5 College Football Power Five Rebound Teams For 2022

Which teams in the Power Five conferences should rebound from a mediocre 2021 and make a whole lot of noise?

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
Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews & @PeteFiutak

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College Football Teams That Will Rebound

Texas Longhorns

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.

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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.

Why 2022 Will Be Better: Schedule 
Texas Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule Analysis

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.

NEXT: Washington Huskies

One stat that matters for every NFL team

Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar brings forth one stat that matters for every NFL team coming into the 2022 season.

When you ask NFL coaches, executives, and scouts about analytics, you’ll get all kinds of answers which tend to reveal which teams value them — and which teams are paying lip service, because they don’t really consider advanced metrics, but they don’t want to be pilloried on social media as dinosaurs.

The teams that don’t value analytics, or don’t want you to know that they do, will tend to give more generic answers. Teams that are all in will be more specific.

Whether you believe that analytics can help your player evaluation process or not, the simple fact is that they represent a tool that can be helpful in the right hands. In the wrong hands, it’s just statistical noise.

We’re not sure if my hands are the right ones or not, but in this article, I have endeavored to find one specific metric for each NFL team that reveals a larger strength or weakness each team will either benefit from, or must address, in the 2022 season.

So, get your tape-repaired glasses, dust off your pocket protectors, and let’s nerd out with one stat that matters for every NFL team!

(All advanced metrics courtesy of Sports Info SolutionsPro Football Focus, and Football Outsiders unless otherwise indicated).

2023 NFL Mock draft: How the first round might go after Miami’s forfeited pick

Mock draft alert! Now that the NFL has taken one of the Dolphins’ two first-round picks in 2023, here’s how the first round might look.

While we’re pretty sure that the rest of the NFL isn’t too happy about the Miami Dolphins barfing all over themselves as a franchise with the embarrassment of an unprecedented tampering scandal, there is the matter of the 2023 first-round pick the Dolphins were forced by the league to forfeit as punishment. That was estimated as the 15th overall pick at this time, and that means that a whole lot of teams get a one-pick bump in the 2023 NFL draft.

The Dolphins still have a first-round pick next year courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers in the trade that allowed Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch to move up and select Trey Lance with the third overall pick in 2021. But Miami obviously has much less leverage to move up next year if the idea was to nab one of the star quarterbacks in the 2023 class, should things not work out with Tua Tagovailoa. Right now, that has the Dolphins sitting with the 23rd pick, and by that time, the highest-profile quarterbacks will obviously be out the door.

How might the 2023 NFL draft look with 31 picks instead of 32, and more than half the first round moving up? Here’s one person’s estimate.

CFN Preseason All-Pac-12 Football Team, Top 30 Players: Preview 2022

Who are the best players in the Pac-12 going into the 2022 college football season? They’re highlighted in the CFN 2022 Preseason All-Pac-12 team and top 30 players.

Who are the best players in the Pac-12 going into the 2022 college football season? They’re highlighted in the CFN 2022 Preseason All-Pac-12 team,  and top 30 players.


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Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews 

2022 Preseason CFN Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year

Caleb Williams, QB Soph. USC

It takes something special to standout among this group of Pac-12 quarterbacks, and the possible two best – throw in Washington State’s Cameron Ward, a transfer from Incarnate Word – and Williams have yet to take a snap in the conference.

Williams put on a show over the second half of last year running Lincoln Riley’s offense at Oklahoma, and now he’s joining the fun in Los Angeles with a loaded group around him. Last year he hit 65% of his passes for 1,912 yards and 21 scores with just four picks, and he ran for 442 yards and six scores. Get ready for him to take things to another level.

2022 Preseason CFN Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year

Noah Sewell, LB, Soph. Oregon

The big thumper in the middle of the Oregon linebacking corps made 114 tackles last year with four sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss with five broken up passes, an interception, and with two forced fumbles. Now there’s a chance he does even more with the talent on both sides to take over at times.

If Justin Flowe can finally catch a break from the injuries, he’s one of the Pac-12’s best linebackers, and Mase Funa and Bradyn Swinson are going to be big-time, too. Everything will flow right into the middle for Sewell to clean up.

