Way-Too-Early 2021 College Football Top 25by Daniel Corrigan January 12, 2021 0 comments
Congratulations to the Alabama Crimson Tide on winning the National Championship (again). Unfortunately, this marks the end of the college football season.
2020 was a crazy season filled with so much uncertainty, but we have officially made it to the end. With that being said, it’s time to look ahead to next year, and what better way to start than some way-too-early rankings?
Bad news, Clemson. You are losing the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck in Trevor Lawrence. The good news is that D.J. Uiagalelei has already proven to be the next man up. In two starts, Uiagalelei threw for over 700 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. There is still some uncertainty around their skill room as we await the decision from Justyn Ross, but they will once again be able to reload like they do every year.
JT Daniels really improved this offense when he stepped in to replace Stetson Bennett. He will also be surrounded by one of the better skills position rooms with George Pickens, Darnell Washington, Arian Smith, Jermaine Burton, and Kearis Jackson. They will be losing the majority of their defensive backfield to the draft, but with some great young talent and a top recruiting class, Georgia is ready to take advantage of a somewhat weak SEC East and get back to the National Championship.
They are losing a ton of talent. We saw what happened to LSU this season, right? Now, Alabama is not going to be anywhere as bad as LSU was this year, but there are some big shoes to fill for the defending champions. The assumption is that former No. 1 recruit Bryce Young will be leading the offense this upcoming season. They will also need to find a new top back to replace Najee Harris. While Brian Robinson Jr. looked impressive in the Championship game, it would be silly to crown him the next running back already. Along with some young skill players, they will have to rely on a young offensive line as Alex Leatherwood, Landon Dickerson, and Deonte Brown will all be heading to the upcoming NFL Draft.
Just the sight of Oklahoma being this highly ranked would make college football fans puke, but this team can be really special this coming year. After a 1-2 start this year, Spencer Rattler was able to shine down the stretch to lead Oklahoma to another Big-12 Championship and a No. 6 ranking in the final CFP rankings. Many people believe that Rattler will be the betting favorite to win the Heisman and for good reason. This kid showed something really special down the stretch last year. With a top defense in the Big-12, the Sooners are the heavy favorite to repeat as Big-12 Champions and return to the College Football Playoff.
5. Ohio State
A very disappointing end to a wild season for the Buckeyes will only get worse when the reality sinks in that Justin Fields, Trey Sermon, Chris Olave, Wyatt Davis, and Shaun Wade are all gone. However, they will be returning Garrett Wilson and an extremely talented group of young receivers in Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Julian Fleming, Jameson Williams, and Gee Scott Jr., but the biggest area of concern is the quarterback room. Anytime a player like Fields leaves for the NFL, you have to be worried about the next man up. Jack Miller III and C.J. Stroud shared backup duties this season with both players showing some flashes during garbage time games. Throw in 2021 recruit Kyle McCord into the mix and you have yourselves an incredible battle for the next quarterback of the Buckeyes.
6. North Carolina
It really was a coin flip between North Carolina and Texas A&M for this spot. At the end of the day, Sam Howell returning for the Tar Heels was the biggest reason North Carolina gets the nod. Losing Javonte Williams to the draft is a big blow, but they have a very talented group of receivers returning to catch passes from Howell. Their defense was a major cause of concern and ultimately cost them a shot at the ACC title, but they were young. Over half of their starters on defense were either freshman or sophomores. With a very talented group coming into the program this year, North Carolina may be able to wiggle themselves into the CFP discussion.
7. Texas A&M
As mentioned above, Howell was a big reason that North Carolina is ahead of the Aggies. It also doesn’t help that Kellen Mond is no longer the quarterback. They will have a battle between Haynes King and Zach Calzada in the spring to replace Mond. Texas A&M will be losing a good chunk of their starters, but Isaiah Spiller, Devon Achane, Jalen Wydermyer, and Ainias Smith will all be returning next season. Texas A&M just missed the playoff last year and they will be hoping that a top recruiting class will be enough to finally push them over the edge.
It was really tough to be a team from the Pac-12 this season. It almost seems like the entire world didn’t even remember that they existed. With one of the worst running games in the country (short sample size) this season, why would they be ranked this high? Well, Kedon Slovis is a baller. Combine that with the best defense in the Pac-12 and you have a very dangerous team to keep an eye on.
Cincinnati came oh-so-close to taking down Georgia in the Peach Bowl and really giving it to the CFP committee. Even with the majority of their defensive backfield leaving, they will be a dangerous and probably disrespected team. With Desmond Ridder announcing his return, the Bearcats have one of the more under-the-radar Heisman candidates in the country. It also helps that the majority of that offensive line will also be back.
10. Iowa State
Iowa State will be returning pretty much its entire team this season. With Brock Purdy and Breece Hall, they have one of the best and most experienced one-two punches in the game. They also have one of the rising star coaches in the game in Matt Campbell. Iowa State will be out to prove that they were not just a one-year wonder and that they belong in the CFP discussion.
13. Notre Dame
17. Coastal Carolina
22. Arizona State
24. Ole Miss
25. West Virginia
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