Year in year out there are powerhouse college football teams expected to be in the Top 25 college football rankings.
The first that comes to mind is the dominant University of Alabama Sooners, coached by the legendary Nick Saban. With Mac Jones and Devonta Smith moving onto the NFL comes the next group of future superstar players, including John Metchie and Bryce Young. Alabama remains undefeated on the year after surviving a scare from the University of Florida Gators this past week.
The University of Georgia, ranked second in the nation, boasts an elite defense that held the national runner up, the Clemson University Tigers, to a mere three points. They are led by NFL hopeful and USC transfer JT Daniels, who led Georgia to success the past two seasons.
The new riser in the rankings is the University of Oregon Ducks who upset the perennial powerhouse, the Ohio State Buckeyes. Ohio State lost their main facilitator Justin Fields, so Oregon, returning with most of their talent, was able to upset the Buckeyes in Week 2.
Next in the rankings comes the offensive air-raid playstyle of the University of Oklahoma Sooners. Led by the top recruit of the 2018 class, Spencer Rattler, the offense was expected to be a force, with the defense much improved. Three games in, both sides of the ball have had troubles living up to expectations, but have managed three victories nonetheless.
A notable name at No. 5 in the rankings is the University of Iowa who has sent numerous players to the NFL over the years. Specifically their tight ends have been standouts in the NFL such as, TJ Hockenson, George Kittle and Noah Fant. Iowa is hoping current tight end Sam LaPorta, who leads the team in receiving, will continue to dominate for Iowa at the tight end position.
Another surprising school outside of the Power 5 conference schools is the University of Cincinnati Bearcats, who improved to 3-0 with a victory over the Indiana University Hoosiers of the Big Ten Conference. The victories allowed for the Bearcats to rise in the national rankings, as they are now the highest ranked team outside of the Power 5 and are No. 8 in the nation overall. The Bearcats will look to continue their undefeated season after a bye week against No. 12 University of Notre Dame.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are also 3-0 and are looking to make a statement on the road against No. 18 University of Wisconsin Madison. This matchup is one of the most anticipated in all of college football and will play a huge factor in the race towards the playoffs for these national contenders.
Teams that should not be counted out include Texas A&M and Penn State.
Penn State has survived two nailbiters to other ranked schools this season, No. 18 Wisconsin and No. 23 Auburn. Texas A&M will be a great football team as long as their great coach Jimbo Fisher stays at the helm of the college football powerhouse.
A version of this article appeared on p. X of the Sept. 23, 2021 print edition of the Daily Nexus.