Ranking College Football Teams 1-130

Here is my look at the 2021 College Football preseason Rankings. There are not many surprises I don’t think.


  1. Alabama – How can you not? They filled all the holes.
  2. Clemson- D.J. Ulagatelel may be better than Trevor Lawrence.
  3. Oklahoma- Heisman candidate Spencer Rattler is really good.
  4. Georgia- Offense is loaded with top talent.
  5. Ohio State- duo of Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson is impressive.
  6. Texas A&M- the defense is ultra quick; Jimbo can coach.
  7.  Iowa State– 19 returning starters than won Big 12, Could make Final 4.
  8. Oregon-talent loaded especially on defense. possible final 4 team.
  9. Cincinnati- Bearcats return 14 starters and B Desmond Ridder is a Heisman candidate.
  10. North Carolina- Kyren Williams can’t be stopped.
  11. Florida- 3 good running backs are aided by Clemson transfer.Bowman.
  12. Notre Dame- Will need Wisconsin transfer Jack Coan to be huge.
  13. Wisconsin- Defense is the key. No team scored over 20 point against them in 2020.
  14. Miami- all signs point to play and health of D’Eriq King and his arm.
  15. Iowa- The defense is good and coach Ferentz continues to win. QB is a concern.
  16. Oklahoma State- Eight defensive starters are back. Ten offensive starters return. Experience.
  17. Arizona State- Most experienced team Herm Edwards has had in Tempe.
  18. LSU- Both lines return. Myles Brennan handles the QB spot.
  19. Washington- Trent McDuffie is one of the best corners in the country. QB concerns.
  20. USC- Kedon Slovis back for fourth season brings QB experience. Elite receivers.
  21. Penn State- Jaquan Brisker leads the linebackers. This is Stud territory.
  22. Indiana- QB Michael Penix. Jr, is best at his position in Beg Ten. That is a big deal.
  23. Texas- Sark is back! His time at Alabama was huge. Now Casey Thompson leads the O.
  24. Auburn- New coach,Tank Bigsby at QB and experience put Tigers in good spot.
  25. Ole Miss- Lane Kiffin and QB Matt Corral team to lead the Rebels.

Notes on 1-25… The top 4 are set teams 6-12 could be moved around as it get hard to find reasons to like and dislike a team. 18-25 is the same way. 

Ranking College Football



26. Coastal Carolina- High scoring team led by QB Grayson McCall.

27. TCU- QB Max Duggan may make this team a Top 25 worthy.  18 starters return.

28. Michigan- Harbaugh on life support. Just good enough to win games. Nothing elite here.

29. Nevada- Look for QB Carson Strong to lead to MW title.

30. Utah- Baylor transfer QB Charlie Brewer has experience to lead.

31. Liberty- 10-1 last year and QB Malik Willis returns.

32. UCF- Great coach hire in Malzahn teams with QB Dillon Gabriel. Has success all over it.

33. Boise State- new coach Andy Aralos has a team that can win conference.

34. Minnesota- Mohamed Brahim needs the ball on every play to win.

35. Northwestern-The Wildcats have created a winning culture in last few years.

36. Virginia Tech- Look for Justin Fuente to have a successful season leading the team.

36. Louisiana- Much experience returns for another division title.

37. Missouri- Connor Bazelak has a bright future at QB.

38. NC State- Went 8-4 and tons of experience is back.

39. Ball State- Most of team returns from a possible Top 25 team.

40- West Virginia- Coach Neal Brown needs to be over.500 to keep job.

41. Stanford- This is not the old Cardinals;They need a decent QB.

42. Colorado- Very strong ground game will help with improving.

43. UCLA- Dorian Thompson-Richmond is a four year QB and could win conference POY.

44. Kansas State- terrific combo of Deuce Vaughn and Skylar Thompson. Many transfers will help.

45. Kentucky- Chris Rodriquez, Jr. Leading running back gets all the carries . Surprise team.

46. Mississippi State-  It’s all about who wins the QB battle.

47. Wake Forest- It will be a tough season but recruited two possible star defensive players.

48. SMU- A new QB need to run the offense for coach Sonny Dykes.

49. Florida State- Had s putrid 2020 season. Has to show more to move up.

50. Virginia- need more ground game for coach Mendenhall.

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 Notes on above- I likely have Liberty two or three spots too low and the same with Ball State.

Kentucky may be too high. I went with my gut and their rosters.


51. Nebraska- I believe in Scott Frost but must get a bowl game to keep his job.

52. Pitt- When Kenny Pickett decide to return, this made this team viable in 2021.

53. Boston College- Help Wanted!! They have the QB but he needs help.

54, Baylor- The once mighty Bears went 2-7 last year. New QB in town.

