We got plenty of upstart teams making an impact in college football. Whether it's the proverbial upset from an upbeat team or a sleeper in a conference, there are plenty of reasons these teams will make January interesting. Here are the top five teams that could make noise in the playoff chase.
Ole Miss: While there are tough teams in the SEC, such as Alabama, Texas A&M, and Georgia, there's one team under the radar you should watch. That team is Ole Miss, and there are plenty of reasons to keep an eye on them. It starts with the offense that's led by star quarterback Matt Corral. There are also versatile players such as John Rhys Plumlee and their offensive line. The Rebels can wreak havoc on anyone offensively, which is why they could play in January.
UCLA: Was their upset over LSU a fluke? It didn't seem that way because they dominated Hawaii before their big matchup. Running backs Brittain Brown and former Michigan Wolverine Zach Charbonnet tortured the Tigers last Saturday, finding open holes and breaking down the field. Chip Kelly's known for an up-tempo offense, and the Bruins have a respectable schedule to pile up marquee victories in the Pac-12.
Penn State: Jahan Dotson has the makings to be a star receiver, along with sophomore Parker Washington. The Nittany Lions also have pass rushers with upside, starting with Adisa Isaac and former Temple Owl Arnold Ebikitie. James Franklin knows how to get the most out of his group, which makes Penn State fairly dangerous to face.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats have formidable opponents on their schedule, with road games against Indiana and Notre Dame. Desmond Ridder also looks like a hot NFL prospect, running Cincinnati's offense. They even had the top defense in the AAC last season, allowing just 325 yards per game and 17 points per game. With stars like Malik Vann, Marcus Brown, and Myjai Sanders, the Bearcats can wreak havoc on opposing offenses.
Iowa State: Normally, the Cyclones aren't considered a serious contender in anything related to college football. However, that's not the case this season. The Big 12 is weak and is set to lose Oklahoma and Texas soon. Brock Purdy's an exceptional quarterback, and he has concrete protection in front of him. Derek Schweiger and Colin Newell are All-Big 12 talents that block and enhance the running game. Iowa State being in the playoff may not be as far-fetched as you'd think.