College Football News 2022 Preseason All-Pac-12 Team: Offense

QB Caleb Williams, Soph. USC

RB Zach Charbonnet, Sr. UCLA

RB Travis Dye, Sr. USC

WR Jordan Addison, Jr. USC

WR Jacob Cowing, Jr. Arizona

TE Brant Kuithe, Jr. Utah

OT Braeden Daniels, Jr. Utah

OG TJ Bass, Sr. Oregon

C Brett Neilon, Sr. USC

OG Sataoa Laumea, Soph. Utah

OT Jaxson Kirkland, Sr. Washington

College Football News 2022 Preseason All-Pac-12 Team: Defense

DE Ron Stone, Sr. Washington State

DT Junior Tafuna, Soph. Utah

DT Tuli Tuipulotu, Jr. USC

DE Zion Tupuola-Fetui, Jr. Washington

LB Justin Flowe, RFr. Oregon

LB Noah Sewell, Soph. Oregon

LB Jackson Sirmon, Jr. Cal

CB Kyu Blu Kelly, Sr. Stanford

S Jaydon Grant, Sr. Oregon State

S Isaiah Lewis, Sr. Colorado

CB Clark Phillips, Soph. Utah

College Football News 2022 Preseason All-Pac-12 Team: Special Teams

PK Dean Janikowski, Jr. Washington State

P Kyle Ostendorp, Jr. Arizona

KR Kazmeir Allen, Sr. UCLA

PR DJ Taylor, Soph. Arizona State

CFN 2022 Team Previews
Arizona
Arizona State | CalColorado | Oregon
Oregon State | StanfordUCLAUSC | Utah | Washington
Washington State | Pac-12 Predictions For Every Game
CFN Preview 2022 | Bowl Projections | Preseason Rankings

College Football News 2022 Preseason Top 30 Pac-12 Players

30. Brett Neilon, C Sr. USC

29. Braeden Daniels, OT Jr. Utah

28. Emory Jones, Sr. Arizona State

27. Daniel Scott, S Sr. Cal

26. Isaiah Lewis, S Sr. Colorado

25. Merlin Robertson, Sr. Arizona State

24. Brant Kuithe, TE Jr. Utah

23. Xazavian Valladay, Sr. Arizona State

22. TJ Bass, OG Sr. Oregon

21. Omar Speights, LB Jr. Oregon State

20. Tavion Thomas, RB Jr. Utah

19. Jaydon Grant, S Sr. Oregon State

18. Jacob Cowing, Jr. Arizona

17. Ron Stone, DE Sr. Washington State

16. Darius Muasau, LB Sr. UCLA

15. Jackson Sirmon, LB Jr. Cal

14. Zion Tupuola-Fetui, EDGE Jr. Washington

13. Travis Dye, RB, Sr. USC

12. Jaxson Kirkland, OT Sr. Washington

11. Zach Charbonnet, RB Sr. UCLA

10. Justin Flowe, LB RFr. Oregon

9. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, QB Sr. UCLA

8. Cameron Rising, QB Jr. Utah

7. Tuli Tuipulotu, DT Jr. USC

6. Kyu Blu Kelly, CB Sr. Stanford

5. Cameron Ward, QB Soph. Washington State

4. Clark Phillips, CB Soph. Utah

3. Noah Sewell, LB Soph. Oregon

2. Jordan Addison, WR Jr. USC

1. Caleb Williams, QB Soph. USC

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CFN 2022 Team Previews
Arizona
Arizona State | CalColorado | Oregon
Oregon State | StanfordUCLAUSC | Utah | Washington
Washington State | Pac-12 Predictions For Every Game
CFN Preview 2022 | Bowl Projections | Preseason Rankings

Pac-12 Preseason Predictions For Every Game: Preview 2022

Pac-12 preseason predictions for every game, predicted order of finish, and lookahead to the 2022 season.

Forget all the monster changes, moves, and speculation about the future for a moment. This year should be a whole lot of fun for a few key reasons.

USC is going to be a blast – there’s going to be as much attention on the football teams, at least for a few months before expansion talk cranks up even more – and the divisions are going bye-bye.

There’s no more Pac-12 North and South with the goal to win the six-team division. Now the conference race comes down to who the top two teams are overall, and it should mean the season comes down to the last day of the regular season.

The schedules play a massive role.

Who misses USC? Who has to play Utah in Salt Lake City? Who has to travel late in the season, and who has to make a longer road trip? It all matters in the 2022 Pac-12 college football predictions for every game.

2022 CFN College Football Preview of Every Team

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Pac-12 Preseason Predictions

Pac-12 Predicted Finish

T1. Oregon*
T1. USC
T1. Utah*
T4. UCLA
T4. Washington
T6. Washington State
T6. Arizona State
8. Oregon State
T9. Cal
T9. Stanford
T11. Arizona
T11. Colorado
*Tie-breaker winners who’ll get to the Pac-12 Championship.

