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This will probably not come as a complete shock, but the Alabama Crimson Tide football team is certainly going to be decent in 2021.

And of course, by decent, I mean they will most likely win anywhere from 12 to 15 games this season and possibly become the first team in the College Football Playoff era to win back-to-back national championships.

I do not think that I am breaking any news when I say Alabama should be very good in 2021. So will Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Georgia, all of which will likely make up the preseason top five.

In the seven years of the CFB playoffs, those five teams have made up 21 of the 28 total CFB semifinal spots: only one other team (Notre Dame, twice) has made more than one appearance in the semifinals.

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But college football is not just about those four spots, even though most fans of big programs think it is: there are always interesting stories of teams that overachieve and make a run at a New Year’s Day bowl game.

How about Coastal Carolina, BYU and those Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana last season? All three teams ended their campaign with a single loss and at least 10 wins. In 2019, of course, you had LSU, which won the national championship at 15-0. But Utah was 11-3, Minnesota was 11-2, and Appalachian State went 13-1, as reported by Illinois gamblers.

So who is it going to be in 2021?

That could prove to be the pivotal question, especially when you start looking at the team over/under total win projections.

Could it be the Texas Longhorns, one of the two newest members of the SEC? Maybe, but Oklahoma is joining the conference as well, and every team will want to be the one to spoil this run for the Horns. With less competition in the Big 21, many eyes will likely be on Iowa State.

What about a team like the Buffalo Bulls, who have a projected win total somewhere around 10? A break here or there, and the Bulls could be in a major bowl come December.

How about the Sun Belt Conference, which has turned into one of the best in the nation as of late? Coastal Carolina, Louisiana and App State could all be the surprise team.

Do not sleep on the AAC teams, like Cincinnati, Memphis, UCF and Tulsa.

But this could be the year of a team like Oregon or North Carolina, who both come into 2021 with lofty expectations. The Tar Heels in particular have a good quarterback in Sam Howell, a stud running back in Josh Henderson, and could light up the ACC.

So while you have your eyes focused on the top of the rankings, make sure you glance down every once in a while to see those teams that might start creeping up the ladder each month.

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