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 2022 college football top 25.
25. Cincinnati Bearcats
Cincinnati had a dream of a season making the College Football Playoff. They lose virtually all of their key players from this team and will have to rely on younger players in 2022. Luckily for the Bearcats, Luke Fickell has been recruiting well ahead of Cincinnati’s move to the Big 12 in 2023. Evan Prather will be one to watch at quarterback, as he was a highly-touted recruit a few seasons ago.
24. Kentucky Wildcats
What Mark Stoops has done at Kentucky is incredible. With Will Levis at quarterback in Liam Coen’s system for a second straight year, the offense will be in good hands. The defense has mostly performed well under Stoops, but may need new leaders next season.
23. Fresno State Bulldogs
Although things looked murky for the Bulldogs when Kalen DeBoer left for Washington, Jake Haener has since made his decision to return at quarterback. Wide receiver Jalen Cropper is also back for 2022. Jeff Tedford has a team that should compete for a Mountain West Championship.
22. Pittsburgh Panthers
How does Pitt replace a great quarterback like Kenny Pickett? They looked to the transfer portal and brought in Kedon Slovis. He’ll have Jordan Addison at wide receiver who will be one of the best pass-catchers in the country. The Panthers might slow down a little bit offensively, but they should be able to have a solid season.
21. Iowa Hawkeyes
Iowa has a lot of talent returning, but they will lose talented running back Tyler Goodson and could lose the best center in the country in Tyler Linderbaum. The Hawkeyes are a safe bet to win about eight or nine games next season even without those players.
20. Texas Longhorns
Steve Sarkisian had a rough season at Texas in his first year at the helm. He will have a star at running back in Bijan Robinson, who is set to return from injury. On top of that, he has one of the best quarterback recruits in history, Quinn Ewers, transferring in from Ohio State. There is no reason why this team shouldn’t see a massive improvement in 2022.
19. Miami Hurricanes
Tyler Van Dyke helped bring some life to the Miami offense. With Mario Cristobal taking over and the Hurricanes having a lot of returning starters, there is no excuse not to be better in 2022.
18. Michigan State Spartans
Kenneth Walker is off to the next level, so a new running back will be needed. Other than that though, Mel Tucker has a lot of returning players. Peyton Thorne could take the next step at quarterback to really help the Spartans have a good season.
17. Penn State Nittany Lions
Penn State will have Sean Clifford under center for another year and will also have a star receiver in Parker Washington. James Franklin has been recruiting well and the Nittany Lions should have another solid season.
16. Baylor Bears
Dave Aranda has done a fantastic job turning Baylor around. Baylor will have Gerry Bohanon returning and several offensive linemen, but they will need new skill position players to step up. Aranda will also need to figure things out on defense, but he has done it before.
15. NC State Wolfpack
NC State had a chance to win 10 games before their bowl was canceled. Devin Leary returns at quarterback and so does plenty of impactful players on defense. The Wolfpack will be competing in the ACC during the 2022 season.
14. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Sam Hartman is likely back for Wake Forest, which makes a world of difference. The defense also has some key young pieces to help Wake Forest sustain some of their success.
13. Oregon Ducks
Oregon will lose Kayvon Thibodeaux, but their defense has plenty of stars coming back, including Noah Sewell. In an easier Pac-12, Dan Lanning should be able to do decently well in his first season as head coach.
12. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Spencer Sanders being back for another season helps and so too does a lot of their offense. Their defense will have a lot to replace, but if the offense can take a step forward, Oklahoma State will be competing for the Big 12.
11. Oklahoma Sooners
Dillon Gabriel has transferred in to play quarterback, but several players are still considering transferring. It will be hard for the Sooners to compete on a national level in Brent Venables first year, but they have recruited well enough in the past to be relevant in the Big 12.
10. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame will have a new coach in Marcus Freeman and will have to replace a lot of talent including Kyle Hamilton and Kyren Williams. They have enough talent to have another good season in 2022.
9. Arkansas Razorbacks
While Treylon Burks is heading to the next level, quarterback K.J. Jefferson is ready for superstardom with another year. Sam Pittman helped Arkansas take a huge step forward in 2021 and 2022 could see them reach new heights.
8. Michigan Wolverines
Michigan made the College Football Playoff, but will lose the heart and soul of their team in Aidan Hutchinson and plenty of other key players. They have recruited very well and could be back in the College Football Playoff in a few years.
7. Utah Utes
Devin Lloyd is off to the NFL from their defense, but almost all of their other key players are back. Cameron Rising is back at quarterback and Tavion Thomas should also return at running back. Kyle Whittingham has another team that can win the Pac-12.
6. Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin has found their next star running back in Braelon Allen. They will run the ball and play solid defense like the usually do and should be at the top of the Big Ten West.
5. Texas A&M Aggies
The Aggies had an injury to their starting quarterback, but still beat Alabama and won eight games on the season. Jimbo Fisher has a heck of a recruiting class coming in and the team should be able to compete near the top of the SEC West.
4. Clemson Tigers
It was a down year for Clemson and they still won 10 games. Their offense needs to be revamped and D.J. Uiagalelei will need to play much better, but if the Tigers get it right this offseason, they can be right back in the CFP picture.
3. Georgia Bulldogs
Most of the offense will return for Georgia, but they may need to find a new quarterback. They’ll have a lot to replace on defense again, but at this point the Bulldogs just reload.
2. Ohio State Buckeyes
C.J. Stroud really came into his own this season and is now one of the best quarterbacks in the country. The Ohio State offense will be great, while the defense will have a new coordinator in Jim Knowles who will have a lot of talent to work with.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama will have the best player on the both sides of the ball next season. Bryce Young and the Alabama offense don’t look like they are going to slow down next season. Will Anderson should’ve been a defensive Heisman finalist last season and can really change the game for the Crimson Tide’s defense again next season.
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