Arizona Wildcats

2022 Preseason Prediction: 3-9
2022 Pac-12 Prediction: 2-7
2021: 1-11, Prediction: 2-10
2020: 0-5, Prediction: 2-10
2019: 4-8, Prediction: 6-6

Sept 3 at San Diego State L
Sept 10 Mississippi State L
Sept 17 North Dakota State
Sept 24 at Cal L
Oct 1 Colorado
Oct 8 Oregon L
Oct 15 at Washington L
Oct 22 OPEN DATE
Oct 29 USC L
Nov 5 at Utah L
Nov 12 at UCLA L
Nov 19 Washington State L
Nov 25 Arizona State
Arizona Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule Analysis

Arizona State Sun Devils

2022 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2022 Pac-12 Prediction: 4-5
2021: 8-5, Prediction: 8-4
2020: 2-2, Prediction: 7-5
2019: 8-5, Prediction: 6-6

Sept 1 Northern Arizona
Sept 10 at Oklahoma State L
Sept 17 Eastern Michigan
Sept 24 Utah L
Oct 1 at USC L
Oct 8 Washington
Oct 15 OPEN DATE
Oct 22 at Stanford
Oct 29 at Colorado L
Nov 5 UCLA
Nov 12 at Washington State L
Nov 19 Oregon State
Nov 25 at Arizona L
ASU Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule Analysis

Cal Golden Bears

2022 Preseason Prediction: 5-7
2022 Pac-12 Prediction: 3-6
2021: 5-7, Prediction: 6-6
2020: 1-3, Prediction: 7-5
2019: 8-5, Prediction: 6-6

Sept 3 UC Davis
Sept 10 UNLV
Sept 17 at Notre Dame L
Sept 24 Arizona
Oct 1 at Washington State L
Oct 8 OPEN DATE
Oct 15 at Colorado L
Oct 22 Washington
Oct 29 Oregon
Nov 5 at USC L
Nov 12 at Oregon State L
Nov 19 Stanford L
Nov 25 UCLA L
Cal Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule Analysis

Colorado Buffaloes

2022 Preseason Prediction: 4-8
2022 Pac-12 Prediction: 2-7
2021: 4-8, Prediction: 4-8
2020: 4-2, Prediction: 5-7
2019: 5-7, Prediction: 5-7

Sept 2 TCU
Sept 10 at Air Force
Sept 17 at Minnesota L
Sept 24 UCLA L
Oct 1 at Arizona L
Oct 8 OPEN DATE
Oct 15 Cal
Oct 22 at Oregon State L
Oct 29 Arizona State
Nov 5 Oregon L
Nov 11 at USC L
Nov 19 at Washington L
Nov 26 Utah L
Colorado Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule Analysis

Oregon Ducks

2022 Preseason Prediction: 9-3
2022 Pac-12 Prediction: 7-2
2021: 10-4, Prediction: 9-3
2020: 4-3, Prediction: 10-2
2019: 12-2, Prediction: 9-3

Sept 3 Georgia (in Atlanta) L
Sept 10 Eastern Washington
Sept 17 BYU
Sept 24 at Washington State
Oct 1 Stanford
Oct 8 at Arizona
Oct 15 OPEN DATE
Oct 22 UCLA
Oct 29 at Cal L
Nov 5 at Colorado
Nov 12 Washington
Nov 19 Utah
Nov 25 at Oregon State L
Oregon Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule Analysis

Oregon State Beavers

2022 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2022 Pac-12 Prediction: 4-5
2021: 7-6, Prediction: 4-8
2020: 2-5, Prediction: 6-6
2019: 5-7, Prediction: 3-9

Sept 3 Boise State
Sept 10 at Fresno State L
Sept 17 Montana State
Sept 24 USC L
Oct 1 at Utah L
Oct 8 at Stanford L
Oct 15 Washington State
Oct 22 Colorado
Oct 29 OPEN DATE
Nov 5 at Washington L
Nov 12 Cal
Nov 19 at Arizona State L
Nov 25 Oregon
Oregon State Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule Analysis

Stanford Cardinal

2022 Preseason Prediction: 5-7
2022 Pac-12 Prediction: 3-6
2021: 3-9, Prediction: 7-5
2020: 4-2, Prediction: 7-5
2019: 4-8, Prediction: 8-4

Sept 3 Colgate
Sept 10 USC L
Sept 17 OPEN DATE
Sept 24 at Washington L
Oct 1 at Oregon L
Oct 8 Oregon State
Oct 15 at Notre Dame L
Oct 22 Arizona State L
Oct 29 at UCLA L
Nov 5 Washington State
Nov 12 at Utah L
Nov 19 at Cal
Nov 25 BYU
Stanford Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule An

UCLA Bruins

2022 Preseason Prediction: 8-4
2022 Pac-12 Prediction: 5-4
2021: 8-4, Prediction: 7–5
2020: 3-4, Prediction: 6-6
2019: 4-8, Prediction: 6-6

