2021 College Football: Preseason Top-25 Standings, Bowl Screenings, All-Americans and More


The 2021 college football season is set to mark a return to normal on the pitch – although the future of the sport remains in the air.

The rights to the name, image and likeness (NIL) arrive. Talks about expanding college football playoffs ruled the summer. A year after a stop-and-start offseason amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the sport is ready to move forward.

Sporting News is ready for the eighth year of college football‘s playoff era. Will a new school join Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and LSU as CFP champion? Or will the same powers reign in sport again? Which superstar players come to a campus near you? These are the questions we want to answer.

MORE: Sporting News bowl predictions 2021-22

This year’s playoff semi-finals are on December 31 at the Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl. The college football playoff championship game is scheduled for January 10 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

With that, Sporting News will have the top 25 preseason standings, bowl screenings, Heisman contenders, preseason All-Americans and more to prepare you for the start of the 2021 season.

College football rankings: SN’s top 25 pre-season

SN’s top 25 pre-season rankings have been released and they will be updated leading up to August and the regular season. Reigning national champion Alabama is No.1 again. Here’s a look at our top 10 for 2021:

  • 1. Alabama
  • 2. Clemson
  • 3. State of Ohio
  • 4. Oklahoma
  • 5. Georgia
  • 6. Notre-Dame
  • 7. Texas A&M
  • 8. Florida
  • 9. State of Iowa
  • 10. Cincinnati

Who made the rest of SN’s preseason top 25?

Playoff sleepers

Iowa State and Cincinnati are unusual top 10 suspects in SN’s preseason rankings, but both programs are in our top five bets to make the 2021 college football playoff first time. Coach Matt Campbell returns a solid core for the Cyclones, while the Bearcats were in discussion until the pairs were revealed last season. What does Luke Fickell have for an encore?

Here are the other schools on this list.

Ranking of the best quarterbacks for 2020

Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State’s Justin Fields and Alabama’s Mac Jones were some of the best quarterbacks last season and were part of a busy 2021 NFL quarterback class. How will their successors fare? Who’s the best quarterback on our list: Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler or North Carolina’s Sam Howell? Which SEC quarterback could make a Joe Burrow rise?

All of this and more in our top 25 quarterbacks for 2021.

MORE: With 12-team playoffs, college coaches in the hot seat may have a higher survival rate

Bowl projections

Sporting News has bowl projections for all 43 games involving FBS teams this season. From the Fenway Bowl to the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl, there is a lot to be said. We will also have our picks for the college football playoffs and CFP championships.

Tip: It’s more or less the same, but there are a few surprises for New Years 6. We have Carolina in mind (maybe two).

Coaches ranking, 1-130

One of SN’s most debated offseason topics is our annual 1-130 Coach Rankings. SN will release them later this month. Number 1 shouldn’t be the subject of much debate with Alabama coach Nick Saban, but what does the rest of our top 10 look like? How different is yours? Where do you place a coach like Ed Orgeron of LSU, who has a national championship but just finished a 5-5 season? Stay tuned.

MORE: Reggie Bush among rookies on 2022 College Football Hall of Fame ballot

Preseason All-Americans

Sporting News is one of five media outlets used to determine the All-Americans consensus. Alabama had six SN All-America first-team caps last year. Is there anyone left? Who are the key players to watch in 2021? Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams and Iowa State’s Breece Hall are good candidates for this list.

The 40 best players of Sporting News

SN’s 2-2 roster of 40 players has pulled out due to COVID-19. That shouldn’t be the case in 2021, and SN is set to unveil the best players to watch. How will this list compare to our big 2022 NFL Draft tip?


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