ESPN releases way-too-early Top 25 for 2021 season
The 2020 season officially concluded on Monday with the Alabama Crimson Tide’s 52-24 victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, but ESPN, who aired the contest, did not waste any time looking ahead to the 2021 campaign, releasing their way-too-early Top-25 on Tuesday.
We're THAT excited 😆
Our Way-Too-Early top 25 for next year 🙌 pic.twitter.com/CCNZutFA4r
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) January 12, 2021
Five Big Ten Conference programs made the cut, led by Ryan Day’s Buckeyes at No. 5.
Tom Allen’s Indiana Hoosiers checked in at No. 10, Kirk Ferentz’ Iowa Hawkeyes at No. 12, Paul Chryst’s Wisconsin Badgers at No. 17, and James Franklin’s Penn State Nittany Lions at No. 22.
Clemson, who will be entering their 13th season under Dabo Swinney, sits atop the network’s projections, with Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide, Lincoln Riley’s Oklahoma Sooners, and Kirby Smart’s Georgia Bulldogs rounding out the top-four.
The Group of Five schools were well-represented in this forecast, with four programs – Luke Fickell’s Cincinnati Bearcats at No. 11, Billy Napier’s Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns at No. 19, Jamey Chadwell’s Coastal Carolina Chanticleers at No. 23, and Hugh Freeze’s Liberty Flames at No. 24 – making appearances.
Other notables include Matt Campbell’s Iowa State Cyclones at No. 8, Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss Rebels at No. 18, and Steve Sarkisian’s Texas Longhorns at No. 21.