Sept 3 Bowling Green
Sept 10 Alabama State
Sept 17 South Alabama
Sept 24 at Colorado
Oct 1 Washington L
Oct 8 Utah L
Oct 15 OPEN DATE
Oct 22 at Oregon L
Oct 29 Stanford
Nov 5 at Arizona State L
Nov 12 Arizona
Nov 19 USC
Nov 25 at Cal
UCLA Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule Analysis

USC Trojans

2022 Preseason Prediction: 10-2
2022 Pac-12 Prediction: 7-2
2021: 4-8, Prediction: 10-2
2020: 5-1, Prediction: 9-3
2019: 8-5, Prediction: 8-4

Sept 3 Rice
Sept 10 at Stanford
Sept 17 Fresno State
Sept 24 at Oregon State
Oct 1 Arizona State
Oct 8 Washington State
Oct 15 at Utah L
Oct 22 OPEN DATE
Oct 29 at Arizona
Nov 5 Cal
Nov 11 Colorado
Nov 19 at UCLA L
Nov 25 Notre Dame
USC Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule Analysis

Utah Utes

2022 Preseason Prediction: 9-3
2022 Pac-12 Prediction: 7-2
2021: 10-4, Prediction: 10-2
2020: 3-2, Prediction: 8-4
2019: 11-3, Prediction: 9-3

Sept 3 at Florida L
Sept 10 Southern Utah
Sept 17 San Diego State
Sept 24 at Arizona State
Oct 1 Oregon State
Oct 8 at UCLA
Oct 15 USC
Oct 22 OPEN DATE
Oct 29 at Washington State L
Nov 5 Arizona
Nov 12 Stanford
Nov 19 at Oregon L
Nov 25 at Colorado
Utah Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule Analysis

Washington Huskies

2022 Preseason Prediction: 8-4
2022 Pac-12 Prediction: 5-4
2021: 4-8, Prediction: 9-3
2020: 3-1, Prediction: 9-3
2019: 8-5, Prediction: 9-3

Sept 3 Kent State
Sept 10 Portland State
Sept 17 Michigan State
Sept 24 Stanford
Oct 1 at UCLA
Oct 8 at Arizona State L
Oct 15 Arizona
Oct 22 at Cal L
Oct 29 OPEN DATE
Nov 5 Oregon State
Nov 12 at Oregon L
Nov 19 Colorado
Nov 26 at Washington State L
Washington Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule Analysis

Washington State Cougars

2022 Preseason Prediction: 7-5
2022 Pac-12 Prediction: 5-4
2021: 7-6, Prediction: 5-7
2020: 1-3, Prediction: 6-6
2019: 6-7, Prediction: 8-4

Sept 3 Idaho
Sept 10 at Wisconsin L
Sept 17 Colorado State
Sept 24 Oregon L
Oct 1 Cal
Oct 8 at USC L
Oct 15 at Oregon State L
Oct 22 OPEN DATE
Oct 29 Utah
Nov 5 at Stanford L
Nov 12 Arizona State
Nov 19 at Arizona
Nov 26 Washington
Washington State Preview | Top 10 PlayersSchedule Analysis

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2022 College Football Schedules: All 131 Teams

Washington Huskies Preview 2022: Season Prediction, Breakdown, Key Games, Players

Washington College Football Preview 2022: Team breakdown, season prediction, keys to the campaign, and what you need to know

Washington Huskies Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the season with what you need to know and keys to the season.


Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews & @PeteFiutak

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Washington Huskies Preview
Head Coach: Kalen DeBoer, 0-0, 1st year at UW
3rd year overall, 12-6, 2021 Preview
2021 Record: Overall: 4-8, Conference: 3-6
Offense, Defense Breakdown | Keys To The Season
Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Washington Top 10 Players | UW Schedule & Analysis

Washington Huskies Preview 2022

Is anything interesting happening with Washington football?

The 4-8 clunker of a 2021 season was a blip. It started back, ended worse, and led to the regime change that brought in new head coach Kalen DeBoer from Fresno State along with a new urgency to get back into the Pac-12 championship mix.

The program is known for being nasty-tough on defense, efficient and consistent on offense, and with bowl games and winning seasons a given after the rough run in the late 2000s.

It’s one of only two Pac-12 programs to make the College Football Playoff – Oregon being the other – it’s a terrific academic institution, it’s in a strong media market, and …

It sure as shoot has the profile of a Big Ten institution.

Or, and it’s the big question going forward, can Washington – and Oregon has to be in this mix, too – be strong enough to carry the Pac-12 as two of the biggest anchor tenants in the mall?

Washington might be one of the biggest-name schools rumored in the expansion mix, but for now, the football team has some work to do.

