Five National Champion Longshots in the 2017-18 NCAA Football Season

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Is anyone else sick of Alabama and the rest of NCAA football’s powerhouse lineups’ pure domination in recent years? Well if you are then taking a look at these five possible longshots to win it all may be worth your time.

There are always some forgotten teams that may finally come through to try spoiling the party for the big guys. Many will think that these bets are a waste of money when it comes to the chances of any of these teams winning a National Championship. It could also be a huge payout to whoever chooses to take a chance and put some money on these teams.

If a surprise team does enter the playoffs, it usually pays out quite a bit. For instance, the teams we have chosen are all +10000 or over on the money line at So if somehow one of them make it out of their schedule undefeated it will be a huge win on your side.

As usual, the five power conferences (SEC, Big 10, Big 12, ACC and PAC-12) will all be looking at multiple teams that could make a run into the National Championship. In college football, a team could come out of nowhere to qualify for the final four and take home the title this season.

There is always a chance that a team will go against the odds placed on them and with these teams, the odds are certainly stacked against each one. That is why they play the season. Here are some of the longshots that could take advantage of being the underdogs and win the National Championship in 2017.

Boise State +15000

Boise State has been one of the nation’s top programs for quite some time, but with a weak conference and limited non-conference opponents, they fall off. The Broncos have been a high caliber team for years now, always built on a high-powered offense. They have not had as much success as usual, but they are always a clear longshot to make a run.

Last season they started off strong with five straight wins, beating formidable opponents and seemed to have a solid foundation. They were able to beat teams from the Pac-12 and gained conference victories against Utah State and New Mexico.

Stud QB Brett Rypien

They will look to quarterback Brett Rypien as a leader and strong piece to their team. There will be a ton of eyes on one of the top returning QB’s in the country. If he can continue to grow his skills on the field and as a leader then the Broncos will be a dangerous offensive team.

He finished the year with 3,646 passing yards, 24 touchdowns and with a completion percentage of 61.9 percent. He led the Mountain West in passing yardage and was second in touchdown passes. Rypien is ready to have a strong year being named to preseason watch lists for the Davey O’Brien Award, Maxwell Award and was also named to All-Mountain West First Team for the second-straight season.

Protecting their QB is another strength as they return starters Mason Hampton at center and left tackle Archie Lewis which are two of the most important positions on the offensive line. Both players are currently injured but should be back in time for the start of the regular season.

Other Players to Watch


At running back, they return Alexander Mattison as the favorite to start. He was impressive as a true freshman last season rushing for 328 yards and four touchdowns on 67 carries. Freshman Drake Beasely, a talented back that was recruited by quite a few larger programs, will push Mattison at some point for the starting spot. His name is not very well known due to not playing his senior year, but he will be a name to remember in Boise State.


On the defensive end, they will have the likes of Leighton Vander Esch that could make this team a contender. He is a freak athlete that has a high motor; he can dominate an opposing team’s offense and turn a game around for his team.

Their biggest issue last year was Special Teams as it led to some of their losses with some atrocious play. The Broncos will be replacing both their kicker and punter from last season, which will let them quickly forget about the issues from a season ago.

This team will always have the opportunity to make it into the playoffs if they can complete an undefeated season with some of the major teams losing against one another.

 Brigham Young University (+30000)

Last season was Kalani Sitake’s first year at BYU and he could not have pictured a better season with the success he had in 2016. The new head guy walked into the program a year ago, cleaned house and would bring in a new staff with a different mentality and structure.

Now in his second year Coach Sitake has been able to lay a foundation and prepare his players for what is expected. He should be able to see improvements on both sides of the ball with his upperclassmen and a new sense of preparation.

Hear us out before you skip over this longshot. They have been able to steadily progress as a team over the past few years. Last year they found a rhythm and finished at very commendable 9-4 record. They are not even mentioned in the same breath as solid football programs and have not been a good team dating back to 2001 when they were undefeated and legit.

Success last year

They faced a tough schedule last year playing a list of decent teams such as WVU and Boise State, along with many of the major conference teams. Therefore, for them to come out of that gauntlet of a schedule last year with a record five games over .500 is something to look at this year.

They kept themselves in every game last year and were never blown out with their 4 losses being by a total of only eight points.

