ESPN this week released its top 25 future power rankings for college football (subscription required), projecting the best 25 teams in the nation over the next three seasons (2022, 2023, 2024).
ESPN evaluated the teams based on coaching changes and stability, and recent on-field/recruiting trajectory, while also considering factors such as the transfer portal and name, image and likeness. Essentially, ESPN’s future power rankings are a personnel-based assessment of how current and future players will impact performance for their respective schools.
Last year, Clemson checked in at No. 2 behind Alabama in ESPN’s future top 25 power rankings.
This year, the Tigers dropped a few spots but still rank among the top five teams, checking in at No. 5 behind Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State and Texas A&M, in that order.
ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, who authored the article, gave Clemson a future QB ranking of 17, a future offense ranking of 13 and a future defense ranking of 1.
Here’s some of what Rittenberg wrote about why he has the Tigers ranked at No. 5 in the overall future power rankings:
“I struggled where to slot Clemson after a disappointing 2021 season and heavy transition on coach Dabo Swinney’s staff. The Tigers won 10 games last fall but struggled mightily on offense, finishing 82nd nationally in scoring (26.3 ppg). Longtime playcaller Tony Elliott departed to lead Virginia, and Swinney promoted longtime quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter as his replacement. If Streeter generates improvement with quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei — or true freshman Cade Klubnik, ESPN’s top-ranked dual-threat quarterback and No. 28 overall recruit for 2022 — and gets the offense back on track, Clemson should return to the annual CFP mix. …
“Clemson doesn’t necessarily need to be a top-5 offense to challenge for championships again. The outlook on defense is simply that good, even though longtime coordinator Brent Venables will be missed. The Tigers have maintained their stockpile along the defensive line, and could feature the nation’s best front in 2022 as All-America candidates Bryan Bresee, Tyler Davis and Myles Murphy return, alongside veterans Xavier Thomas, K.J. Henry and Justin Mascoll, and others. A drop-off in 2023 is possible, but Clemson’s track record suggests otherwise.”
Rounding out the top 10 in ESPN’s future power rankings are Notre Dame (No. 6), Oklahoma (No. 7), Michigan (No. 8), Southern Cal (No. 9) and LSU (No. 10).
Miami comes in at No. 11, with NC State (No. 20) being the only other ACC team besides Clemson in the rankings.
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