With spring camp nationally complete, college football takes a big step closer to returning for the 2021 season and 247Sports has fans covered. The Late Kick with Josh Pate was ahead of the game in May, providing an early look at several teams that could be a surprise later on this year.

“Everyone wants to be smart every day of the week, but especially around the water cooler, this time of year, you want to be the guy that in April or May was telling you, ‘That team was coming,'” Pate said on Episode 136. “So when they have arrived in November, you can look back, cross your arms, sit in the corner and say, ‘I told you so,’ four of the most beautiful words, when combined correctly in the english language.

“So you pick yours. I’ll pick mine. The definition here is, ‘Define the expectation level that the public has — who is going to overachieve, relative to the college football public’s perception this year?'”

From a few recent College Football Playoff contenders that saw mixed results in 2020 to one overlooked program on the rise, this handful could end up turning heads more than midway through this fall.

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Here is a closer look at Pate’s teams to know in 2021, including his reasoning behind each of the selections.

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