Gophers could arise as Big Ten dark horses in Fleck’s third year

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College football is a chalky sport.
Parity tends to be found in the middle class. The favorites usually win the championships. For some teams, though, simply being in contention late in the season or reaching the conference title game is a huge accomplishment. Just ask fans of Northwestern or Pitt, both of which were surprising division winners last season. Or Washington State fans, whose team went into the regular-season finale with a chance to play for the Pac-12 title. Or fans of Syracuse, understandably fired up about finishing second to Clemson in the ACC Atlantic.

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The traditional powers will probably wind up claiming the playoff spots and big trophies this year, too. But a few dark horses will emerge to make those conferences races more interesting.
Maybe these six teams:
The Pac-12 South is currently a bit of a mess. Only Utah is a solid bet to be good. There is opportunity for another team to make a big move. USC is the best bet purely on talent, but the Trojans should never be considered a dark horse

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