MANHATTAN, KS - NOVEMBER 11:  Quarterback Will Grier #7 of the West Virginia Mountaineers throws a pass against the Kansas State Wildcats during the first half on November 11, 2017 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas.  (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

3 Surprise Teams That Can Make the College Football Playoff

While it is easy to pick Alabama, Georgia or Clemson to make the College Football Playoff (even if you didn't watch this week's action), everyone should know nothing is guaranteed. Here are three teams that could make an unexpected leap into the top four by season's end with a few balls bouncing their way. 

3. Penn State Nittany Lions

Despite losing superstar running back Saquon Barkley and top wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton to the NFL, Penn State's 2018 could turn out better than many expect. The Nittany Lions return one of the nation's top quarterbacks in Trace McSorley, who despite losing many of his offensive weapons, should keep Penn State fans confident. 


What should jump out most when considering Penn State's postseason chances is their very favorable schedule. Although they play some tough teams in Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin, those contests are being played at home. 


Penn State's one major test on the road is when they visit the Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor on November 3.  


If the Nittany Lions continue to protect their own house and steal one in Ann Arbor, expect these guys to be at the top of the playoff conversation. They already fended off an upset bid from Appalachian State. Exhale, and then keep pounding.  

2. UCF Golden Knights

The dark-horse selection of this article is the now officially-recognized 2017 National Champion UFC Golden Knights.


Aside from Heisman trophy winner Baker Mayfield, there was only one quarterback who ranked in the top-5 of almost every major passing category last year, and that was UCF starting QB McKenzie Milton.  


Although head coach Scott Frost has departed for his alma mater, Nebraska, UCF has brought in Josh Heupel, who runs a fast-paced spread offense. This should open up the field more for Milton to make plays with his arm and his legs.  


UCF doesn't have any major tests on the schedule, which will most definitely hurt them with the committee when it comes time for the final decision (much like in 2017). If they can run through competition like they did last year, you might see them get some consideration after what many felt was a "snub" in 2017.  


The Golden Knights did get their season off to a great start on Thursday, defeating UConn 56-17.   

1. West Virginia Mountaineers

The West Virginia Mountaineers are led by electric Heisman hopeful Will Grier. With what is a top-heavy Big 12 this year, WVU only has one real challenge on the road this season with the No. 23 preseason-ranked Texas Longhorns, a team that just fell to Maryland.

Although the Mountaineers do play in-conference powerhouses No. 16 TCU and No. 7 Oklahoma, both of those contests come at home in Morgantown.  


Grier is playing behind a line that's returning most of its starters from last season. His receiving corps remains mostly intact from 2017 as well.  

The Mountaineers got their season off the right way, in dominant fashion, defeating Tennessee 40-14.  


If West Virginia can remain successful with their high-flying, pass-first offense and get a big win in the Big 12 Championship game, they'll definitely be in the hunt.   


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David Kaestle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, David also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username davekaestle. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.