Picking the favorites in major conferences loaded with preseason Top 25 teams isn’t much of a challenge, but the depth of those conferences means that the underdogs have some serious bite, too. Just as Florida State (unranked in the preseason) stunned North Carolina and Duke to take the ACC title last year, there’s always a chance for some unheralded team to put together a great run—even in the biggest of conferences.
One of the most interesting races this year could be in the Pac-12, where the top two contenders (Arizona and UCLA) will be relying heavily on loaded freshman classes. Those two powerhouses may have an edge on talent, but don’t be surprised if the veteran California Golden Bears make a serious run behind Allen Crabbe and an experienced backcourt.
Herein, a closer look at Cal and the rest of the most promising unranked teams to watch in each of the nation’s top six conferences.