College football preseason rankings: Can Alabama maintain its stranglehold?

Alabama head coach Nick Saban
Alabama head coach Nick Saban
Walter Sharp

College football has gone through a massive change heading into the 2021-2022 season. Athletes will now have the opportunity to earn an income while playing college sports. As the college football season approaches, fans are on the edge of their seats, waiting for the first top-25 rankings to be released.

With the season only 33 short days away, let's take a look at the preseason top-25 college football rankings.

2021-2022 College Football top 25 preseason rankings

Alabama WR John Metchie III
Alabama WR John Metchie III

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide

Nick Saban and company sit at the top of the college football world, heading into the upcoming college football season. Alabama is coming off one of the most dominant seasons in program history. Like every year, the Crimson Tide are reloading with a ton of talent.

Key losses: QB Mac Jones, RB Najee Harris, WR DeVonta Smith, WR Jaylen Waddle, OT Alex Leatherwood, C Landon Dickerson, G Deonte Brown, LB Dylan Moses, CB Patrick Surtain II

Key returns: QB Bryce Young, WR John Metchie III, OL Evan Neal, DB Josh Jobe, DB Jordan Battle, LB Christian Harris

#2 Clemson Tigers

Dabo Swinney has his work cut out for him in 2021. The Tigers lost their top two threats on offense in Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne. Luckily for Swinney and company, DJ Uiagalelei was battle-tested playing on the road against Notre Dame last season.

Key losses: QB Trevor Lawrence, RB Travis Etienne, WR Amari Rodgers, CB Derion Kendrick, OT Jackson Carman, C Cade Stewart

Key returns: QB DJ Uiagalelei, WR Justyn Ross, DT Bryan Bresee, DB Sheridan Jones, EDGE Myles Murphy, DB Nolan Turner, OT Jordan McFadden, DB Andrew Booth Jr., EDGE Xavier Thomas

Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler
Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler

#3 Oklahoma Sooners

The Oklahoma Sooners are entering the season with the number one quarterback in college football. Spencer Rattler is projected to be the first quarterback off the board in the 2022 NFL Draft. With the 2021-2022 college football season potentially being the last season for Oklahoma in the Big 12, it should be an exciting season.

Key losses: OT Adrian Ealy, C Creed Humphrey, RB Rhamondre Stevenson, DE Ronnie Perkins, DB Tre Brown, DB Tre Norwood, WR Charleston Rambo

Key returns: QB Spencer Rattler, RB Kennedy Brooks, WR Marvin Mims, EDGE Nik Bonitto, DT Jalen Redmond, DB DJ Graham, TE Austin Stogner, EDGE Isaiah Thomas

#4 Georgia Bulldogs

Georgia will return eight offensive starters and four defensive starters from their 2020 team. The Bulldogs lost a lot of talent on the defensive side of the football. Georgia will lean heavily on their offense and their quarterback, JT Daniels.

Key losses: LB Azeez Ojulari, LB Monty Rice, DB Eric Stokes, DB Tyson Campbell, DB Richard LeCounte, EDGE Malik Herring, C Trey Holl, G Ben Cleveland

Key returns: QB JT Daniels, TE Arik Gilbert, WR Dominick Blaylock, WR Kearis Jackson, OT Jamaree Salyer, DB Derion Kendrick, DB Lewis Cine

Ohio State WR Chris Olave
Ohio State WR Chris Olave

#5 Ohio State Buckeyes

The Buckeyes have a massive amount of talent at the wide receiver position. Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson may be the best one-two punch at wide receiver in the country. The talent at wide receiver should help the Buckeyes' quarterback situation.

Key losses: QB Justin Fields, RB Trey Sermon, C Josh Myers, G Wyatt Davis, LB Pete Werner, LB Tuf Borland, DB Shaun Wade

Key returns: RB Master Teague, WR Chris Olave, WR Garrett Wilson, WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, OT Thayer Munford, DT Haskell Garrett, EDGE Tyreek Smith, EDGE Zach Harrison

#6 Iowa State

Iowa State is the biggest threat to the Oklahoma Sooners heading into the college football season. The Cyclones return quarterback Brock Purdy, running back Breece Hall and tight Charles Kolar. Their success in the forthcoming season will be determined by their performance on offense.

