With games starting on August 28th, the college football season starts in 55 days. With spring ball and the transfer portal madness nearing an end, I figured I had enough information at my fingertips to come out with an early top 25. Also, keep an eye out each week of the season, as I’ll come out with my updated weekly rankings.
Alabama, Clemson & Ohio State all will have a new starting quarterback next season. Oklahoma? They’ll be returning the former 1st ranked QB in the 19’ class, Spencer Rattler, as he is the betting favorite to win the Heisman award and be the first overall Quarterback selected in next year’s draft.
The Sooners are my favorite to win the national championship with an elite offense and a defense that is more than capable of backing it up.
Much like Oklahoma, this year is do or die for the Bulldogs with the team returning a good nucleus of players including returning Quarterback J.T. Daniels, a USC transfer who was right up there with Trevor Lawrence & Justin Fields in the 2018 recruiting class.
The returning Quarterbacks give Oklahoma & Georgia an edge over the Alabama, Clemson & Ohio States of the world.
It’s reloading, not rebuilding, in Tuscaloosa, as although there’s tons of talent leaving, there’s always TONS of elite talent on the roster, including Bryce Young, who was the number one quarterback in the 2020 class.
Expect Young, John Metchie III, Evan Neal, Christian Harris & Josh Jobe to lead the Crimson tide and compete for another SEC title & College Football Playoff bid.
Much like Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence in their respective class, Clemson Quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei was neck & neck with Alabama’s Bryce Young as to who was the best QB in the 2020 class. He’s a physically dominant QB prospect that will be sure to get the ball into the hands of Justyn Ross.
Expect Dabo Swinney to have his Clemson Tigers in the driver’s seat to win the ACC and make the College Football Playoff.
5. Ohio State
Ohio State will have to find out who will replace Justin Fields under center, but just like Alabama, they bring in elite recruiting class after elite recruiting class as they have the best WR room in the country for their next QB to throw to with Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson (number 2 WR in the 19’ class), Julian Fleming (number 1 WR in the 20’ class) Emeka Egbuka (number 1 WR in the 21’ class) & Marvin Harrison Jr.
6. Iowa State
Returning a lot of the key players that helped them beat Oklahoma last season in Brock Purdy, the best RB in the nation in Breece Hall, Will McDonald IV, who led college football in sacks last season & Charlie Kolar, Iowa State will look to beat OU again this season and earn a playoff bid.
USC is led by one of the top QB’s in the 2022 draft class in Kedon Slovis, one of the top pass rushers in Drake Jackson, and my sleeper for the first WR selected in the 2022 draft class in Drake London (Take a look at London. He could be the next Mike Evans).
USC has enough firepower to win the PAC-12 and compete for a playoff bid.
The Hoosiers are a football school? Led by Quarterback Michael Penix Jr (if he comes back well from his ACL injury) and one of the most underrated WR’s in the nation in Ty Fryfogle, Indiana will look to compete for a Big-10 title. Let’s not forget how close they were to beating Ohio State last year, and they have their starting QB returning, Ohio State does not.
9. Notre Dame
Although they are an O-Line factory, have a top-five player in college football in Safety Kyle Hamilton & have one of the best RB’s in the Nation in Kyren Williams, it seems as if Notre Dame is always a QB away. Wisconsin transfer QB Jack Coan will look to put them over the top, and if the fighting Irish goes undefeated, they will have a case to be a playoff team.
Cincinnati is the best group of five teams in the nation led by Quarterback Desmond Ridder. They could make the college football playoff this year if they have an unblemished record, as they have Notre Dame & Indiana on their non-conference schedule.
11. Texas A&M
Much like USC, the Aggies also could have multiple first-round picks with DeMarvin Leal, Kenyon Green & Jalen Wydermyer all projecting to be first-round level talent.
They will have to find someone to replace Kellen Mond, as the lack of a presence at the QB position could limit their ceiling, but the Aggies have enough talent to be amongst the best in the SEC.
Is PAC-12 football back? It appears so, as its two best programs are good again. Oregon looks to compete for the PAC-12 title with potentially the best player in the 2022 NFL draft class in pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux & Boston College transfer QB Anthony Brown. Brown could pull a Joe Burrow/Zach Wilson and be a top Quarterback selection in this year’s draft with an out of nowhere amazing season.