Offensive Production

They do need to replace three huge pieces to last season’s success. They are looking to replace QB Tayson Hill. It is likely that Tanner Mangum will be the starter in 2017. He was a starter in 2015 and replaced Hill when he was injured for their bowl game last year. Mangum will be a player to watch since he will actually fit into Detmer’s pro-style scheme that was not used too well last year with the ability of Hill’s running. He will be a perfect fit in Ty Detmer’s offense and should be able to have success in 2017.

The biggest question mark on their roster is at the running back position. The Cougars look to replace all-time leading rusher and NFL prospect Jamaal Williams in their backfield. Willams’ backup Squally Canada will more than likely take most of the workload as a starter.

Mangum will be starting off with a young receiving corps that lost three of their best options. Senior Jonah Trinnaman, a fast and shifty receiver will end up being the top receiver this spring. After Trinnaman there are questions as to who will step up. A few names to look for will be Micah Simon and Beau Tanner. Simon is a redshirt sophomore with a ton of talent to offer.

Solid Defense and Strong Defensive Backs

Coach Sitake has a ton of depth coming in on the defensive end with four defensive tackles and pass-rushing specialist Sione Takitaki will be back playing for the Cougars as well. If they can continue to build a talented secondary, their defense should be able to recover from the players they lost from last season. They will return two highly talented sophomores in Dayan Lake and Troy Warner.

In addition to their already strong defense, they will be adding four-star true freshman Chaz Ah You. He was able to participate in the springtime and looked to be the real deal and should be a starter going into the season.

If BYU can get through another tough schedule this season playing the likes of LSU and Wisconsin. They could definitely take a spot in the four-team playoff. If somehow they can pull off upsets against some of the bigger programs early on then they will need to beat a Utah team who has beaten them for six straight seasons.

This team may not be a sleeper for much longer; they continue to improve on both sides of the ball. If they can keep their coaching staff together and continue to a solid job recruiting it will not be long for them to have success.

Nebraska (+10000)

It has been a long time since this once dominant team has shown signs of being great again. It was just over 20 years ago when the Huskers would win five straight conference titles (1991-1995). They have not won a national championship in 18 years now. So what makes them a longshot this year?

Young and Talented Offense

The quarterback position will be a battle between Patrick O’Brien and Tanner Lee for the starting quarterback job. O’Brien, a redshirt freshman, and Lee, a Tulane transfer. Neither option has a clear advantage at this time other than Lee may be a little more mobile. Their biggest competition is going to come from a four-star recruit named Tristan Gebbia that could be going into the season as the starter.

Nebraska’s leading rusher and receiver from last season are gone, but they have guys waiting for their name to be called. In the backfield, Running back Devine Ozigbo averaged 4.2 yards per carry with five TDs last season, and Stanley Morgan Jr. and Demornay Pierson-El are going to be receivers to watch. Nebraska needs to have a lot from their playmakers, especially with a new quarterback under center.

The Husker Defense, Is it Back?

The Nebraska defense was once a force to be reckoned with. It has been improving and should continue to do well this season. They have a playmaker in four-star cornerback Elijah Blades. Their newly acquired defensive coordinator will bring a 3-4 defensive scheme, which could take their defense to an elite level. A player to look out for is Freedom Akinmoladun he could be a player that disrupts an offensive line on a nightly basis.

The Huskers schedule is not too hard other than their four big games. They will have to face Oregon and Penn State away and Wisconsin and the Ohio State Buckeyes at home. Other than those games, they have a schedule built for them to win and have a successful season, if they can pull off four upsets.

Michigan State (+10000)

The Spartan’s 2016 season was one they would like to forget as soon as possible as they finished with the program’s worst record in 25 years. Coach Mark Dantonio is looking to make quick changes with his program so he can protect his job and have success after a long season last year. It was a season where they would play a bunch of freshmen and first time starters, many of whom were only playing their first or second season. As much that inexperience killed them last season it should help them when they open this season.

Options at Quarterback

The Spartans have a few options for the leader of their offense. They have two solid backups from last year and a freshman in Messiah DeWeaver that could be a star. More than likely they will choose to start Brian Lewerke or Damian Terry at QB and groom DeWeaver. This will be the most-watched position battle of spring practice and into next August’s preseason camp.

All signs point to Lewerke being the guy at quarterback for the Spartans. The Spartans were able to see how he could do in some action last season until he was injured. He did extremely well against a tough Michigan defense. If he can get back to the form he was in prior to the injury, he will definitely be a huge piece to the Spartan offense.

