College football rankings: ESPN reveals new Top 25 poll

Where things stand as ESPN has revealed its new top 25 college football rankings
Oct 28, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Carson Beck (15) throws the ball during a college football game in the SEC.
Oct 28, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Carson Beck (15) throws the ball during a college football game in the SEC. / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

As the calendar moves into the summer months, college football is putting spring practice in the rear-view mirror and looking ahead to answering key roster and depth chart questions before kickoff. With that reset in mind, it's time to get an updated look at the preseason 2024 college football rankings.

ESPN took on the task of re-ranking the 25 best teams in college football right now, with some notable movement, but still with an expected heavy emphasis on the SEC and Big Ten. Here's where things stand in the latest ESPN football power poll for 2024.

College Football Rankings: ESPN updates Top 25 poll for 2024

25. USC

Alex Grinch is out and D'Anton Lynn is in, hoping he can do to the Trojans' defense what he did to UCLA's last year, and put USC on a far-firmer footing heading into the Big Ten, while Miller Moss takes over the offense from Caleb Williams.

24. Miami

A team to watch in the more wide-open ACC title race this season, with big pressure on Mario Cristobal to produce a winner, and with key transfer acquisitions like quarterback Cameron Ward and running back Damien Martinez, both working behind a quality offensive line.

23. Iowa

Brian Ferentz and his legendarily unproductive offense is a thing of the past, and Tim Lester is in to revamp the Hawkeyes' playbook. Cade McNamara returns at quarterback, but is coming off an injury, while Iowa's superb defense returns important production.

22. Kansas

Watch how the Jayhawks' offensive line can replenish lost pieces, but if that unit can get whipped into shape, then this offense can really move. Jalon Daniels is back under center after injury problems a year ago, and tailback Devin Neal returns with key production back at wide receiver, too.

21. Virginia Tech

It's easy to overlook the Hokies, but third-year coach Brent Pry brings back a ton of experience on both sides of the ball, with value added to the front seven via the transfer portal, and the offense was highly productive late last year.

20. Arizona

Jedd Fisch helped build the Wildcats to a 10-win program last season, and while he's gone to Washington, his key players elected not to follow him. Noah Fifita is back at quarterback, as is wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan, vital components to build around for new coach Brent Brennan as Arizona heads to the expanded, and highly-competitive, Big 12.

19. Oklahoma State

Almost two-dozen starters return to this Cowboys team, maybe none as important as tailback Ollie Gordon, who led college football in rushing a year ago, working behind a strong line, although OSU needs to improve its secondary defenses.

18. Oklahoma

The Sooners enter the SEC with an improved defensive rotation that includes returning starter Danny Stutsman, but there's work to be done on a new-look offensive line, and quarterback Jackson Arnold still lacks for experience looking ahead to a brutal schedule.

17. Kansas State

Will Howard is out, but quarterback Avery Johnson is a quality dual-threat at the position, and the Wildcats' run game is in good shape with DJ Giddens returning to the backfield, aided by Colorado transfer Dylan Edwards.

16. Clemson

Dabo Swinney's team has missed out on the College Football Playoff the last three seasons, in part because his offense has lacked that true, game-breaking wide receiver. Until he finds one, Cade Klubnik won't be able to fully develop in Garrett Riley's offense. Clemson's defense? That remains elite, and should keep this team in the ACC race all year.

15. Tennessee

Nico Iamaleava made a very good first impression at quarterback in the bowl game, and he has a complement of talented receivers and three returning blockers to work behind. But the Vols' secondary is a work in progress that could place undue pressure on an otherwise strong front seven.

14. LSU

Blake Baker is in from Missouri to resurrect LSU's awful 118th ranked defense, but there are still questions all over that unit, in a secondary that struggled at times in the spring, and on a line that lost key contributors. Garrett Nussmeier replaces Jayden Daniels, so far to acclaim, and he's working with talented receivers, as LSU always seems to have on hand.

13. NC State

Dave Doeren scored a potentially game-changing replacement at quarterback by signing veteran transfer Grayson McCall, and he has help in other portal grabs: back Jordan Waters, receivers Noah Rogers and Wesley Grimes, and tight end Justin Joly.

