June might be the quietest month on college football’s calendar, but it’s about to get a little louder.
The Future Power Rankings series reaches a crescendo with the full-team version. By now, you’ve dutifully studied three-year projections for quarterbacks, offenses and defenses. The team version accounts for the previous Top 25 lists and has many similarities, but also a few differences.
Projecting through the next three seasons, the full-team Future Power Rankings examine offense-defense balance, recruiting performance, and potential coaching changes, dismissals and exciting new hires. Overall program trend (past, present and especially future) is weighed, too.
Here is last year’s list, which hit on some projections (Clemson, Texas) and missed on others (USC, Florida State). It’s time to check out which 25 college football teams can feel best about what’s coming — through the 2021 season.
Future QB ranking: 1
Future offense ranking: 1
Future defense ranking: 4
Scouting the Tigers: There’s a change at the top, as Clemson and Alabama trade places from the 2018 rankings. Clemson has more momentum than any program in college football after winning two of the past three national championships. The Tigers get transcendent quarterback Trevor Lawrence for two more years, along with an always-stocked wide receiver room, running backs like Travis Etienne and Lyn-J Dixon and an improving offensive line. The defense should have a more uncertain outlook after losing an incredible collection of linemen, but it simply doesn’t — a testament to coordinator Brent Venables and his staff. Other than Lawrence, the strongest argument for Clemson at the top is a 2020 recruiting class that already includes three five-star linemen — Myles Murphy, Bryan Bresee and Mitchell Mayes — and a total of 14 ESPN 300 players, including potential Lawrence successor D.J. Uiagalelei at quarterback.
Future QB ranking: 3
Future offense ranking: 4
Future defense ranking: 1
Scouting the Tide: Panic ensues whenever Nick Saban’s program ranks below No. 1, but there’s really no need for concern. Alabama could be the preseason favorite to win the national title in 2019, and, as the only program never to miss the College Football Playoff, surely will contend for championships annually. The defense projects better than any in college football, as an experienced and talented 2019 unit gives way to future groups featuring high-ceiling linemen like D.J. Dale, Antonio Alfano and Chris Braswell, a five-star 2020 prospect headlining a recruiting class that currently ranks behind only Clemson’s. Offensive line and running back will also be areas of strength. The major question here is what happens at quarterback after Tua Tagovailoa departs for the NFL in 2020. Perhaps his younger brother, Taulia, takes command, or it could be veteran reserve Mac Jones. Alabama also will be replacing Biletnikoff Award winner Jerry Jeudy and other standout receivers in 2020. And though Saban looks and sounds like a coach who isn’t approaching retirement, his constantly changing staff of assistants is worth watching.