Again, last year was a blip. There’s plenty of talent around, lots of potential All-Pac-12 parts, help from the transfer portal, key guys coming off of injury, and a schedule that misses both USC and Utah.

DeBoer can – and probably will – flip this around fast. Washington should be a factor again, and on the expansion front …

We’ll see. On the plus side, no matter what’s about to shake out, it’s all positive on and off the field.

Offense, Defense Breakdown | Keys To The Season
Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Washington Top 10 Players | UW Schedule & Analysis

Washington Huskies Preview 2022: Offense/Defense

College Football Expansion Top 10 Candidates From Group of Five Conferences

Top 10 – plus one – Group of Five conference schools that make sense for expansion.

With the Big Ten expanding with USC and UCLA, and the Pac-12 scrambling as we speak to keep what it has and figure out other options, who’s available?

Of course, all the talk is about whether or not Oregon and Washington might be next to go, and if the Big 12 will try to steal programs from somewhere, and if the ACC finally puts a ring on it with Notre Dame, or if the Big Ten gets there first.

How about the schools that might not be the big, giant, massive gets, but would fill a hole and help build up the base of the Pac-12 or Big 12 or, maybe, the ACC?

None of these ten schools have the stuff to be considered for the Big Ten or SEC, but they’re still very, very attractive.

All ten of these schools have something in common – people. Big enrollments, decent-to-huge alumni bases, good-to-fantastic media markets.

Here are the key categories …

Enrollment: At least 20,000. The school has to be big – no SMU.
Alumni Base: Where are the national eyeballs? In a streaming world, this is a big deal.
Media Market: This matters more than anything else.
US News & World Report Latest Ranking: How good is your school? This matters more than you might think.
AAU Member: Are you part of the Association of American Universities? This is a big deal to the Big Ten. To cut to the chase, no one on this list is.
Tier 1 Research: Are you an elite research school with all the stuff that comes with that? This one can be bent a little bit – Notre Dame isn’t, and Nebraska was, but isn’t now.
Stadium Size: Not a dealbreaker, but having a big house is nice.

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College Football Expansion: Top 10 Group of Five Candidates

Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews & @PeteFiutak

[lawrence-related id=548199]

Yeah, it’s supposed to be a top ten list, but there’s one more that has to be on here. Added at the last moment …

11. Temple

Enrollment: 32,343
Alumni Base: 360,000
Media Market: 4
US News & World Report Latest Ranking: 103
AAU Member: No
Tier 1 Research: Yes
Stadium Size: Lincoln Financial Field, 69,676

Pros: MASSIVE market with huge alumni base. Solid school. Better recruiting area than you’d think.
Cons: It’s Temple football. There have been moments, but it’s a city school in a pro town.
Best Power Five Fit: ACC
Bottom Line: Don’t blow this off like you just did. Remember, media markets media markets media markets. Penn State might have a hold on Philadelphia – for the most part – but for the ACC or Big 12, getting a top five media market makes up for all of the other concerns.

2022 CFN Temple Preview

10. Nevada

Enrollment: 20,194
Media Market: 104
US News & World Report Latest Ranking: 227
AAU Member: No
Tier 1 Research: Yes
Stadium Size: Mackay Stadium, 27,000

Pros: Good football history. It’s THE University of Nevada. Tier 1 Research helps.
Cons: Football facilities – the stadium – aren’t great. Smallish market. It’s not Las Vegas.
Best Power Five Fit: Pac-12
Bottom Line: It might work for the Big 12, too. It’s not a needle-mover for the Pac-12, but it’s an easy geographical tie-in with Oregon State, Washington State, Utah, and anyone else from the Mountain West.

2022 CFN Nevada Preview

9. Boise State

Enrollment: 22,113
Alumni Base: 80,000
Media Market: 101
US News & World Report Latest Ranking: 299-391
AAU Member: No
Tier 1 Research: No, Tier 2
Stadium Size: Albertsons Stadium, 36,387

Pros: Great football history. Solid hoops. Not awful media market.
Cons: School size. Lack of national base.
Best Power Five Fit: Pac-12
Bottom Line: For football fans this is an easy fit. Business-wise, this is tough without a whole lot of eyeballs, and with the region already partly taken up already by Washington State and Oregon State.

2022 CFN Boise State Preview

8. UTSA

Enrollment: 34,734
Alumni Base: 126,000
Media Market: 31
US News & World Report Latest Ranking: 299-391
AAU Member: No
Tier 1 Research: Yes
Stadium Size: Alamodome, 64,000

Pros: Rabid fan base. Texas recruiting base. Great media market. Tier 1 research.
Cons: Big stadium, but could use a different look and feel for a college market. Academic ranking.
Best Power Five Fit: Big 12
Bottom Line: It’s a big school that does the almost impossible and expands the footprint somewhere in Texas. Easy tie-in with the Texas Big 12 schools.

