College Football Rankings: Early Look at 2022 Preseason Top 25

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 11, 2022

College Football Rankings: Early Look at 2022 Preseason Top 25

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    It's never too early to look ahead.

    Sure, the celebrations are roaring on after Georgia's 33-18 triumph over Alabama in Monday's CFP National Championship, but we don't have time to soak them upβ€”not when there's a way-too-early top 25 to assemble.

    After laying out our rankings, we'll spotlight two of the more intriguing teams in the top 10.

Preseason Top 25

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    1. Alabama

    2. Georgia

    3. Ohio State

    4. Clemson

    5. Texas A&M

    6. Notre Dame

    7. Utah

    8. Michigan

    9. Baylor

    10. Oklahoma

    11. Wake Forest

    12. Oregon

    13. Oklahoma State

    14. Michigan State

    15. Arkansas

    16. Wisconsin

    17. Iowa

    18. Kentucky

    19. Penn State

    20. NC State

    21. Cincinnati

    22. Miami

    23. BYU

    24. Tennessee

    25. Texas

Ohio State Buckeyes

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    The Big Ten should run through Columbus, Ohio next season.

    The Buckeyes should again overwhelm most opponents with one offensive eruption after the next due to the returns of quarterback C.J. Stroud and running back TreVeyon Henderson. Each played featured roles in an attack that just paced college football in average yards (561.2 per game) and points (45.7).

    While Stroud will miss receivers Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, there's more than enough talent to cover those voids. Top receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba is back, and in case anyone forgot, he set the record books ablaze with 15 receptions for 347 yards and three touchdowns in the Rose Bowl in his last game.

    The question is whether the Buckeyes can get enough stops when it matters, and that task will fall on the shoulders of new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles. If he can have this unit thriving with the same aggressive, playmaking style that worked for him at Oklahoma State, the Buckeyes could have the balance needed for a championship run.

Oklahoma Sooners

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    It might feel familiar to see Oklahoma holding down a prominent spot in the rankings, but that's where the familiarity stops for the Sooners.

    Former coach Lincoln Riley took his talents (plus recruits, coaches and maybe more) to USC, leaving ex-Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables to potentially overhaul the roster. The Sooners have seen a number of players enter the transfer portal, including Heisman-candidate quarterback Caleb Williams.

    Oklahoma added UCF transfer Dillon Gabriel in case Williams walks, but Venables may need to continue bandaging wounds as they open. There are too many moving parts to fully process the roster, but the Sooners could look substantially different. (It feels strange to not mention the departure of Spencer Rattler, but these are strange times, folks.)

    If the Sooners can field a formidable offense, the hope is that Venables' arrival will take this improving defense up a tier or two. While Oklahoma often has the requisite weaponry to win shootouts, the decision to go with Venables indicates an obvious desire to not be so dependent on scoring.

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