Every year there is a team like Boise State in 2007 and UCF in 2013. Teams that had an unpredictable rise to stardom. Sometimes those teams are hot takes early in the season with some analysts predicting them to be a sleeper team. A sleeper team is typically underrated with a tough schedule that could make or break the team. This college football season has plenty of sleeper teams. The three teams I believe are sleeper teams are Virginia, Syracuse, and Army.
Army Black Knights: Army is my number one sleeper team for this season. Last year the Black Knights went 11-2, only losing to Oklahoma, a college football playoff semifinalist, and Duke. They capped off their season by whipping Houston 70-14. They were the 19th ranked team in the country at the end of last season, but enter this season unranked. Army has one of, if not the weakest schedules in CFB this year with only one challenging game. The Black Knights do play #6 Michigan, but other than that they don’t play a single ranked team. The Black Knights had the second-best rushing offense in the country in 2018 being led by RB Darnell Woolfolk and QB Kelvin Hopkins Jr. Hopkins rushed for 1,017 yards and 17 touchdowns while throwing for 1,026 yards and 6 touchdowns. Darnell Woolfolk ran for 956 yards and 14 touchdowns. Hopkins and Woolfolk both return to lead the explosive Black Knights’ run attack again this year.
#22 Syracuse Orange: Syracuse had an amazing season last year with QB Eric Dungey who now plays for the NY Giants. This season their success depends on how new QB Tommy DeVito performs this season. The Orange went 10-3 last season with losses to Clemson, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame. The Orange did beat #22 NC State and #15 West Virginia. The two biggest games this season for The Orange will be against FSU and Clemson. Syracuse does lose RB Moe Neal and WR Jamal Custis. On the bright side, Syracuse returns WRs Sean Riley and Nykeim Johnson. Riley had 756 receiving yards and 3 TDs. Johnson had 565 yards and 4 TDs. The biggest loss for The Orange has to be losing Dungey who was a dual-threat QB who ran for 15 TDs and threw 18 TDs. DeVito will be a big change from Dungey since DeVito is a pocket passer much like Tom Brady or Matt Ryan, rather than a dual-threat like Dungey was. The Orange didn’t have a spectacular defense last year, but their offense was able to overshadow it; however, this year the defense may need to step up if DeVito and his offense can’t get it done.
Virginia Cavaliers: The Cavaliers are probably the most notable sleeper team this year. They have been getting major traction between analysts primarily because of their QB Bryce Perkins. The Cavs play in the abysmal ACC Coastal division, which is the most inconsistent in CFB. Since 2010, six different ACC coastal teams have made the championship game, but only one Coastal team has ever one the conference. Last year UVA went 8-5 with an average offense and a weak defense. Their best win last year was over Miami, with losses to GA Tech, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Pitt, and NC State. UVA could easily make the ACC championship game but they will most likely meet a powerful Clemson team, or possibly FSU or Syracuse in the title game. Their most important games will be against FSU and Notre Dame, along with most of their conference opponents. Perkins threw for 2,680 yards and 25 touchdowns along with 923 rushing yards and 9 rushing TDs. The Cavaliers are a make or break team, but they will make a bowl game this year and could finish the season ranked.