12. Penn State

Drew Allar struggled building a consistent downfield passing game a year ago, and now he has some changeover on the offensive line to adjust to. But he still has star backs Allen and Singleton and Ohio State transfer wide receiver Julian Fleming to help replace outgoing KeAndre Lambert-Smith in the fight for a spot in the expanded playoff.

11. Florida State

The Seminoles lost a ton, but gained a lot in the transfer portal to steady the losses. DJ Uiagalelei steps in at quarterback, as will Malik Benson at wide receiver from Alabama, while Roydell Williams and Lawrance Toafili help replenish the backfield.

10. Michigan

College football's defending national champions return a virtually different program, much less team, from a year ago. Sherrone Moore was UM's easy pick to replace Jim Harbaugh, providing much-needed continuity, and the defense returns five starters, including corner Will Johnson and lineman Mason Graham. But who is the quarterback, and who will protect him?

9. Utah

Eight starters back on an always-physical, well-disciplined defense are hugely important for the Utes in a more-open Big 12 title race, while veteran quarterback Cameron Rising is back from a knee injury, and he has Dorian Singer and tight end Brant Kuithe headlining a very talented skill rotation.

8. Missouri

Eli Drinkwitz faces pressure to maintain the progress he's built that culminated in an 11-win season a year ago. His offensive trio is back: quarterback Brady Cook and wideouts Luther Burden and Theo Wease, but tailback Cody Schrader is out and he lost his very good defensive coordinator, but gained LT Overton and elite freshman Williams Nwaneri on the line.

7. Alabama

The post-Nick Saban era has arrived for the Crimson Tide, and while his replacement, Kalen DeBoer, has won big everywhere he's been, he hasn't been exposed to the SEC yet. We'll see how his 89.6% career win-loss record holds up as time goes on, but he has Jalen Milroe back under center, aided by a strong ground game and what looks like a promising front seven.

6. Ole Miss

The Portal King brought in another strong transfer class, with Henry Parrish stepping in to replace Quinshon Judkins at tailback, with defenders Princely Umanmielen and Walter Nolen beefing up the front seven rotation, and Antwane Wells emerging as a high-quality receiving target for Jaxson Dart.

5. Notre Dame

While the Irish lost key offensive personnel, especially at tackle, it also brought in notable transfers in dual-threat quarterback Riley Leonard and wide receiver Beaux Collins from Clemson. Marcus Freeman is looking at a winnable schedule and a shot to make the expanded playoff.

4. Oregon

Heading into the Big Ten, the Ducks look loaded at the lines of scrimmage, and boast an offense loaded with skill talent, including transfer quarterback Dillon Gabriel and wide receiver Evan Stewart, while Oregon gets tailback Jordan James behind center.

3. Texas

Quinn Ewers returns at quarterback behind a strong and experienced offensive line, and with top-flight targets at wide receiver, including transfers Matthew Golden and Isaiah Bond. But the Longhorns still need to patch up a wobbly secondary heading into their SEC debut with huge marquee games on the schedule, including at Michigan, against Georgia, and their renewed rivalry with Texas A&M.

2. Ohio State

Monster transfer portal gains for the Buckeyes include quarterback Will Howard, two-time SEC rushing champ Quinshon Judkins, and ex-Alabama star safety Caleb Downs, among others. That's including several key defensive starters returning on the edges, lead rusher TreVeyon Henderson, and wide receiver Emeka Egbuka. Ryan Day needs to get back on the winning side against Michigan and make a push for the national title now.

1. Georgia

Kirby Smart gets a tough schedule in the realigned SEC that includes trips to Alabama, Texas, and Ole Miss, and there's an opener against Clemson. Carson Beck returns at quarterback after a highly-productive outing a year ago, and he'll have a strong supporting cast buoyed by transfers like receivers Colbie Young and London Humphreys and tailback Trevor Etienne.

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James Parks

JAMES PARKS

James Parks is the founder and publisher of College Football HQ. He previously covered football for 247Sports and CBS Interactive. College Football HQ joined the Sports Illustrated Fannation Network in 2022.