2022 CFN UTSA Preview

7. Fresno State

Enrollment: 24,403
Alumni Base: 300,000
Media Market: 55
US News & World Report Latest Ranking: 213
AAU Member: No
Tier 1 Research: No, Tier 2
Stadium Size: Bulldog Stadium, 40,727

Pros: A decent California media market in range of San Francisco and Sacramento. Big enrollment. Great fans. Geographically fits in between a whole slew of options.
Cons: Academic ranking just okay – not Tier 1 or AAU. Yes, it’s a good market, but it’s not so massive. It’s more of a part-of-a-group school than a must-have.
Best Power Five Fit: Pac-12
Bottom Line: The Pac-12 needs to keep its branding as the conference for the West Coast, and that means loading up on California schools. Fresno State would bring energy to football dates with Stanford and Cal – notoriously hot-and-cold fan bases.

2022 CFN Fresno State Preview

6. Memphis

Enrollment: 20,585
Alumni Base: 165,000
Media Market: 51
US News & World Report Latest Ranking: 249
AAU Member: No
Tier 1 Research: Yes
Stadium Size: Liberty Bowl, 58,325

Pros: Decent media market. Tier 1 school. Hotbed area for football. Good hoops.
Cons: Media market isn’t that great. Academic rankings just okay. Decent enrollment but not giant.
Best Power Five Fit: Big 12
Bottom Line: This should soon be an easy call for the Big 12. It fits right in with the city football schools from the AAC like Cincinnati and Houston, and it’s in easy range of Oklahoma and Texas.

2022 CFN Memphis Preview

5. East Carolina

Enrollment: 28,962
Alumni Base: 190,916
Media Market: 102
US News & World Report Latest Ranking: 213
AAU Member: No
Tier 1 Research: No, Tier 2
Stadium Size: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, 51,000

Pros: Interesting TV market that increases the non-ACC footprint. Good stadium size and great fan base. Underrated recruiting base.
Cons: Tier 2. Brand name not there nationally. No real non-ACC geographic fit.
Best Power Five Fit: Big 12
Bottom Line: The ACC already has Duke, North Carolina, NC State, and Wake Forest, It doesn’t needs to get a lot more North Carolina, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea just in case the Big Ten figures out how to get UNC out of its awful Grant of Rights media deal. The Big 12, though, has to think like the Big Ten. Media markets, new eyeballs, new footprint, grow the brand. Do this, and the league extends from Provo to the Atlantic Ocean.

2022 CFN East Carolina Preview

4. Colorado State

Enrollment: 28,962
Alumni Base: 240,000
Media Market: 16 (counts as part of the Denver market)
US News & World Report Latest Ranking: 148
AAU Member: No
Tier 1 Research: Yes
Stadium Size: Canvas Stadium, 41,000

Pros: Denver market relatively untapped by the Big Ten and Big 12. Good fan base. Terrific new stadium. Academic ranking fine. Tier 1.
Cons: Overshadowed by University of Colorado just down the road. Hasn’t made a huge football splash in a while.
Best Power Five Fit: Big 12
Bottom Line: How has this not happened yet? If Colorado somehow gets snagged by the Big Ten, this is an easy grab for the Pac-12, but the Big 12 should be all over the Denver market and easy tie-in to Kansas and Kansas State.

2022 CFN Colorado State Preview

3. UNLV

Enrollment: 28,600
Alumni Base: 135,000
Media Market: 40
US News & World Report Latest Ranking: 249
AAU Member: No
Tier 1 Research: Yes
Stadium Size: Allegiant Stadium, 64,676

Pros: It’s Vegas. There’s a reason why the Raiders wanted to set up shop there. Good media market. Lots of students. Great stadium.
Cons: UNLV football has been AWFUL. Academics just okay – even as a Tier 1 school.
Best Power Five Fit: Pac-12
Bottom Line: This needs to be done yesterday. With the LA schools gone, Las Vegas needs to be the Pac-12’s home base, and that means it needs UNLV as an easy host school to step up the snazz for a league that suddenly needs it.

