We are still months away from the beginning of the 2022 college football season. However, every football fan knows that football season never truly ends. Spring practices are now wrapping up, so what better time than now to start looking at who are the top candidates to contend for a spot in the College Football Playoffs this upcoming season.
Of course, between the transfer portal, and unfortunate fall camp injuries, plenty can change between now and September. With that, it’s still fun to speculate. So, without further ado; here is my ‘way too early’ top ten rankings for the 2022 college football season.
The Tigers had a “down” year compared to their usual standards. That being said, there is no shortage of talent in Dabo Swinney’s cupboard. Running back Will Shipley is a dynamic playmaker who will lead the offense in 2022. Quarterback DJ Uiagalelei is at a pivotal point in his career with five-star Cade Klubnik not far behind him, ready to take the starting mantle.
Myles Murphy leads the defensive unit this year for new coordinator Wes Goodwin. Clemson is still recruiting strong, so expect the Tigers to put a formidable group of talent on the field. Make no mistake, Swinney and his crew will be a force in the ACC this season.
The Wolverines had a strong 2021 under Jim Harbaugh. The Maize and Blue topped the Big-10 with a 12-2 record. Michigan will have to answer for some major losses on the defensive side of the ball. However, they look to return about nine starters on offense and are very strong under center with both Cade McNamara, and JJ McCarthy returning.
Michigan has the potential to have one of the best offenses in the country. Harbaugh declining the NFL to return to Ann Arbour is a huge win for the program as well. I expect Michigan to give Ohio State a good run in the Big-10 again this year.
Baylor may be the best program in the Big 12 at this moment. Texas and Oklahoma both have questions as they prepare to enter the SEC soon. Oklahoma State is still strong, however, Baylor looks to have the edge heading into 2022.
The Bears are strong at quarterback with both Gerry Bohanon and Blake Shapen. Baylor will also boast one of the best offensive lines in the country. If the defense continues to play strong this season, Baylor should be top dogs in the Big-12 in 2022.
- Southern California
It’s a new day in Los Angeles as Lincoln Riley looks to turn the Trojans back into a national powerhouse. The former Oklahoma head coach brings his reputation as an offensive mastermind to So-Cal and he didn’t come alone. Riley is bringing an impressive group of talent headlined by quarterback Caleb Williams, wide receiver Mario Williams, and cornerback Mekhi Blackmon.
He also put together a strong recruiting class that includes cornerback Domani Jackson and running back Raleek Brown. There are a lot of exciting new faces to go along with already established players for USC. The team will be young, but you cannot count out a coach of Lincoln Riley’s pedigree.