College football is a big deal, not just to the fans and alumni of each school but also to those who make a living off of it. It’s become so lucrative that some coaches are now making more than $10 million per season. But with all this money comes pressure: head coaches are under intense scrutiny at every turn and have to perform to keep their jobs constantly. And the stakes get even higher when you consider how difficult it is for them to find another gig if they happen to be fired or choose to retire from coaching altogether. The following five teams will likely be among the best in 2021, according to our expert panel:
The Tigers have had an undefeated season, which many of the other teams on this list will be trying to achieve in 2021. Of course, there’s no guarantee of success after a few years; however, Clemson has been improving year over year and seems poised to continue doing so with their current roster. In fact, they are ranked No. 4 in the preseason by some, so they will likely remain near the top for a while yet.
Alabama Crimson Tide
While Alabama didn’t have an undefeated season as Clemson did (they lost to Auburn and Oklahoma in 2017), the Tide is still likely to be ranked near the top of every preseason poll. Alabama’s recruiting continues to be among the best in the nation, and they have a coach who is very knowledgeable in Nick Saban.
Ohio State Buckeyes
According to ESPN, Ohio State was ranked No. 6 for 2016 but slipped down the board during 2017 with some unexpected losses. However, they still managed to get to the playoffs, and the Buckeyes are expected to be among the top teams in 2021. There will likely be some serious competition for them when it comes to recruiting; however, they are still a “Big 3” program despite having been upset in last year’s playoffs.
Florida also suffered a tough loss during the playoffs last season, but like Ohio State, they will be one of the most highly recruited college football teams in 2020. The Gators have often been at or near the top when it comes time for recruiting, and with their conference (SEC) still very competitive, Florida is likely to remain strong for years to come.
While many people like to think that money is the only thing that matters in college football, there are still those who believe in tradition and winning. The Stanford Cardinal’s program has earned its place on this list because of both. Not only does the team have a long history of success, but they also have an alumni base that is very loyal to the team and its coach. If you’re a collegiate football fan, these are the five teams you should be keeping your eye on in 2021.