The 2019-20 college football season is in the books, with Joe Burrow and the LSU Tigers knocking off Trevor Lawrence and the Clemson Tigers, 42-25, in the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship game. And the opening odds to win next season's championship have already been released, with Clemson getting the best shot to win it all at +200 odds, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Now that we've already seen a way-too-early NCAA football preseason top-25 poll for the 2020-21 season, according to NCAA.com, here's a look at three of the most underrated teams ranked in the first poll looking ahead to next fall.
3. USC Trojans (No. 19)
It's tough to make a case for a team that finished the 2019-20 season with a blowout loss in a non-New Year's 6 bowl game, but USC's 2020-21 season and future will likely revolve entirely around the health of breakout freshman star QB Kedon Slovis. When an elbow injury pulled Slovis from his team's eventual 49-24 loss to Iowa in the 2019 Holiday Bowl, the Trojans were trailing just 28-24. Slovis had tossed for 260 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions on 22-of-30 passing by the third quarter, but the Hawkeyes went on outscore USC, 21-0. Slovis finished his freshman season with 3,502 passing yards, 30 TDs and nine interceptions through completing only nine full games, and he's already opened with the sixth-best odds (+2000) to win the 2020 Heisman Trophy. USC's biggest loss is OT Austin Jackson, who declared for the NFL Draft on Jan. 17, but returning a healthy Slovis will be the biggest difference-maker in Pasadena next season.
2. Minnesota Gophers (No. 18)
Finishing the 2019-20 season at No. 10 in the last AP Top-25 Poll, the Golden Gophers were one of the hottest teams in the country before stumbling down the final regular-season stretch. Returning QB Tanner Morgan now has a full year of starting experience under his belt with the Gophers and could be on his way to another great year after tossing for 30 touchdowns and just six interceptions last season. Sitting in the less-competitive Big Ten West, Minnesota also avoids matchups with both Penn State and Ohio State in its 2020-21 regular-season schedule. If Minnesota can repeat its 9-0 start to the 2019-20 season and get the best of Wisconsin and Iowa this time around, the Gophers should be rolling into the 2020 Big Ten championship game with a legitimate path to the CFP ahead of them.
1. Auburn Tigers (No. 10)
Auburn finished the season at No. 14 after a surprising loss to Minnesota in the 2020 Outback Bowl, but that finish remains an impressive feat considering both the Tigers' ridiculously challenging schedule and youthful inexperience on offense. Bo Nix, Auburn's true freshman QB, could be primed to take a leap in his sophomore season after being tested by the SEC's best defensive metal all year long, while running backs JaTarvious "Boobee" Whitlow and D.J. Williams return as a junior and sophomore, respectively. The Tigers' wide receivers are also incredibly young, with their top two producers in 2019-20, Seth Williams and Anthony Schwartz, heading into their junior seasons. Auburn was simply a young, inexperienced team that already exceeded expectations playing in college football's toughest neighborhood (SEC West), and the Tigers seem to have all the indications of a team trending in the right direction ahead of 2020-21.
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David Hayes is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, David Hayes also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username DavidWHayes. 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.