College Football Underdogs

Husker FanCorrespondent IJune 23, 2009

ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 29:  Georgia Bulldogs mascot Hairy Dawg riles up the crowd before the game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Sanford Stadium on November 29, 2008 in Athens, Georgia.  The Yellow Jackets defeated the Bulldogs 45-42.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

Underdogs.

We all look for them, but give little thought about their possibilities of winning it all.

USC, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, and LSU have dominated the past decade in College Football.

Even with Boise State and Utah's runs to glory, we have NOT seen an underdog win a title since Oklahoma in 2000(were they even an underdog?).

Will we see the return of the Underdog in 2009? 

Maybe. 

Here are my best guesses of who can run the table as the proverbial tag of 'underdog'.

West Virginia

Bill Stewart is the "new" coach entering his second season after the healthy departure of Rich Rodriguez. Pat White is gone, as are their two top receivers. 

What they do have back is an extremely underrated and potential superstar in QB Jarret Brown. Combine him with Noel Devine, and it could be 2003 all over again, the year in which West Virginia beat Georgia in the Sugar Bowl and were crowned Big East Champions.

North Carolina

With 15 starters returning, the baby blue and white will have one of the fiercest front seven's in the entire ACC, if not the entire country. 

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The real question is whether or not they can earn enough offense to make that solid "D" matter. TJ Yates is a somewhat proven starter who has had past success. Will Greg Little be the everything, and all everything recruit that we all expected? Very interesting things are brewing in Chapel Hill.

Miami

Another ACC team. Randy Shannon, much like Butch Davis at North Carolina, has improved the recruiting at Miami regarding actual "on the field" players. 

With 15 guys returning, it simply comes down to QB play for the 'Canes. Can Jacory Harris carry the load? The talent around him is unquestioned. His talent is what could turn around a 7-6 Miami team into a legit Title contender if he proves to be the real deal. Defense shouldn't be a problem, especially if the 'Canes can score.

Oklahoma State

This team has a tough road ahead of them. They have Georgia and Texas at home, along with matchups against Texas Tech and a game at Oklahoma to end the season. 

Even since the days of the Okie State triplets of Mike Gundy, Thurman Thomas, Barry Sanders, and Hart Lee Dykes; the Cowpokes have what may be considered the best offense in the country. 

With Zac Robinson, Dez Bryant, and Kendall Hunter, the 'Pokes have some lightning in the bottle. The Pokes are getting a lot of love from preseason voters, but I'm not sure that many truly consider them title contenders. I guess we will see?

Michigan State

Yes, the "State" after Michigan isn't a joke. Then again, if I said Michigan straight, I should be due for some heckling. 

Javon Ringer and Brian Hoyer are gone. Then again, were they all that great? With 15 starters returning and eight returners on defense, the Spartans may be in store for their best year since Plaxico Burress was running routes for Sparty.

Keith Nichol left Oklahoma because some guy from OU (Bradford) beat him out in Spring. Didn't the same thing happen to Jevan Snead at Ole Miss because Colt McCoy beat him out at Texas? Intersting.

Look for Dantonio to keep the upside going at Michigan State. Can they win it all?  Doubtful, but maybe worth a 250 to 1 type wager.

Georgia

In a year when they shouldn't? They do. That is the Georgia way of doing things lately.  

A road game against previously mentioned Oklahoma State would go very far. A win over Florida in Jacksonville would put them on top. 

There may not be a more opportunistic schedule in the entire country. The 'Dawgs will get the spotlight in their first five games, as they have away trips at Oklahoma State and Arkansas, along with home games against South Carolina, Arizona State, and LSU.

That type of schedule, if done well, leads to National Championships, or at the least votes to go forth. 

With that schedule, along with the annual WLOCP matchup with Florida, the 'Dawgs will get the country's attention, especially if they go 11-1 in the regular season. 

Joe Cox isn't a rookie by any stretch, and AJ Green is a year older with a plethora of RB's with a solid OL. The defense has eight returners, and they can only get better than last year. 

Look for the 'Dawgs to make some serious noise in 2009.

Those are my sleeper teams.  Who you got?