Dark Horse Teams That Can Make the 2019 College Football Playoff

Now midway through the season, we have a pretty solid idea of which teams are true College Football Playoff contenders. The No. 4 Clemson Tigers, No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide and No. 2 LSU Tigers look poised to make a CFP appearance, but there's still plenty of time for some surprise programs to make a run.

With that in mind, here are a few dark horse teams that could win the 2019 College Football Playoff.

1. Florida Gators (7-1)

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA - OCTOBER 19: Teammates Brett Heggie #61 and Kyle Pitts #84 celebrate after a touchdown by Freddie Swain #16 of the Florida Gators during their game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium on October 19, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

With one loss on the season, which came to LSU, the Florida Gators will need to win out to have any chance of making the CFP. Following a bye this weekend, Florida will face its toughest remaining test of the year, against a one-loss Georgia Bulldogs team. That's the last ranked opponent Florida has on the docket this season, and if the Gators escape unscathed, they'll have a chance to potentially punch their ticket to the CFP with a win in the SEC Championship game. But, remember, they'll likely have to beat Alabama in that game – a tough task for any team.

2. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-1)

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 12: Tony Jones Jr. #6 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs with the ball during a game against the USC Trojans at Notre Dame Stadium on October 12, 2019 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated USC 30-27. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish take on the Michigan Wolverines tonight in Week 9 in what looks to be their toughest remaining game. ND will likely need some help in order to make the CFP, but the Fighting Irish have an outside shot, if they win out in convincing fashion.

3. Penn State (7-0)

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA - OCTOBER 19:  Sean Clifford #14 of the Penn State Nittany Lions drops back to pass during the third quarter against the Michigan Wolverines on October 19, 2019 at Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pennsylvania. Penn State defeats Michigan 28-21.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The only undefeated team on this list, the Penn State Nittany Lions have been an absolute buzzsaw in 2019. Penn State's seven wins have come by an average margin of 30.0 (PPG), and the Nittany Lions have allowed the third-fewest PPG in country (10.0). Penn State's offense has been no slouch though, averaging 40.0 PPG on the year (tied for No. 10 in NCAA), making the Nittany Lions one of only three teams in the country to rank in the top 10 in points scored and points against on a per-game basis. PSU will likely have to knock off Ohio State on Nov. 23 in order to have a shot at the CFP, but this team has simply been playing too well to ignore.

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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. 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.

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