Way-too-early College Football Top 25 Rankings: Where do BYU, Iowa, and others fall?

After ransacking the NCAA transfer portal and returning key players, one team sits atop our way-too-early Top 25 College Football Rankings.

College Football Top 25

10) USC Trojans

After undergoing a humongous overhaul from 2021, the USC Trojans are the ultimate “what if” team ahead of the college football season. Caleb Williams is undoubtedly an upgrade at QB, and Lincoln Riley’s offensive is teeming with playmaking superstars. Adding Mekhi Blackmon and Shane Lee to a defense that has Korey Foreman leading from the front should give the Trojans a team that can challenge for Pac-12 honors this fall.

9) Pittsburgh Panthers

Despite losing Kenny Pickett to the NFL and Jordan Addison to the transfer portal, the Pittsburgh Panthers are in good shape to challenge in the ACC once again. The offense is bolstered by returning offensive line pieces and incoming WR Konata Mumpfield. The defense has a number of legitimate playmakers at all three levels.

They could win the ACC and secure a playoff place. However, their schedule lacks big-name opposition. Right now, I’d fancy NC State to win in a shootout if the Panthers and the Wolfpack were the two teams contesting the ACC Championship Game, which is how it would play out per our way-too-early College Football Top 25 Rankings.

8) Baylor Bears

The Big 12 is one of the most difficult conferences to predict this season. As a result, and despite the loss of a lot of defensive parts, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Baylor repeat as conference champions. They return all but one of their astonishingly good offensive linemen. Adding Jaxon Player to the defensive front is a scary-good move alongside Siaki Ika.

Do I think the Bears can be a top-10 college football team this fall? Maybe not. However, a Power Five champion will nearly always worm their way into the top end of the College Football Top 25.

7) Notre Dame Fighting Irish

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish could snag a berth near the summit of the College Football Top 25 Rankings by Marcus Freeman’s sheer will and personality alone. However, the return of key offensive line pieces and tight end Michael Mayer should mean that the offense can win enough games regardless of who starts under center. While there are defensive losses, don’t sleep on EDGE Isaiah Foskey as one of the top-performing players in the nation.

6) Texas A&M Aggies

If five-star commitments could guarantee you a national championship, Texas A&M would sit atop the College Football Top 25. However, they don’t. The Aggies may need to lean on a number of these freshmen throughout the season as they return only four of their defensive starters from last year. While returning playmakers like Ainias Smith and Devon Achane boost the offense, the Aggies are likely to come up short in the SEC.

5) Utah Utes

Even with the loss of linebacker and leader Devin Lloyd, I expect the Utah Utes to be the team to beat in the Pac-12 again this season. They have one of the best cornerbacks in the nation in Clark Phillips III, and the transfer of Florida’s Mohamoud Diabate should solidify their defense. Cameron Rising, Tavion Thomas, and Brant Kuithe give the Utes the offensive firepower to succeed. That said, the Pac-12’s cannibalistic nature will likely see them drop a game that costs them a spot in the final four.

4) Georgia Bulldogs

Repeating as SEC and national champions is always a near-impossible task. Doing so when your historic defense forms a historic draft class is even more challenging. Nonetheless, the Bulldogs have a plethora of offensive playmakers either returning or joining. Their defense might not quite be as imposing. But Jalen Carter is one of the best in the nation, and Nolan Smith is a star playmaker. Kelee Ringo, Chris Smith, and Tykee Smith all return to the secondary. Avoiding Alabama cross-conference always helps the quest for an unbeaten regular season.

3) North Carolina State Wolfpack

Ok, so it’s bold prediction time as the North Carolina State Wolfpack break the final four of our way-too-early College Football Top 25 Rankings. The Wolfpack return nine defensive and eight offensive starters, including quarterback Devin Leary. If they win the ACC with a comprehensive record while beating a ranked Clemson team on the road, that puts them in a great situation to permeate the College Football Playoff. Leary is the real deal, and Devin Carter is set for a break-out year as his go-to guy in the NC State offense.

2) Ohio State Buckeyes

After a difficult start to the 2021 season, the Ohio State Buckeyes came alive down the stretch as C.J. Stroud hit his stride as the leader of the offense. Although he lost a talented wide receiver duo, Jaxon Smith-Njigba leads a wide receiver room with equally spectacular potential. After being a disaster last season, the defense is more experienced this year and has added some pieces from the transfer portal. Ryan Day’s team should bounce back in style, confirming 2021 as a blip rather than the new norm in the Big Ten.

1) Alabama Crimson Tide

Betting against a Nick Saban-led team is an exercise in futility. After coming up a game short last year, Alabama is in an excellent position to sweep aside all challengers in college football this fall. Will Anderson Jr. might well be the best player in the nation. Bryce Young is certainly one of the best quarterbacks in all of college football.

Alabama ransacked the transfer portal to add a starting wide receiver (Jermaine Burton), running back (Jahmyr Gibbs), left tackle (Tyler Steen), and cornerback (Eli Ricks) while returning key pieces on both sides of the ball. There really is only one logical answer to which team leads the College Football Top 25 Rankings heading into the 2022 season.

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