Which teams in the Power Five conferences should bounce back big after a disappointing 2022? Here are five teams that should rebound.
You just knew 2021 would bounce back to normal – and it did, at least until the bowl season.
2020 was such an insane outlier of a year in every possible way thanks to the imbalanced schedules, teams that had to tap out, and with the transfer portal starting to take off.
Into the void stepped Iowa State and Indiana as they got a whole lot of preseason love and affection, and then … pffffffffft. The air quickly went out of the balloon for them and several other programs.
On the flip side of that were the teams that fizzled in 2020 but went back to their normal selves, and in some cases, were better.
For the most part, last year’s 5 Teams That Will Rebound was close to the pin.
Louisville? Not so much in a 6-7 season, but Tennessee (compared to the expectations and the 3-7 2020, boom), Penn State (smaller bang), Wisconsin (medium boom), and Michigan (an earth-shattering, illudium Q-36 explosive space modulator producing ka-BOOOM)? Yeah, they all improved.
Here are five teams that should rebound from a relatively down 2021. The list is based on last year’s preseason ranking going from the bottom up, starting with …
CFN Predictions of Every Game
ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
AAC | C-USA | Ind | MAC | M-West | Sun Belt
CFN Preview 2021: All 131 Teams
2022 Bowl Projections | Preseason Rankings 1-131
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College Football Teams That Will Rebound
2021 Preseason Ranking
AP (21), Coaches (19)
Final Record: 5-7
What Went Wrong?
Texas continued its long-standing policy of being a tackling-optional football school.
The offense was good enough – even if it was a tad inconsistent – but the defense finished eighth in the Big 12, Oklahoma QB Caleb Williams took away the run D’s purpose in life, and meaningful third down stops were a rumor.
Things aren’t exactly working out when you’re giving up 57 points at home in a loss to Kansas.
Why 2022 Will Be Better: Returning Talent
Steve Sarkisian’s second year should be a whole lot stronger for one big reason – the offense might be Texas defense-proof.
The Longhorn D will be better. The linebacking corps has experience to go along with a nice transfer portal get in Diamone Tucker-Dorsey from James Madison, the line at least has guys who look the part of big-time talents, and the secondary could be one of the team’s hidden gems.
But it doesn’t matter because the O should go ballistic.
Don’t discount the concept that Ohio State transfer QB Quinn Ewers might be everything Longhorn fans are hoping for Arch Manning – he’s not coming aboard until next year – to be and more.
Getting WR Isaiah Neyor from Wyoming to go along with Xavier Worthy and Jordan Whittington is almost unfair, and RB Bijan Robinson should be in an NFL camp right now.
The schedule really wasn’t the issue last season, and this time around there’s the Week 2 two-piece coming from Alabama. However, the Baylor game is in Austin, the first seven games of the year are in the state of Texas, and having to go to Kansas State and Kansas isn’t that bad.
It’s not like having to go to Georgia and LSU, which the program might have to do in the near future.