These are turbulent times with more questions than answers, including when college football will resume. The future power rankings, which always appear in the spring, hopefully provide a reminder of normalcy.
After examining quarterbacks, defenses and offenses, this list projects the top 25 teams for the next three seasons. The forecast covers the 2020, 2021 and 2022 seasons, and factors in both current rosters and future recruiting classes, as well as coaching, program trajectory and other categories.
The team rankings obviously contain overlap with earlier versions, particularly at the top, but there’s some variance, too. Coaching success/longevity and potential coaching change is arguably a bigger factor when projecting how teams will fare going forward.
Check out last year’s list, which had the eventual national champ (LSU) at No. 10 and the other three College Football Playoff participants in the top five (No. 1 Clemson, No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 5 Ohio State). I overvalued Texas (No. 7), Washington (No. 8), Michigan (No. 11) and Stanford (No. 15), while not giving enough love to Oregon (No. 14) and Minnesota (not ranked). Then again, these are three-year projections, so a lot will change.
Let’s look ahead to the new team rankings.
Future QB ranking: 1
Future offense ranking: 1
Future defense ranking: 2
Scouting the Tigers: Clemson has supplanted Alabama as the dominant team of the CFP era and leads off these projections for the second consecutive year. Both Alabama and Ohio State are in the conversation, but Clemson’s ability to produce elite-level quarterbacks, reload on defense and dominate in recruiting is virtually unparalleled. The addition of D.J. Uiagalelei as Trevor Lawrence‘s likely successor solidifies the quarterback position. Skill-position depth on offense is never an issue, and the line isn’t a liability.
Defensive coordinator Brent Venables refuses to let his group slip, the biggest reason why Clemson stays at No. 1. Clemson lost a historically great group of defensive linemen from its national title team, and the unit still thrived last fall. A 2020 recruiting class headlined by Bryan Bresee (ESPN’s top-rated tackle and No. 3 overall player) and Myles Murphy (ESPN’s No. 4 end and No. 13 prospect) suggests Clemson’s defense will thrive. The Tigers will enter next season favored to win a national title, and more could be on the way.