New Year's Resolutions for Every Top 25 College Football Team

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2022

New Year's Resolutions for Every Top 25 College Football Team

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    As the calendar flipped to January, millions of people settled on some New Year's resolutions. Why shouldn't college football teams be doing the same?

    Let's have a little fun with it, too.

    Every resolution is specifically or loosely based on common goals set around this time of year. For example, "hit the gym" could apply to programs needing a stronger offensive line. "Travel more" can illustrate teams that struggled on the road.

    The order reflects the final College Football Playoff Top 25 ranking of the 2021 campaign.

25-21. Texas A&M, San Diego State, Louisiana, Kentucky, Arkansas

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    25. Texas A&M: Try Something New

    Headlined by a ridiculous six 5-star prospects, Texas A&M boasts the nation's top-ranked recruiting class. Jimbo Fisher and his staff won't be gifting key roles to those star recruits, but it's reasonable to expect a few freshmen will contribute right away.


    24. San Diego State: Learn a New Hobby

    No, the Aztecs should not abandon what works. Stout defense and a run-focused offense propelled SDSU to a 12-2 record that included a trip to the Mountain West Championship Game. But the passing game was horribly inefficient; San Diego State ranked 108th nationally at just 6.5 yards per attempt.


    23. Louisiana: Live Life to the Fullest

    Although head coach Billy Napier headed to Florida, he left the Sun Belt program in excellent shape. The school promoted Michael Desormeauxa program legend as a quarterbackand is expected to return a majority of top contributors in 2022. Replacing quarterback Levi Lewis is the major storyline, but the Ragin' Cajuns should be a prime Sun Belt threat once again.


    22. Kentucky: Renovate the Home

    While quarterback Will Levis has announced he'll be back, Kentucky should be bracing to lose several vital pieces. Most notably, the quartet of WR Wan'Dale Robinson, RT Darian Kinnard, DE Josh Paschal and RB Chris Rodriguez Jr. will probably head to the NFL. Nine super-seniors, including seven starters or top rotational pieces, won't be eligible to return, either.


    21. Arkansas: Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude

    In his second year, Sam Pittman guided 9-4 Arkansas to its winningest season since 2011. The program is undoubtedly trending up. Also, the 2022 schedule is a nightmare. Along with annual clashes against Texas A&M, Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Ole Miss, the Razorbacks host Cincinnati and travel to BYU. Even if 2022 is a frustrating year, Arkansas fans should be confident in Pittman's future.

20-16. Houston, Clemson, NC State, Wake Forest, Oklahoma

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    20. Houston: Spend More Time with Family

    No, we're not talking about visiting relatives. The program will join the Big 12 as soon as the 2023 season, so this upcoming recruiting cycle is enormously important. Starting yesterday, Dana Holgorsen and his staff must be in the living rooms of blue-chip prospects a whole lot more regularly. Otherwise, the transition to the Big 12 could be a struggle.


    19. Clemson: Try Something New

    Dabo Swinney hired Brent Venables as the defensive coordinator in 2012 and promoted Tony Elliott to offensive coordinator in 2015. They oversaw the beginning of a dynasty. And now, they're leading programs at Oklahoma and Virginia, respectively. Even though Swinney chose in-house replacements for both coordinators, it's a fresh era in Clemson.


    18. NC State: Travel More

    Dave Doeren has built a consistent winner at NC State. Outside of the home stadium, though, the Wolfpack are still learning to win. Since the 2017 seasona five-year sampleNC State is 27-6 in Raleigh (including 7-0 in 2021) but 12-17 anywhere else.


    17. Wake Forest: Lose Weight

    Turnovers are the easiest way to drag a team down. When the Deacs impressively raced to an 8-0 start, they committed just seven giveaways. As the competition level increased, so did the number of turnovers. Wake Forest yielded possession 13 times in the last six games and managed a 3-3 record in that stretch.


    16. Oklahoma: Send Handwritten Letters

    If that's what it takes to keep Caleb Williams, do that. Immediately after OU coach Lincoln Riley bolted for USC, the rumor mill churned out whispers of a reunion with the standout freshman quarterback. Williams has entered the transfer portal but could return. Even as UCF transfer Dillon Gabriel is headed to Norman, the Sooners certainly would prefer if Williams is back in 2022.

15-11. Iowa, Oregon, BYU, Pitt, Utah

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    15. Iowa: Make Plans to Adventure

    Given the team's philosophy under Kirk Ferentz, the offense is rarely a high-scoring unit. That's OK! Still, the Hawkeyes mustered 23.4 points per game and 4.7 yards per snap this season. Those ranked 99th and 120th in the nation, respectively, and Iowa's four losses can be directly attributed to lackluster offense.