55. Purdue- 5-10 in previous two years. This team needs to step it up. May be cellar dweller.

56. Tennessee- Vols have Josh Heupel as coach. He will demand more.

57.  San Jose State- They may make some noise in MW conference.

58. Arkansas- They were a surprise last year under Pittman.

59. Appalachian State- new transfer Chase Brice will help.

60.Cal- QB Chase Garbers needs to start more. They win when he plays.

61. Toledo- Lots of experience returns. They may grab a conference title.

62. Memphis- Battle for QB job. Vital for right fit in order to  win games.

63. BYU- Lost a ton of experience. It’s like starting over.

64, Illinois- Bielema means business when he coaches. Things are slow upward climb.

65. Rutgers- Schiano hopes to improve on 3-6 from previous season.

66. Fresno State made a tough schedule which may knock them out of a bowl

67. Tulsa- Zaven Collins is gone. No woes here as bulk returns.

68. Maryland-decent recruits but can they play in the Big Ten?

69. Marshall- a coaching change may keep the Herd from falling apart.

70. Oregon State- Beavers improving but so is their conference.

71. Texas Tech- Tyler Slough a transfer from Oregon is hoping to change the culture.

72. San Diego State- needs to find a QB to help a team that plays tough.

73. Washington State- Again quarterback battle will decide the fortunes of this team.

74. Louisville- Cardinals were 5-7 lt year. Is this the new norm?

75. South Carolina- after a 2-9 season a coaching change was needed. Will it help?

Notes on above- I likely messed up the Big Ten teams in this group. Both Maryland and Rutgers are probably better than Illinois. 


76. Louisiana Tech- the team had a miscue last year and needs to step it up in the C-USA.

77. Georgia Tech- they got a future QB in Jeff Sims. Future ticking upward.

78. Michigan State- Sad state of affairs. Fallen a ton since 2015.

79. Wyoming- They need to maintain their defensive prowess to win.

80. Duke- two losing seasons in a row. Why can’t they recruit like their basketball does?

81. Arizona- Pac-12 is a tough conference and coach Jedd Fisch has things upward bound.

81. Ohio- even at this ranking this team could win the MAC.

82. Tulane- from the AAC this team could make it five bowl games in a row.

83. Buffalo- chances diminished when coach Leipold left for Jayhawks.

84. UAB- This team could make it four straight division champs.

85. Houston- 7-13 in to years and this team is on life support in 2021.

86. FAU- this team lacks a quality quarterback.

87. UTSA- Give the ball to running back Sincere McCormick for best chance to win.

88. Hawaii- the Rainbows defense is best part of squad.

89. Army- an independent can win games if schedule favors them.

90. Syracuse- plenty needed to get this team out of the conference basement.

91. Miami (Ohio)- most of offense returns could lead to MAC championship.

92. Air Force- Defense solid but the offense needed overhaul.

93. Temple- many transfers makes this team look better.

94. Colorado State- Defense must carry the weak offense.

95. Vanderbilt- Winless last year and a new coach brings hope,

96. Central Michigan- Back in 2019 they won  division title.Working to get back to that.

97.East Carolina- not much progress made to help in 2021.

98. Navy- needs more offensive fire power.

99.Georgia State- lots of close games last year maybe go there way for a Sun Belt conference title.

100. Southern Miss- Will Hall is the new coach.Now they have a leader to follow.

Notes on above. Some of the lesser conferences (not Power 5) have their top teams in this group. When team get to this level, it become difficult to pick. 


these are presented without comment. Either they are very bad teams or possibly they didn’t play in 2020 due to the pandemic. 

Ranking College Football the last 30 teams.

(Middle Tennessee,Arkansas State, Western Kentucky,Western Michigan,Troy, Georgia Southern, New Mexico,Kansas, Kent State, Utah State, Rice, USF, FIU, UNLV, Notth Texas, Eastern Michigan, Charlotte, Texas State, Northern Illinois, UTEP. South Alabama, Old Dominion. Akron, Louisiana-Monroe, Bowling Green, UCONN, UMASS, New Mexico State)

About the Author- I am a lover of ALL sports- big or small- some even obscure. I am a retired High School English teacher/coach that loves to write. and do book reviews of many sports. I want to write a book. Some around here call me “Dad” I am a St.Louis Cardinals fan from birth.Check out my History of Cardinals dot com site Advice: Remember to always have a solid plan!

About Tom Knuppel 14 Articles
I am a lover of ALL sports- big or small- some even obscure. I am a retired High School English teacher/coach that loves to write. and do book reviews of many sports. I want to write a book. Some around here call me “Dad” I am a St. Louis Cardinals fan from birth. Check out my History of Cardinals do com site Advice: Remember to always have a solid plan!