The usual suspects litter the Top 10. One of the big storylines will be new starting quarterbacks at Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Florida. These schools all have talented signal callers ready to step in. Can anyone crack the dominance of Oklahoma, Clemson and Ohio State, who have dominated their leagues?
1. Clemson – After the opener against Georgia, the schedule really opens up for the Tigers. DJ Uiagalelei played great when he stepped in for Trevor Lawrence last season. Clemson’s defensive line is loaded, and they’ve lapped the ACC field in recruiting.
2. Oklahoma – Spencer Rattler is back at quarterback for the Sooners, who closed the season in a flurry, destroying Florida in a confidence-boosting Cotton Bowl victory. Will anyone emerge as a legitimate threat in the Big XII this season?
3. Alabama – Nick Saban fielded one of his best teams last year. The Crimson Tide lost a lot, but we’ve all figured out they just reload every season. Bryce Young is the new trigger-man for the Crimson Tide. Bama opens the season against Miami in Atlanta.
4. Georgia – Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs aim for a fifth straight Top 10 finish in 2021. The front seven should be outstanding, and Georgia got excellent play from JT Daniels at quarterback down the stretch. The Bulldogs open with Clemson in Charlotte.
5. Ohio State – The Buckeyes have been lapping the Big Ten field in recruiting, and even though they must replace a lot of production, there is no doubt who is the most talented team in the league. Ryan Day has made a smooth transition as the head Buckeye.
6. Southern Cal – Kedon Slovis is back at quarterback and that gives the Trojans a leg up in a wide-open PAC-12. It’s now or never for Clay Helton, who has lived his head coaching life on the hot seat in Troy.
7. Auburn – The Tigers have Bo Nix back at quarterback, Tank Bigsby is a terrific running back, and the O Line returns. New coach Bryan Harsin will try to follow in the footsteps of Auburn’s two previous head coaches and strike for early success.
8. North Carolina – Mack Brown, in round two, has reinvigorated the Tar Heels program. UNC is recruiting well, and the Heels return a great quarterback in Sam Howell. Their side of the ACC is there for the taking, and who knows if they play Clemson in December.
9. LSU – That win over Florida in Gainesville was a big boost to the 2019 champs. There has been a great deal of turmoil around the program, but LSU has talent and returns a lot, including its O-Line. The Tigers are dangerous, when being overlooked.
10. Florida – Last season ended with a thud for Florida. The Gators lost a lot, but Florida always has players, and Dan Mullen’s team appears to be the top threat to Georgia in the SEC East. The Gators host Alabama and Tennessee in September.