2022 CFN UNLV Preview

2. San Diego State

Enrollment: 33,778
Alumni Base: 300,000
Media Market: 27
US News & World Report Latest Ranking: 148
AAU Member: No
Tier 1 Research: No, Tier 2
Stadium Size: Snapdragon Stadium, 35,000 (could go up to 55,000 as needed)

Pros: Great media market with no NFL team. Shiny new stadium. Red hot school that just got over 100,000 applications for 2022. Great football program. Great hoops. It’s San Diego.
Cons: Not AAU, and not Tier 1. Yes, there’s a fan base, but it needs to rise up and rock. It’s San Diego – there are other things to do.
Best Power Five Fit: Pac-12
Bottom Line: The Tier 2 designation is a killer, but the Pac-12 can’t screw around right now. It’s the Pac-12 – it MUST have a presence in southern California. At the moment, the closest in-state school to LA is Stanford.

2022 CFN San Diego State Preview

1. USF

Enrollment: 49,591
Alumni Base: 290,000
Media Market: 13
US News & World Report Latest Ranking: 103
AAU Member: No
Tier 1 Research: Yes
Stadium Size: Raymond James Stadium, 65,618

Pros: Tampa media market. MASSIVE student body. Decent academic status. Outstanding recruiting base.
Cons: Atmosphere isn’t there with off-campus stadium. Football team has fallen off. Commuter school tag – fans need a winner to show up.
Best Power Five Fit: Big 12
Bottom Line: It’s INSANE that the Big 12 hasn’t cleaned this up. If you’re going to add UCF, you have to get USF – you own I-4 AND you have the Tampa and Orlando markets. Combine all that with the gigantic enrollments at the two schools, and … the ACC has to give this some thought, too.

2022 CFN USF Preview

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2022 College Football Schedules: All 131 Teams

The 101 best players in the NFL today, Nos. 50-1

Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar and Mark Schofield conclude their player lists with the 50 best players in the NFL today.

Midsummer of every year is when we all make lists in this business. We’re not quite at the point of training camps in full bloom, free agency and the draft has eased off from a newsworthiness angle, and there’s still a need for clickable content. Ergo, we’re all ranking the NFL’s players in all possible ways.

Here’s how we’ve done it at Touchdown Wire over the last few seasons. Doug Farrar and Mark Schofield begin by ranking as many players as possible at as many positions at possible. This year, we ranked players at quarterback, running back, slot receiver, outside receiver, tight end, offensive tackle, offensive guard, center, interior defensive line, edge defender, linebacker, slot defender, outside cornerback, and safety.

We’ll get to long snappers next year, we promise.

The NFL’s top 13 safeties

The NFL’s top 12 slot defenders

The NFL’s top 12 outside cornerbacks

The NFL’s top 11 linebackers

The NFL’s top 11 edge defenders

The NFL’s top 12 interior defensive linemen

The NFL’s top 12 centers

The NFL’s top 11 offensive guards

The NFL’s top 11 offensive tackles

The NFL’s top 12 tight ends

The NFL’s top 11 slot receivers

The NFLs top 16 wide receivers

The NFL’s top 11 running backs

The NFL’s top 12 quarterbacks

What this allows us to do when it’s time to rank the NFL’s best players in a year, regardless of position, is to avoid overloading our list with certain positions. Because we’re limited to 12 quarterbacks (or however many Mark decides to list in a given year), we can’t throw 20 quarterbacks in the 101 at the expense of other positions.

All 12 of Mark’s quarterbacks made the top 101 list, because quarterback is the most important position, but we’re not going to throw Jimmy Garoppolo or Jared Goff in here just because. We also have 12 outside receivers, 11 outside cornerbacks, nine safeties, eight edge rushers, eight interior defensive linemen, seven linebackers, seven offensive guards, seven offensive tackles, seven running backs, six tight ends, three centers, three specific slot defenders, and one specific slot receiver. 

Perhaps that tells you which positions we think are most important in the NFL today, if nothing else. 

The methodology for this list (and all our positional lists) was this: We took what we remembered from the 2021 season and what we accentuated with offseason tape study. Then, we pored over the advanced metrics at Sports Info Solutions, Pro Football Focus, and Football Outsiders. From there, we put together our positional lists based on additional tape study, just to make sure the numbers, and our memories, aligned with what the tape told us over the summer.

Sometimes, it did, Other times, not so much. 

There are also all kinds of new players on this Top 101 list that weren’t here last year – a massive influx of young players who are seeing the light come on. Occasionally, that happens in a player’s rookie season. More often, it’s a multi-year process for a player to reach the elite at the highest possible level of football. Either way, it bodes well for the future.

As for the guy up top… well, we’ve seen him quite a bit before.

To avoid your phone blowing up when you’re trying to read this, we’ve split the Top 101 into two parts: From yesterday, our list of the players we ranked from 101 to 51, all their important metrics, and the most compelling tape examples we could find to prove their excellence. 

And now, without further ado, here are Touchdown Wire’s 50 best players in the NFL today. 

(All advanced metrics courtesy of Sports Info SolutionsPro Football Focus, and Football Outsiders unless otherwise indicated).

