With the national championship in the rearview mirror, all attention turns to the NFL draft in April and the upcoming college football season. Alabama concluded their 2020 campaign 13-0 with a 52-24 victory over Ohio State.
College football analyst Joel Klatt is already ready for 2021 and has revealed his top 10 too early for next season. 247Sports released its Top 25 too early for next season, explaining what the season could look like once the schedule rolls in in September.
Going forward, they’ll be pretty much the same teams in Klatt’s Top 10, just a slightly different order.
Klatt even put two Big Ten teams in the Top 10. Ohio State for one, but the other might surprise fans after their stellar season in 2020.
Klatt is also high on two Big 12 teams knocking on the college football playoff doors this season.
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Let’s dive into the Top 10 analysts, including a number one stunner for next season.
Notre Dame’s season ended with a loss to Alabama, but the Fighting Irish are far from the only team to suffer that fate. The big news this week came on Friday night when Notre Dame landed a big fish to replace Clark Lea as defensive coordinator. Marcus Freeman of Cincinnati takes over, choosing Notre Dame over LSU. Notre Dame recently added Wisconsin Jack Coan transfer to their quarterback room as the Fighting Irish say goodbye to Ian Book. It will be interesting to see what Coan looks like, as people might forget about his productivity during his career in Wisconsin. Notre Dame has the most important position for a race next year.
Is Mack Brown’s third season at Chapel Hill the decisive season? UNC transitioned to a bowling team in their first season and finished in the top 25 in Year 2. Now Brown and quarterback Sam Howell are heading into 2021 with the highest expectations yet. Howell, fresh off a 3,500-yard, 30-touchdown season, is heading into next year as a Heisman Trophy contender and top NFL Draft prospect.
Miami are another team looking to shake off a tough finish to a season that had a lot of positives. The Hurricanes end the year with losses to North Carolina and Oklahoma State. Looking ahead to 2021, the focus is on quarterback D’Eriq King and his recovery from an injury. Shortly after King made it through the NFL draft for a 2021 race in Miami, he tore up his ACL in the bowl game. As long as King is healthy for the coming season, every time he returns, Miami should be an ACC player.
Tom Allen put on one of the best coaching performances of the year as Indiana was 6-1 in the Big Ten game. Even after Michael Penix Jr. fell as quarterback, the Hoosiers won in Wisconsin. Penix plans to return for training camp, and star receiver Ty Fryfogle will be back as well. The Hoosiers are another team that will count on the return of their healthy quarterback, but as long as he does, Penix could lead Indiana in a must-see case against Ohio State next season. The Big Ten East Division race will be one to watch as Indiana looks like a serious contender with the Buckeyes.
The Cyclones lost a Big 12 championship record in 2020, but progress under coach Matt Campbell is pretty clear. Campbell will once again be a buzzword in college and NFL coaching research in 2021, and that already includes reports of a Jets reunion and Campbell’s statement about the upcoming Iowa State season. In a 3-9 year 1 with Campbell, Iowa State has four consecutive winning seasons, two bowl wins and a 32-19 record. That includes a Fiesta Bowl victory last week over Oregon behind 136 yards and two touchdowns from Breece Hall.
Dabo Swinney has never had a problem in the motivation department, and a bitter end to the 2020 season should serve as fuel for the future. Clemson is saying goodbye to some big stars, none bigger than quarterback Trevor Lawrence, but has another major quarterback ready to go with DJ Uiagalelei. Uiagalelei stepped in for Lawrence in two starts as a rookie. Clemson did not receive any first place votes from our pundits, but expectations are still high for the top-rated ACC team with five consecutive conference titles.
The Buckeyes ended with a thud after losing to Alabama at the national title and will not have quarterback Justin Fields or receiver Chris Olave. It will be up to head coach Ryan Day to properly develop the next quarterback in the spring, likely CJ Stroud, who saw minimal action in a truncated schedule in 2020. Nonetheless, Day turned out to be one of the few. best coaches in the world. country because he has lost only two games in two years: the semi-finals against Clemson last season and the national championship in Alabama. Expect the Buckeyes to be the Big Ten favorite again.
The Sooners looked pretty explosive in bowling season and returning star Spencer Rattler to quarterback with Heisman Trophy hopes. All of the 247Sports national experts have high regard for Oklahoma in 2021, but analyst Brandon Marcello sees enough of Lincoln Riley and the company to rank OU as the best team in the country. Oklahoma have won their last eight games of the season to finish with a 9-2 overall record and a Big 12 championship. OU beat Florida, 55-20, in the Cotton Bowl behind three Rattler touchdowns and a combined. from 296 rushing yards and two touchdowns from Rhamondre Stevenson and Marcus Major.
Can Alabama have any surprises on how Dylan Moses and Najee Harris pledged to return in 2020? Quarterback Mac Jones held off five-star rookie Bryce Young and played a finalist season in Heisman as a starter from Alabama. But 2021 appears to be the year Young takes over, and he already has the Heisman Trophy hype with the fifth best odds, according to SportsLine. Alabama is also transitioning to a new offensive coordinator in the offseason following Steve Sarkisian’s departure to become head coach in Texas.
Georgia has not lost a game since JT Daniels became healthy and became the starting quarterback. And despite being draft-eligible, Daniels announced his intention to return to Athens shortly after the team beat Cincinnati in the bowling season. Georgia finished 8-2 on a late field goal to beat Cincinnati in the Peach Bowl. Daniels has recorded 1,231 passing yards, 10 touchdowns and two picks since taking over. And 2021 starts off with a bang, awaiting COVID-19 schedule changes on September 4 against Clemson.
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