Top 10 Teams Most Likely to Be in the 2021-2022 College Football PlayoffComing out of the Coronavirus season where a lot which could’ve gone wrong did, it will be interesting to see which directions college football teams take going into the season. It will be sure to be an interesting season this year, culminating hopefully with an exciting final four.
Clemson, even without Trevor Lawrence and couple of other pieces, will most likely put together a strong, championship caliber team, under the leadership of DJ Uiagalelei. Clemson also has a very young defense, which will be much improved from last year. From what we saw of DJ last year, he looks to be ready to take over for Trevor Lawrence in 2021, and lead Clemson's offense. That coupled with a stronger defense will make for a serious contender.
Alabama lost a lot of key pieces, like Mac Jones, Najee Harris, Heisman winner Devonta Smith, and much of their offensive line. However, this has never stopped Nick Saban in the past, and a new string of top tier recruits are coming in to take their place. Bryce Young looks to come in and become the next Alabama Quarterback star, and with a defense as strong as theirs, I'm betting on Alabama to make the playoff.
Spencer Rattler is returning, potentially stronger than ever. After a somewhat disappointing season last year, Lincoln Riley and Oklahoma are looking to bounce back with a supercharged offense with few losses from last year. Young players returned, and will likely be much improved, making for an offense no one will be wanting to face this season.
Georgia will be Alabama's greatest threat in the SEC this year. With an offensive that became extremely successful at the end of last season, and JT Daniels and many others returning. The questionable defense of last season still may cause some problems, but with a few spots being patched, things are looking better for Kirby Smart's team.
Ohio State takes a hit losing Trey Sermon and Justin Fields this year, but with recruits to replace them, it shouldn't be a big problem for Ryan Day to build the program back up again. With as many good returning players as there are, Ohio State is poised to make another run this year, even with questions about experience on the offensive end and talent on the defensive end.
Oregon, after having a very lackluster 2020/21 season, is looking to bounce back. And in a fairly PAC-12, this is definitely possible. Oregon maintains most of its roster, and has several top 100 defensive recruits coming in, building up their already powerful defensive unit. Their offense also remains strong, and proves they can definitely fight towards the playoff.
Breece Hall and Brock Purdy return for another season, and Iowa State retains most of the weapons that allowed them as much success as they achieved. Their offensive line returns, and their defense is better than most teams in the Big 12. However, Iowa State is in the same Conference as Oklahoma. That is never a good spot to be. If Iowa State wants to be seen as a contender, they must get past Oklahoma and win the Big 12 championship.
With Sam Howell returning, North Carolina looks to be in a fairly good spot, as they do not have to play Clemson in the regular season. However, they lost their pair of star running backs and a few receivers, depleting the amount of weapons Sam Howell has to use. With an improved defense, North Carolina may be able to make a run, but I doubt they'll be able to get past Clemson.
The two major issues for the Aggies this year are their offensive line loss, which could definitely weaken Isaiah Spillers impact, and the loss of Kellen Mond. However, the offense should still be strong, and the defense should be much improved from last season, meaning even if they have to lean on Isaiah Spiller and the defense, they should do fairly well.
For Cincinnati, its now or never. They have a gigantic chance to take a step forward with nearly all of their starters and star players returning from last year. They play games against Notre Dame and Indiana, a chance for a few marquee wins against powerhouses, but also allows for a chance of defeat. If Cincinnati prevails against both teams and wins their conference, they have a serious chance at contention.