13. North Carolina
Sam Howell is considered to be a consensus top 3 Quarterback in the 2022 draft class. Some are even projecting him to be the first Quarterback selected. I have the Tar-Heels winning the Coastal division as Howell’s talent and experience could be enough to beat first-time starter D.J. Uiagalelei & the Clemson Tigers if they were to meet in the ACC championship game.
If D’Eriq King comes back 100% from injury, Miami has a chance to win the Coastal Division. Oklahoma transfer wideout Charleston Rambo will definitely help out as well.
The Tigers followed up their National Championship campaign with a five-loss season last year. But this squad has tons of talent on its roster (top 5 recruiting class from 2019-2021) led by Cornerback & future top ten pick in next year’s draft, Derek Stingley Jr, as this team has too much talent to be a five loss team again.
With the hiring of Steve Sarkisian, we will ask ourselves again, is Texas back? All three of their losses last year were by just one possession as there’s not much separating them and LSU considering they lost fewer games than the Tigers last season, & still recruit at a very high level.
Malik Willis is one of the top QB prospects in the 2022 NFL draft in my opinion. Led by him, I definitely see a route to where the Flames go undefeated if they can survive Ole Miss & Louisiana. This squad’s only loss last season was a one-point loss to NC State (Beat 12th ranked Coastal Carolina in the Cure Bowl last year) & returns TWENTY starters for coach Hugh Freeze.
18. Arizona State
Led by electric quarterback Jayden Daniels, I legitimately can see the Sun Devils upsetting one of, if not both of USC & Oregon. I believe they can compete for a PAC-12 title.
Daniels will have to play at a Heisman finalist level, but that’s certainly in the realm of possibilities. With limited exposure, last season due to COVID complications at Arizona State, Daniels (2nd ranked dual-threat QB in the 2019 class) may explode onto the scene out of nowhere to some, but the kid is very talented. Like fellow PAC-12 QB Anthony Brown, he could have a one-hit-wonder season and be a top-three selection at his position in the draft.
Just like Arizona State, Wisconsin is another team I have ranked third in their respective conference that could surprise us. That will depend on how far their Quarterback takes them, as Graham Mertz (Former fifth-ranked QB in the 2019 class) will need to take a step forward for that to happen. A lot of returning talent, including a stout as always offensive line will help out the cause.
Even Though Kyle Trask, Kyle Pitts, Kadarius Toney & others are gone, this Florida team still has a lot of talent, headlined by Kaiir Elam, who is projected to be a first-round pick in next years draft.
Their success will be dependent on who they elect to start at the Quarterback position. Keep an eye on Emory Jones to break out this season.
21. Coastal Carolina
As the second-best team in the group of five, the Chanticleers only lost one game last season and that was just by three points to Liberty. Led by Grayson McCall, this squad looks to win the Sunbelt once again and potentially earn a New Years six bowl spot for a group of five schools.
TCU head coach Garry Patterson is the most underrated coach in the nation, as his Horned Frogs squad won five of their final six games of the season last year and will look to build upon that in 2021.
Max Duggan is one of the most underrated QB’s in the country when healthy and with the transfer of Running back Darwin Barlow, running back Zach Evans (2nd overall RB recruit in the 2020 class) will run all over Big-12 defenses. Also, keep an eye on offensive tackle Obinna Eze. He could potentially be Patterson’s first-round pick in next year’s draft, considering he usually develops one first-round pick a year.
Utah retooled their roster via transfer portal this offseason. Some of their key additions were former Baylor QB Charlie Brewer and former Sooners RB TJ Pledger & WR Theo Howard. If Brewer stays healthy, Utah will be a sleeper squad in the PAC-12. Let’s not forget that he led the Baylor Bears to the Big-12 title game in 2019.
24. Ole Miss
The Ole Miss Rebels had an exciting first season under Lane Kiffin, led by Quarterback Matt Corral. He’s a Heisman candidate that can lead his team to a couple of upsets in SEC Play if their defense improves.
Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns had only one loss last season and it was just a three-point loss to Coastal Carolina. They will look to improve on the breakout season that saw them beating Iowa State & Winning a Bowl game by winning the Sun Belt Conference this year.
Led by dynamic dual-threat Quarterback Levi Lewis, this squad has a chance to do just that.
What do you guys think? What teams did I miss? Be sure to follow along weekly once the season starts for my weekly Cream of the Crop rankings!