They will also look to Donnie Corley to continue his success at switching over to Wide receiver. His athleticism should allow the Spartans to do some of the same things with him that they did with Shelton. Pay close attention to how and where Corley is used during the spring session.

MSU has a Two-Headed Monster in the Backfield

A running game is something this team is not worried about with the return of LJ Scott. Scott almost eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark as a freshman and probably would have if he did not have to split time in the backfield. He needs to improve in different aspects of his game such as a receiving and blocking, both of which he saw progress in last season.

They also have Gerald Holmes who is a back that is good in all aspects of the game. He is a better blocker than Scott is and runs hard. Holmes and Scott in the backfield may be one of the most dangerous duos in the nation this season.


On the defensive end keep an eye on Sophomores Mike Panisiuk and Raequan Williams as they will both be key to the Spartans having a dangerous defensive unit. A void they must fill on D is losing starting defensive backs that need to be replaced. They have quite a few younger players that will able to do so, but they need to step up.

This Michigan State team is more than likely playing for their coach’s future beyond this season. If they have a repeat of last year, the Spartans will look to replace their longtime coach. That is why they could possibly be a team to surprise everyone.

 Texas A&M +10000

The Aggies were nearly unstoppable on offense last season. They were the second best offense in the nation, averaging 467 yards a game. They had a strong passing game that was backed up by a consistent running game with 1,000-yard rusher Traevon Williams.

If you were looking at the Aggies from last year, you might be thinking this team has no chance. Their offense lost a major core group of players on both ends of the ball. On defense, they lose the #1 overall pick, Myles Garret, who is an absolute beast. On offense, they lost not only their starting quarterback but also important pieces to their line and receiving core.

Returning Talent

Trayveon Williams is only a sophomore returning as the only true freshman in A&M history to run for 1,000 yards. He is going to come back a much stronger runner and could push this Aggie team to a very high level. His backup is another strong runner in Keith Ford. These two together will wear down a defense very easily.

Aggie fans may be thinking the quarterback position will be a worry but they have Jake Hubenak who has been around long enough to understand Sumlin’s offense and take the snaps. If he has any struggles they do not have to look any further than Kellen Mond who is coming in to Texas as a freshman with potential. Mond is the future of this team and could blossom to a top 10 pick in the NFL.

They did lose quite a few keys to their receiving core but between commits and returning players, this will be a position that has a ton of upside and dangerous players. If the QB position can become consistent, there is no reason that receivers such as Damion Ratley and Jhamon Ausbon cannot be weapons for whoever the QB is at that time.

If their running game can be as good as expected then it will help the QB out a ton and allow time for play action and increase the threat of their two backs taking one to the house.

Strong Recruiting Class

The 2017 recruiting class coming to Coach Sumlin is going to be special. The Aggies may have lost more than any other team in the nation but Kevin Sumlin was able to snag some very good talent as well. He signed a bunch of solid incoming freshman, including quite a few four-star recruits.

On the defensive end, the Aggies will add Santino Marchiol who is a four star recruit linebacker that definitely has the biggest shoes to fill. He will attempt to fill in a hole on the defense left by Myles Garrett. There is no way this kid will do that, but he can certainly become a force on D.

On offense, Kellen Mond has the potential to take over at the starting position and be a threat. He is a mobile quarterback that can stay accurate on the run, if this young line cannot protect. Mond with the dual threat in the backfield continues to show signs of another successful offense for the Aggies.

Sumlin Needs Success

Let’s face it, Coach Sumlin needs to have a successful season for job security. He will have to keep his team competing at a high level. We will see a very motivated coach that will want to lead his young team to shock the nation.

They will start off their season with a fairly light schedule giving the Aggies a nice early advantage. They will play a handful of their first 10 games in Texas as they go into their game against Alabama. It will be an interesting season for Kevin Sumlin and his young team.

These teams could surprise the entire nation if they can win their key matchups. Each of these five teams have the talent and motivation to win as well. In some cases, the future of their coach with the program will rely on a successful season, which is extra motivation to win.

As we continue to take a look at the 2017 College football season there may be some more longshots that we come across before the season, so continue to check back as we get closer.

Are there any teams you think could be a surprising longshot to win the National Championship this season?

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