The 101 best players in the NFL today, Nos. 101-51

Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar and Mark Schofield list the 101 best players in the NFL today.

Midsummer of every year is when we all make lists in this business. We’re not quite at the point of training camps in full bloom, free agency and the draft has eased off from a newsworthiness angle, and there’s still a need for clickable content. Ergo, we’re all ranking the NFL’s players in all possible ways.

Here’s how we’ve done it at Touchdown Wire over the last few seasons. Doug Farrar and Mark Schofield begin by ranking as many players as possible at as many positions at possible. This year, we ranked players at quarterback, running back, slot receiver, outside receiver, tight end, offensive tackle, offensive guard, center, interior defensive line, edge defender, linebacker, slot defender, outside cornerback, and safety.

We’ll get to long snappers next year, we promise.

The NFL’s top 13 safeties

The NFL’s top 12 slot defenders

The NFL’s top 12 outside cornerbacks

The NFL’s top 11 linebackers

The NFL’s top 11 edge defenders

The NFL’s top 12 interior defensive linemen

The NFL’s top 12 centers

The NFL’s top 11 offensive guards

The NFL’s top 11 offensive tackles

The NFL’s top 12 tight ends

The NFL’s top 11 slot receivers

The NFLs top 16 wide receivers

The NFL’s top 11 running backs

The NFL’s top 12 quarterbacks

What this allows us to do when it’s time to rank the NFL’s best players in a year, regardless of position, is to avoid overloading our list with certain positions. Because we’re limited to 12 quarterbacks (or however many Mark decides to list in a given year), we can’t throw 20 quarterbacks in the 101 at the expense of other positions.

All 12 of Mark’s quarterbacks made the top 101 list, because quarterback is the most important position, but we’re not going to throw Jimmy Garoppolo or Jared Goff in here just because. We also have 12 outside receivers, 11 outside cornerbacks, nine safeties, eight edge rushers, eight interior defensive linemen, seven linebackers, seven offensive guards, seven offensive tackles, seven running backs, six tight ends, three centers, three specific slot defenders, and one specific slot receiver. 

Perhaps that tells you which positions we think are most important in the NFL today, if nothing else. 

The methodology for this list (and all our positional lists) was this: We took what we remembered from the 2021 season and what we accentuated with offseason tape study. Then, we pored over the advanced metrics at Sports Info Solutions, Pro Football Focus, and Football Outsiders. From there, we put together our positional lists based on additional tape study, just to make sure the numbers, and our memories, aligned with what the tape told us over the summer.

Sometimes, it did, Other times, not so much. 

There are also all kinds of new players on this Top 101 list that weren’t here last year – a massive influx of young players who are seeing the light come on. Occasionally, that happens in a player’s rookie season. More often, it’s a multi-year process for a player to reach the elite at the highest possible level of football. Either way, it bodes well for the future.

As for the guy up top… well, we’ve seen him quite a bit before. But to avoid your phone blowing up when you’re trying to read this, we’ve split the Top 101 into two parts: Here are the players we ranked from 101 to 51, all their important metrics, and the most compelling tape examples we could find to prove their excellence. We’ll put up our top 50 players tomorrow.

So here, without further ado and in two parts, are Touchdown Wire’s 101 best players in the NFL today. 

(All advanced metrics courtesy of Sports Info SolutionsPro Football Focus, and Football Outsiders unless otherwise indicated).

The NFL’s top 16 wide receivers

Touchdown Wire’s Mark Schofield continues our position lists with the NFL’s 16 best wide receivers.

As we wind down our positional rankings here at Touchdown Wire, we reach one of the toughest positions to rank: Outside wide receiver. Even by expanding the field to 16 players, you will find some talented players on the outside looking in.

And trying to stack those 16 players within the list itself? Darn near impossible. You could make a top-5 case — or higher — for everyone on this list, whether looking at traits, or production, or a combination thereof.

Yes, this is my subtle plea to not scream at me too much on Twitter when this drops.

Still, there ain’t no use in complaining when you’ve got a job to do, as a wise man once said.

Here are the top 16 outside receivers in the NFL today. Here are all of our position rankings to date, leading up to our list of the NFL’s 101 best players.

The NFL’s top 13 safeties

The NFL’s top 12 slot defenders

The NFL’s top 12 outside cornerbacks

The NFL’s top 11 linebackers

The NFL’s top 11 edge defenders

The NFL’s top 12 interior defensive linemen

The NFL’s top 12 centers

The NFL’s top 11 offensive guards

The NFL’s top 12 offensive tackles

The NFL’s top 12 tight ends

The NFL’s top 11 slot receivers