We’ve had the biggest move yet in our preseason college football Top 25.
Because Ohio State has loaded up on players from the transfer portal, the Buckeyes have jumped from ninth to third as we look ahead to the 2024 college football season.
We had already moved down Alabama after Nick Saban announced his retirement and subsequent player transfers. Even with the announcement of Kalen DeBoer as Alabama’s coach, we’ve moved them down for the preseason poll. We adjusted rankings for Washington and Arizona on the news that Jedd Fisch has left Arizona to take over the Huskies program.
With new teams joining the SEC and Big Ten, those conferences could be the bullies on the block next season. Then again, because of that, it might be easier for an ACC team or Big 12 team to work their way up the polls and get into position for a playoff berth.
Here is our college football poll for how we project college football next season based on what we know about these teams right now.
2024 College Football poll: Top 25
- Ohio State
- Ole Miss
- NC State
- Penn State
- Florida State
- Notre Dame
- Oklahoma State
- Georgia Tech
- Southern Cal
SEC, Big Ten dominate the college football poll
Texas is our preseason No. 1. The Longhorns might have lost in this year’s semifinals, but they are loaded for a run at next year’s title. With quarterback Quinn Ewers returning and possibly making a Heisman Trophy push (and adding one more Heisman to the Longhorns’ total), Texas has the offensive firepower to compete in the SEC right off the jump.
The same is true for Oregon, our No. 2. The Ducks will replace star quarterback Bo Nix with Oklahoma transfer Dillon Grabriel, who threw for 3,660 yards and 30 touchdowns.
We round out our top five with Ohio State Georgia and Ole Miss. It’s hard to move Georgia down too far as good as the program has been in recent years. Ole Miss will be loaded.
No surprise here, but we have five SEC teams in our Top 10 and eight in the Top 20. We have three Big Ten teams in our Top 10 and with the addition of Oregon, Washington, USC and UCLA, that conference could be much more competitive next season. We have two ACC teams in our Top 10. This league needs to get stronger.
Utah and Arizona will make an immediate impact on the Big 12, in our opinion, moving to the top of the conference in the first season and pushing for a Top 10 ranking. The Big 12 shouldn’t be as strong as the Pac-12 this past season, especially with the departure of Texas and Oklahoma, so those two improving teams could take over in their first season.
Clemson will be back in a familiar spot of pushing for a national title, bringing up the ACC’s profile. Florida State, despite losing a lot of players after being snubbed for this year’s College Football Playoff, is at a crossroads. With the addition of Oregon State transfer quarterback (and former Clemson starter) DJ Uiagalelei, the Seminoles could use what happened this season as a driving force for next year and be back into a playoff-contending position.
Three college football poll teams that could surprise next season
- Ole Miss: If everything falls just right, Ole Miss could finish in the Top 5 for the first time since 1962. The Rebels have several returning starters, the top transfer portal signing class and a schedule that doesn’t Alabama. The loss of running back Quinshon Judkins could hurt, but the Rebels are getting some transfer RBs who might step in just fine.
- NC State: The Wolfpack has been winning with defense and they look to be strong in that department next season. They have two Top 25 teams on the schedule, Tennessee and Clemson, but both games are early. They should run the table on back half of the slate, so a good start could mean a great finish.
- Arizona: The Wildcats won 10 games this season under coach Jedd Fisch, who has left to take the job at Washington. It was the most wins since Rich Rod’s team went to the Fiesta Bowl in the 2014 season. If new coach Brent Brennan can keep up the momentum, it could make a run at a Big 12 title and a College Football Playoff berth. Hey, no pressure!