Key losses: EDGE JaQuan Bailey, DB Lawrence White IV, RB Kene Nwangwu

Key returns: QB Brock Purdy, RB Breece Hall, TE Charlie Kolar, WR Xavier Hutchinson, DB Greg Eisworth, DB Anthony Johnson, DB Tayvon Kyle, LB Mike Rose

College Football QB Sam Howell
College Football QB Sam Howell

#7 North Carolina

The Tar Heels enter the 2021-2022 college football season with the second-best quarterback in college football. Sam Howell has put together two phenomenal seasons at North Carolina. After losing both Javonte Williams and Michael Carter to the NFL, Howell will have the opportunity to prove he's the best quarterback in college football.

Key losses: RB Javonte Williams, RB Michael Carter, WR Dazz Newsome, WR Dyami Brown, LB Chazz Surratt

Key returns: QB Sam Howell, WR Beau Corrales, WR Josh Downs, WR Khafre Brown, OG Joshua Ezeudu, DB Storm Duck, DB Tony Grimes, EDGE Tomon Fox, DB JaQurious Conley, LB Eugene Asante

#8 Texas A&M Aggies

Jimbo Fisher and company return six offensive and nine defensive starters from last season. Isaiah Spiller and Jalen Wydermyer lead the way on offense for the Aggies. Their defense is led by the massive defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal, who's an imposing presence in the college football scene this year.

Key losses: QB Kellen Mond, OT Dan Moore Jr., OC Ryan McCollum, OG Jared Hocker, OT Carson Green, LB Buddy Johnson

Key returns: RB Isaiah Spiller, TE Jalen Wydermyer, WR Ainias Smith, OG Kenyon Green, EDGE DeMarvin Leal, DB Demani Richardson, DB Myles Jones, EDGE Tyree Johnson, DT Jayden Peevy

College Football QB Michael Penix Jr.
College Football QB Michael Penix Jr.

#9 Indiana Hoosiers

Indiana was coming off one of the best seasons in a long time in 2020. Michael Penix Jr. enters the upcoming college football season as the top quarterback in the Big Ten conference. The Hoosiers have a ton of talent at the wide receiver position, making their offense even more lethal.

Key losses: WR Whop Philyor, OC Harry Crider, DT Jerome Johnson, DB Jerome Johnson

Key returns: QB Michael Penix Jr., WR Ty Fryfogle, TE Peyton Hendershot, OT Matthew Bedford, DB Tiawan Mullen, LB Micah McFadden, DB Reese Taylor, DB Jaylin Williams, DB Devon Matthew

#10 Cincinnati Bearcats

The Bearcats will return eight offensive and seven defensive starters from last season. Cincinnati finished the 2020 season with a 9-1 record and a perfect 6-0 in the American Athletic Conference. Desmond Ridder will look to enter his name into the discussion of the top quarterbacks in college football.

Key losses: DB James Wiggins, DB Darrick Forrest, LB Jarell White, EDGE Elijah Ponder, RB Gerrid Doaks, OT James Hudson, OT Darius Harper, OC Jakari Robinson

Key returns: QB Desmond Ridder, DB Ahmad Gardner, EDGE Myjai Sanders, TE Josh Whyle

#11 Oregon Ducks

#12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

#13 Iowa Hawkeyes

#14 USC Trojans

#15 Florida Gators

#16 Washington Huskies

#17 Wisconsin Badgers

#18 LSU Tigers

#19 Texas Longhorns

#20 Ole Miss Rebels

#21 Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns

#22 Miami Hurricanes

#23 Arizona State Sun Devils

#24 Penn State Nittany Lions

#25 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

Edited by Colin D'Cunha

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