The college football season still isn’t quite over, but next year still can’t come soon enough. With that, here are the way too early 2021 college football top 25.
25. West Virginia Mountaineers
The Mountaineers went 6-4 this season in head coach Neal Brown‘s second year at the helm. While they lose some of their defensive line, West Virginia should get enough talent back, including starting quarterback Jarrett Doege and possibly running back Leddie Brown, to be a top 25 team in 2021.
24. Washington Huskies
After technically winning the Pac-12 North this season, Washington returns a lot of players. Their young players got a lot of experience this season and next year they can take a step forward under Jimmy Lake.
23. Wisconsin Badgers
Graham Mertz was inconsistent this year, but will be back next year at quarterback for the Badgers. While the Badgers may lose a few seniors on defense, the offense should be able to take a step forward next year.
22. TCU Horned Frogs
The Horned Frogs battled to a 6-4 record this season after replacing early NFL Draft picks in Jalen Reagor, Jeff Gladney and Lucas Niang. Max Duggan will be back at quarterback with the offense set to improve. The defense will lose a few key players, including their star safeties, but Gary Patterson usually has his defense ready to play.
21. Arizona State Sun Devils
After only playing four games and winning two of them, Arizona State can get things back on track
next season. Quarterback Jayden Daniels and most of the offense will be back next season, which is important in an offensive-minded Pac-12.
20. Virginia Tech Hokies
Virginia Tech had a young team that went 5-6 this season. For next year, they should be able to make moves in an ACC that has been manageable. Losing quarterback Hendan Hooker to the transfer portal could hold them back, but they won their regular-season finale against Virginia without him.
19. Oklahoma State Cowboys
The 2020 season didn’t go like the Cowboys’ pictured. They will now lose wide receiver Tylan Wallace and running back Chuba Hubbard, but Spencer Sanders is going to be back. The defense was better this season and should improve even more next season.
18. NC State Wolfpack
While star defensive lineman Alim McNeil is going pro, the Wolfpack are getting a lot of players back next season. With so many starters back and going 8-4 this season, there should be reason for excitement for Wolfpack fans.
17. Texas Longhorns
Texas is under a new head coach in Steve Sarkisian. They will possibly lose quarterback Sam Ehlinger and offensive tackle Samuel Cosmi, but they have a lot of experience coming back, as they only had a few senior starters this season.
16. Texas A&M Aggies
Texas A&M loses Kellen Mond and four starters on the offensive line, who will all be tough to replace. They also lose most of their front seven on defense. Now it is time for Jimbo Fisher’s recruits to shine. Tight end Jalen Wydermeyer and running back Isaiah Spiller will need to have big years for the offense.
15. Oregon Ducks
Oregon was able to win the Pac-12 with one of the youngest teams in the country this year. With Kayvon Thibodeaux coming back as one of the best players and pass rushers in the nation, Oregon will be a force to be dealt with.
14. USC Trojans
The Trojans had some exciting games this year, but still finished with a 5-1 record. Quarterback Kedon Slovis and a lot of young players will lead USC next year.
13. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Fighting Irish will lose Ian Book and a lot of their offensive line. They still have some talented players who will now need to take a step up. Safety Kyle Hamilton will be one of the best players in the country and running back Kyren Williams has shown flashes of greatness as well.
12. Iowa Hawkeyes
After two losses to start the season, Iowa finished the year with six straight wins. Spencer Petras at quarterback and Tyler Goodson should create a dynamic duo out of the backfield again for the Hawkeyes.
11. Miami Hurricanes
Getting D’Eriq King back is huge for Miami’s offense, even if he is coming off of a torn ACL. With him back at quarterback, the Hurricanes will have a chance to compete in the ACC next season.
10. Florida Gators
9. Cincinnati Bearcats
The Bearcats had a great season, which saw them come very close to winning the Peach Bowl over Georgia. They may lose some talented defenders, but they also return a lot of their defense, which was dominant in 2020. Desmond Ridder choosing to return to school gives them a shot to make it back to a New Year’s Six Bowl.
8. Indiana Hoosiers
Michael Penix led the team to a good season before getting injured. With him and some of their defense returning, they could push Ohio State in the Big Ten East again next season.
7. North Carolina Tar Heels
Their top running backs and wide receivers may be gone, but Sam Howell is a verifiable star at quarterback. Mack Brown has gotten the most out of his talent in his time at UNC and that will continue in 2021.
6. Iowa State Cyclones
5. Clemson Tigers
Losing Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne will be tough to overcome. Luckily, the Tigers got star-recruit D.J. Uiagalelei some reps this season. He can help the Tigers win the ACC again, even if their defense does have some holes in it.
4. Ohio State Buckeyes
Making the title game this year was a great season and Ohio State will have to reload, but they recruit well. Wide receiver Garrett Wilson and defensive end Zach Harrison figure to develop into some of the best players in college football next season.
3. Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama is losing a lot, but they always seemingly reload. Bryce Young was a great quarterback recruit, who likely learned a lot playing behind Mac Jones this season. He can keep the offense humming, while the defense has new stars emerge.
2. Georgia Bulldogs
The Bulldogs found their quarterback in J.T. Daniels. Their defense seemingly always loses talent, but reloads and plays well. With Daniels having a top target in George Pickens, the offense can be great next season too.
1. Oklahoma Sooners
Oklahoma got a new quarterback broken in this season in Spencer Rattler. He really improved down the stretch, and so too did the team, as they won their last seven games. With Alex Grinch running the defense, it was much improved in 2020 and that can continue in 2021.
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