    14. Oregon: Make A New Friend

    Sure, this could apply to incoming coach Dan Lanning. However, the Ducks need a more effective passing game. Anthony Brown had respectable totals3,647 yards, 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions for a 10-4 teambut he ranked 62nd nationally in yards per pass attempt (7.7). Oregon also finished 70th in completions of 10-plus yards per game (8.7). Brown's departure opens the door for either Auburn transfer Bo Nix or a young player, such as Ty Thompson, to lead the offense in 2022.


    13. BYU: Get and Stay Healthy

    BYU's defense had a major absence seemingly every week. Among the 13 players with 30-plus tackles, only five appeared in all 13 games. It's no surprise the Cougars ranked 80th in yards allowed per snap (5.8), but they're likely to return a majority of the unit in 2022. Continuity would benefit BYU immensely in 2022.


    12. Pitt: Try Something New

    Although a couple of injuries briefly sidelined Kenny Pickett at Pitt, he started 48 games over the last four seasons. Now, the star quarterback is off to the 2022 NFL draft. Whether it's a returning player like backup Nick Patti or USC transfer Kedon Slovis, Pitt will have a new starter for the first time in a while.


    11. Utah: Travel More

    Similar to NC State, Utah has a fantastic home-field advantage. Since 2018, the Utes are 20-2 in Salt Lake City. Even excluding three bowl losses, though, Utah is otherwise 13-9which includes letdowns at BYU, San Diego State and Oregon State this season.

10-6. Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Baylor, Ohio State

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    10. Michigan State: Get Organized

    Exactly one defense surrendered more than 4,000 passing yards in 2021. So, uh, not great! Now, that number is partially inflated because Michigan Statewhich finished 11-2held fourth-quarter leads that required the opponent to throw. Fair enough. But the Spartans also allowed 985 passing yards and nine touchdowns in two losses. The secondary was a clear weakness.


    9. Oklahoma State: Renovate the Home

    The extra year of eligibility might help, but an elite defense is headed for a makeover. Along with coordinator Jim Knowles leaving for Ohio State, Oklahoma State may need to replace upwards of seven key contributors on the unit.


    8. Ole Miss: Renovate the Home

    Similarly, the Ole Miss scoring attack will have an overhauled look in 2022. Star quarterback Matt Corral is headed to the NFL, while both running back Jerrion Ealy and left tackle Nick Broeker might do the same. Top receivers Dontario Drummond and Braylon Sanders were seniors, too. 


    7. Baylor: Travel More

    During the regular season, Baylor notched a perfect 7-0 record at home. But in road gamesand this includes a trip to Texas Statethe Bears managed a 3-2 mark. Flip one of those results, and Baylor could've been in the CFP picture.


    6. Ohio State: Learn A New Hobby

    This fresh skill? Stronger defense in the toughest games. During losses to Oregon and Michigan, the Buckeyes ceded 505 and 487 yards, respectively. Utah racked up 463 yards in the Rose Bowl, and even Purdue registered 477 yards. In five Top 25 matchups, Ohio State's defense only excelled against Michigan State.

5-1. Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Georgia, Michigan, Alabama

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    5. Notre Dame: Wake Up Early

    Within the first six weeks of the 2022 season, Notre Dame travels to Ohio State, heads to North Carolina and plays BYU in Las Vegas. That early portion of the schedule will have a defining impact on what the Fighting Irish accomplishor don'tin the first year of the Marcus Freeman era.


    4. Cincinnati: Hit the Gym

    Cincinnati felt the challenge of competing physically at the highest level in its Cotton Bowl loss to Alabama. The Crimson Tide rushed for 301 yards and held the Bearcats to 74. As the program learns from that experience while preparing to join the Big 12, Cincinnati undoubtedly knows it must become a stronger team. Literally.


    3. Georgia: Decorate the Home

    Elite recruiting has established a strong foundation, and dominant defense has bolstered the program's reputation. Impressive win-loss records continue the cycle. But it's time for Georgia to earn some trophies. Whether that's a national title victory over Alabama in January or a championship run in the 2022 season, Kirby Smart and the Dawgs are aiming for that piece de resistance in the trophy case.


    2. Michigan: Ditch a Bad Habit

    Jim Harbaugh finally broke through this season, winning his first Big Ten championship in seven years at Michigan. Next up for the Wolverines should be breaking an ugly trend. Michigan is 2-9 in road games against Top 25 teams during his tenure. That included a heart-breaking loss to Michigan State in 2021. Next season, the Wolverines travel to Iowa, MSU and Ohio State. Seems notable.


    1. Alabama: Perfect A Recipe

    Beyond eight SEC championships, Nick Saban has six national titleswith a potential seventh soon. Captain Obvious would like you to know his system works. And in 2022, Heisman Trophy-winning QB Bryce Young and record-setting pass-rusher Will Anderson Jr. will return because they aren't draft-eligible players. This season, Alabama lost once (maybe twice, if Georgia wins in the national title game). So, next year, follow the Saban recipe and maybe go undefeated? Enjoy the rat poison, Saban.


    All recruiting information via 247Sports. Stats from, or B/R research. Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.