It’s the first weekend of March Madness, which means everyone is talking about upsets, buzzer beaters and, of course, Cinderella. Ben Kercheval of CBS Sports decided to pick out five potential Cinderella teams in college football this fall, which he defined as potentially surprising teams, including darkhorse playoff contenders.
His five were:
- Kansas State
- Mississippi State
- South Florida
It’s not the first time the Bulldogs have been mentioned as a team that could potentially shake up the SEC West. ESPN and SEC Network analyst Cole Cubelic got people talking when he predicted MSU will upset Alabama earlier this offseason. Similar to Cubelic, Kercheval believes QB Nick Fitzgerald is the key to the Bulldogs’ season:
The Bulldogs were a fun Cinderella team in 2014 when quarterback Dak Prescott led them to a brief No. 1 ranking and eventually a New Year’s Six game. With all the talk in the SEC of Alabama this and even Auburn that, Mississippi State is one of the many teams being given the back-burner treatment.
However, Mississippi State has something many other unheralded SEC teams do not: a quarterback. And his name is Nick Fitzgerald. There was a lot of inconsistency in his game as a first-year starter in 2016 but also a lot of promise. My gut feeling is MSU is still a year away from a more realistic run out of the West. However, with home games against LSU and Alabama, Dan Mullen’s team might get a big win to show the signs are there.
Kercheval’s thoughts on the four other teams can be found here.