Inside the Knights Preseason College Football Top 25

Alabama is back at No. 1, the remainder of the top 10 has many teams with similar talent levels, and from that point forward it's a really difficult task of ranking college football’s best programs heading into the 2021 season.
Publish date:

After redoing this list several times before finally publishing it today, here’s the Inside The Knights inaugural Top 25 College Football Poll. There are some surprises, towards the middle of the pack, as well as some schools that were ranked a little bit lower than some might expect.

Those surprises will be detailed below the actual poll. Without further adieu, here’s the College Football Top 25.

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide
  2. Clemson Tigers
  3. Ohio State Buckeyes
  4. Texas A&M Aggies
  5. Georgia Bulldogs
  6. Oklahoma Sooners
  7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  8. North Carolina Tar Heels
  9. Cincinnati Bearcats
  10. Ole Miss Rebels
  11. Indiana Hoosiers
  12. Southern California Trojans
  13. Florida Gators
  14. Miami Hurricanes
  15. Iowa State Cyclones
  16. Wisconsin Badgers
  17. Oregon Ducks
  18. LSU Tigers
  19. UCF Knights
  20. North Carolina State Wolfpack
  21. Iowa Hawkeyes
  22. Arizona State Sun Devils
  23. Coastal Carolina
  24. Texas Longhorns
  25. Auburn Tigers

Just Missing the Cut

Texas Christian Horned Frogs, Penn State Nittany Lions, Louisiana Rajin’ Cajuns, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Washington Huskies, and Northwestern Wildcats.

That’s One Nasty Offense, Year After Year

The Crimson Tide continue to develop players and find the right fits for their offensive machine. Each season, the Crimson Tide seamlessly destroys opposing defenses. Alabama did not score fewer than 31 points in a game last year (National Semi-Final versus Notre Dame) and the Alabama offense scorched the earth with just about every other team it faced, National Runner-Up Ohio State included (52-24).

With sophomore quarterback Bryce Young taking over in Tuscaloosa, Ala., look for the Alabama offense to keep scoring points; there will be no shortage of athletes to throw the football to either.

Is DJ Next Up?

DJ Uiagalelei, Quarterback, Clemson Tigers

DJ Uiagalelei, Quarterback, Clemson Tigers

Those are mighty big shoes to fill in Death Valley, as Trevor Lawrence moved on from Clemson and became the No. 1 pick within the 2021 NFL Draft. His replacement, talented sophomore DJ Uiagalelei, a young man with a tremendous arm and self-confidence to match.

How Uiagalelei, at 6’4”, 260-pounds, comes out of the gate will be important, as Clemson travels to Atlanta to play Georgia in what used to be a good rivalry game (just missing a contest in 1972, and otherwise playing from 1962-1987). How that game shakes out could help determine the College Football Playoff structure.

Team That Will Surprise

After throwing for 3,337 yards and 29 touchdowns as a redshirt sophomore, Matt Corral is now a more polished quarterback. He needs to reduce the 14 interceptions from last season, and in doing so the Rebels will be a threat to beat anyone on the schedule.

Matt Corrall, Quarterback, Ole Miss

Matt Corrall, Quarterback, Ole Miss

Ole Miss gave Alabama a run for its money until succumbing 63-48 last season. With a little better defense, the Rebels could be in position to pull an upset or two (watch out LSU and Texas A&M).

Not Quite Sure They Deserve the Hype

Quarterback/passing game issues at Wisconsin and Oregon should give college football fans and media members pause about ranking them as high as some organizations did. In today’s era, a team must throw the football well. Can the Badgers and Ducks make that happen? Wisconsin needs more playmakers at wide receiver and the Ducks need a quarterback to take a big leap forward with production this fall.

Jack Sanborn, Linebacker, Wisconsin

Jack Sanborn (#57), Linebacker, Wisconsin

While there are several other big-time players on those Wisconsin and Oregon rosters, it’s still important to be able to consistently pass the football. Time for Wisconsin and Oregon to prove what they can do within the passing game to receive a more lofty ranking.

Offense Reloads, But Will the 'D' Reach an Elite Level?

If you want to see a balanced offensive attack, Iowa State would be a great place to start. The Cyclones will execute screens, off tackle runs, and the short passing game to loosen up a defense. Then, it’s a play-action pass from senior Brock Purdy for a strike, or a lead draw to sensational junior running back Breece Hall, now a Heisman Trophy candidate.

On the other side of the football, Iowa State still needs to prove it can run with college football’s elite, and there needs to be proof that the Cyclones possess the depth to last throughout the fall as well.

Final Thoughts

College Football is about to kickoff once again. The polls are a part of the pageantry of the sport, and there are several storylines to follow within the polls. It’s going to be another fun season of college football!

You will find me on Twitter @fbscout_florida and @UCF_FanNation

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