be another team going undefeated in 2021 and finishing in the top 15.
Appalachian State Mountaineers
San Diego State Aztecs
Western Michigan Broncos
Fresno State Bulldogs
Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs