College Football
Five college football teams most likely to bounce back in 2024
College Football

Five college football teams most likely to bounce back in 2024

Updated May. 28, 2024 3:42 p.m. ET

As spring comes to a close and summer approaches, college football players and coaches across the country have one last break before things rev up for the 2024 season.

For many, the upcoming year presents an opportunity to rectify mistakes made in the previous season. As the 2024 season ushers in a new era of college football, many teams will certainly feel more optimistic about their chances of finding success in the fall. 

On a recent episode of "The Joel Klatt Show," Joel Klatt shared five teams most likely to have bounce-back years in 2024 after underwhelming 2023 seasons. The list includes a couple of powerhouse programs and a few teams in new conferences for the upcoming year.

Let's take a look at Klatt's five teams mostly likely to bounce back in 2024. 



2023 record: 8-6
Ranking in Klatt's post-spring top 25: 6th

Klatt's thoughts: "They were 8-5 last year. It's pretty good for most teams, but it hasn't been up to Utah's standards. So, if you look at them in their recent past, that's their worst since 2017. They're going to get Cam Rising back. They're going to get Brant Kuithe back. Kyle Whittingham is one of the best coaches in America. I think this program is one of the better programs in America. I would be surprised if they are not playing for the Big 12 championship. Whittingham just knows how to win. Morgan Scalley is an excellent defensive coordinator. The defense is going to be ready. They're my favorites to win the Big 12. Their ability to win that conference is quite high. If they do that, they're probably going to have a first-round bye in the College Football Playoff."

Things to know about Utah entering 2024:

  • Utah is in its first season in the Big 12.
  • Rising returns for his seventh season of eligibility, receiving a medical redshirt for the 2023 season due to a knee injury. He threw for 2,939 yards, 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2022. The Utes have gone 18-7 in games Rising has started.
  • Utah ranked 17th in yards allowed in 2023, allowing 308.6 yards per game. That number would've been the best mark among all teams in the Big 12 last season.
  • Notable games: vs. Baylor (Sept. 7), at Oklahoma State (Sept. 21), vs. Arizona (Sept. 28), at Colorado (Nov. 16)
  • Win total: 9.5 (via FanDuel Sportsbook)

Miami (Fla.)

2023 record: 7-6
Ranking in Klatt's post-spring top 25: 18th

Klatt's thoughts: "I think Miami is interesting. As you guys know, Miami fans think I hate Miami. No, I don't hate Miami. I think Miami has generally underperformed over the last few years. I think that's fair. Miami was 7-6 a year ago and here comes Cam Ward. They've recruited at a very high level. So, that makes me want to go to the schedule. What does the schedule look like? Manageable. They could be 7-0 when they face FSU. In fact, it is likely that they're 7-0. They got Damien Martinez, a running back from Oregon State. He's a really good player. And [Mario] Cristobal needs a bounce-back. He's gone 12-13 in his first two years [at Miami]. He was more successful than that at Oregon. I think they can bounce back next year."

Things to know about Maimi entering 2024:

  • Miami landed arguably the top player in the transfer portal this offseason, bringing in Ward. He threw for 3,735 yards, 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions with eight rushing touchdowns at Washington State last season. Ward is also among the early favorites to win the Heisman.
  • The Hurricanes' transfer portal class ranked 10th, via 247 Sports. They landed Martinez, who rushed for 1,185 yards on 6.1 yards per carry and nine touchdowns in 2023, and Houston wide receiver Samuel Brown, who had 62 receptions for 815 yards and three touchdowns in 2023.
  • Notable games: at Florida (Aug. 31), at Louisville (Oct. 19), vs. Florida State (Oct. 26)
  • Win total: 9.5 (via FanDuel Sportsbook)


2023 record: 8-5
Ranking in Klatt's post-spring top 25: 15th

Klatt's thoughts: "USC is a fascinating one. As I've always said, all Lincoln Riley needs is just an average defense and that's going to be a really good team. They were not an average defense a year ago. They were 8-5. Now, D'Anton Lynn comes in as the defensive coordinator and this is a guy that's in the vein of that Ravens-esque style of defense, the Harbaugh-esque style of defense, that has been successful for Michigan over the last couple of seasons. If the Trojans fix that defense, they should be really good because it doesn't really matter who Lincoln Riley's quarterback is. He's had success with every guy that he's ever had at that position. I think that will continue, even if it's Miller Moss. He had a great Holiday Bowl. I really like the young skill position players, specifically Zachariah Branch. I think he's one of the best in America."

Things to know about USC entering 2024:

  • USC is in its first season in the Big Ten.
  • Caleb Williams is out at quarterback in Los Angeles, entering the NFL after two dominant seasons at USC. It's unknown who USC will start at quarterback, but Moss is expected to get the job after the Trojans opted not to make a major quarterback addition in the transfer portal. Moss threw for 372 yards and six touchdowns in the Holiday Bowl last season, his only start in 2023.
  • USC's transfer portal class ranked 19th in the nation, via 247 Sports. UCLA offensive tackle Kamari Ramsey and Oregon State linebacker Easton Mascarenas-Arnold are among its most noteworthy transfer additions.
  • Notable games: vs. LSU (Sept. 1 at Las Vegas), at Michigan (Sept. 21), vs. Wisconsin (Sept. 28), vs. Penn State (Oct. 12), at Washington (Nov. 2), vs. Nebraska (Nov. 16), vs. Notre Dame (Nov. 30).
  • Win total: 7.5 (via FanDuel Sportsbook)

Oklahoma, USC & FSU in Joel Klatt’s post spring top 25


2023 record: 5-7
Ranking in Klatt's post-spring top 25: 22nd

Klatt's thoughts: "Nebraska is a team that I think can be really good. The Cornhuskers were 5-7 a year ago, and you look at those seven losses, and I'm telling you, it was all quarterback turnovers. Almost all of it. They were very competitive. In fact, way more competitive in Matt Rhule's first season than their 5-7 record indicates. They get a little bit better quarterback play and, namely protecting the football, and they're going to be much better. Rhule is a builder. He did it at Temple. He did it at Baylor. I believe it's going to work at Nebraska as well. Their defense was really good last year, and they bring a lot of players back. Dylan Raiola at quarterback. My biggest question: Who is going to be catching the ball? I don't think that they're necessarily strong at the skill positions. If they were to beat the fifth team on my list, they could be undefeated at 7-0 heading to Columbus in October against Ohio State."

Things to know about Nebraska entering 2024: 

  • Rhule hasn't named a starting quarterback yet, but Raiola is expected to get the job. Raiola was the No. 2-ranked quarterback in the 2024 recruiting class.
  • Rhule's teams have seen a notable jump in wins from Year 1 to Year 2 in his previous two college stops. Temple won four more games in Rhule's second season than it did in his first. Baylor won six more games in his second season in Waco.
  • Nebraska's defense ranked 13th in yards allowed (303.5) and 16th in points allowed (18.3) per game.
  • Notable games: vs. Colorado (Sept. 7), at Ohio State (Oct. 26), at USC (Nov. 16), vs. Wisconsin (Nov. 23), at Iowa (Nov. 29)
  • Win total: 7.5 (via FanDuel Sportsbook)

Iowa, Kansas & Miami in Joel Klatt’s post spring top 25


2023 record: 4-8
Ranking in Klatt's post-spring top 25: Unranked

Klatt's thoughts: "While I don't think Colorado underperformed, based on the way the season started, I believe that the Buffaloes fell below expectations once the expectations ratcheted up to a million in the first couple weeks of that season with Deion Sanders. They bulked up on both sides of the line of scrimmage. My contingent would be Shedeur Sanders is good enough at the quarterback position, their skill position players are good enough on the outside that if you protect Shedeur even just a bit better, they're going to win six, seven, eight, maybe nine games and potentially compete for that spot in the Big 12 title game. Their schedule is going to be vastly, vastly easier than it was a year ago when the Pac-12 was loaded with all those great quarterbacks. I know they've lost some transfers, I get that. But I think CU can be a lot better this year. Travis Hunter might be the best overall player in college football. His impact, we might see it a different way than we saw it even a year ago."

Things to know about Colorado entering 2024:

  • Colorado is in its first season back in the Big 12 after leaving in 2011.
  • Shedeur Sanders returns at quarterback and is among the early favorites to win the Heisman. He threw for 3,230 yards, 27 touchdowns and three interceptions with four rushing touchdowns in his first season at the FBS level in 2023.
  • Colorado had one of the top transfer portal classes, ranking eighth on 247 Sports. Its notable additions include Pittsburgh defensive tackle Samuel Okunlola, LSU defensive lineman Quency Wiggins and Vanderbilt wide receiver Will Sheppard.
  • Notable games: at Nebraska (Sept. 7), vs. Kansas State (Oct. 12), at Arizona (Oct. 19), vs. Utah (Nov. 16), at Kansas (Nov. 23), vs. Oklahoma State (Nov. 29)
  • Win total: 5.5 wins (via FanDuel Sportsbook)

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