College Football News’ Week 6 Big Ten Power Rankings

How does College Football News rank every team in the Big Ten following Week 5 action and heading into Week 6?

Another week has come and gone. The first full slate of Big Ten play saw No. 3 Ohio State rout Rutgers, 49-10, No. 4 Michigan swat away any upset ideas from Iowa in Kinnick, 27-14, and No. 10 Penn State downed Northwestern, 17-7.

Elsewhere, Purdue shocked then-No. 23 Minnesota, 20-10, Maryland kept the Michigan State blues rolling, 27-13, and Nebraska finally picked up a win over Indiana, 35-21. Finally, Wisconsin‘s Paul Chryst got the axe following the Badgers’ embarrassing 34-10 home loss to the Hawkeyes’ next opponent, Illinois.

Now, only Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State still have sparkling marks of perfection, though Maryland, Minnesota, Purdue, and Illinois are all receiving votes in the latest USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll.

Ohio State running back Miyan Williams earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors after rushing for a career-high 189 yards and tied 38- and 48-year old school records with five rushing touchdowns in the Buckeyes’ runaway win in Piscataway, N.J.

Defensively, Purdue’s Cam Allen nabbed Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week recognition following a two-interception performance against Minnesota that helped spearhead the Boilermakers’ upset win in the Twin Cities. It’s the second Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week accolade in his career and the first for Purdue since Jalen Graham was honored on Nov. 1, 2021.

Penn State punter Barney Amor punted five times for 200 yards and had four punts land inside the 20-yard line and three downed inside the 10-yard line. Finally, Nebraska cornerback Malcolm Hartzog returned a blocked punt 30 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter to give Nebraska a 14-7 lead over Indiana to pick up Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors. It represented the Huskers’ first blocked punt return touchdown since 2009 and the Huskers’ first special teams touchdown since 2019.

After all of the Week 5 results, there’s heroes aplenty and jockeying in the rankings. The latest Big Ten Power Rankings courtesy of College Football News look like this.

Iowa Hawkeyes climb to No. 40 in USA TODAY Sports’ 1-131 re-rank after win over Rutgers

Coming off a strong showing against Rutgers, the Iowa Hawkeyes are climbing USA TODAY Sports’ 1-131 re-rank heading into Michigan.

Last Saturday showed us a strong outing from the Iowa Hawkeyes. It may have been the most complete showing from them yet thus far in the season. There was the always outstanding defensive play contributing two touchdowns. The special teams once again performed as one of the best units in the country. More importantly, the offense had a little juice in the run game and downfield passing attack.

That performance showed enough to earn the Hawkeyes a respectable climb in the latest USA TODAY Sports NCAA 1-131 re-rank courtesy of Paul Myerberg. Last week the Hawkeyes were sitting at No. 48 in the rankings.

Their performance on all three phases this week has earned them an eight-spot climb up to the No. 40 team in the re-rank. The Hawkeyes’ upcoming opponent, the Michigan Wolverines, held steady at No. 4 in the rankings.

The performance was classic Iowa. They had turnovers offensively and took well-timed chances, played sound special teams by winning the field position game, and made the opposing offense have to drive long fields. Iowa bet on their defense and it paid off once again with a lights out performance.

The climb for Iowa was modest, but gives them their first step to working their way back towards the top 25. Should Iowa knock off Michigan, or even make the game interesting and hang tough, another climb up the rankings could be in store for the Hawkeyes.

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Jacob’s post-week 1 Big Ten Power Rankings

Our first full slate of games are in the books. Which way are Big Ten teams’ stocks trending and what are the post-week one power rankings?

Week one is in the books, and we have a bit of movement in the rankings. Most of the top teams in the Big Ten took the first week as a chance to gain roster cohesion and iron out the kinks against an inferior opponent. This worked for most, except one team and you better believe they plummeted in the rankings.

It was a great week for the Big Ten, the only two teams losing games were against fellow Big Ten competition. I would argue that two team’s “wins” against FCS opponents though are more akin to losses. Here are the post-week one Big Ten Power Rankings. For a side-by-side comparison, here are last week’s rankings.

College Football Preseason Defensive Back Unit Rankings: CFN Preview 2022

College football unit rankings – the defensive backs. Ranking the top 10 overall, and then ranking each conference’s situations.

College Football News Preview 2022 preseason unit rankings, looking at the top ten defensive back situations and rankings by conference.


The college football secondaries are getting better and better.

In response to all of the high-powered passing games, defenses are putting even more of a premium on the top pass rushers, and they’re getting more and more creative with their defensive backfields.

Now it’s the norm to have a hybrid safety who can be used like an extra linebacker, and as a pass rusher, and as a corner, and …

Versatility is important, and lots and lots and lots of options matter, because the offenses adjusted, too.

Putting more defensive backs on the field is fine, but if there’s one weak link, or if one of part goes down, the improved passers and offensive coordinators have figured out how to take advantage of that better than ever before.

With all of that in mind, here are the defensive back unit rankings with the ten best going into the season along with the rankings in each conference.

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CFN Preview 2022 Preseason College Football Unit Rankings: Defensive Backs

Unit Rankings By Conference: Defensive Backs 
Top 10 | ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
AAC | C-USA | Ind | MAC | M-West | Sun Belt

1. Alabama

The Crimson Tide secondary was already great, and then it brought in corner Eli Ricks from LSU – there’s a shot he’s the first defensive back off the board in the 2023 NFL Draft. Safeties Jordan Battle and Brian Branch will also work at the next level, Kool-Aid McKinstry and Khyree Jackson are terrific corners, and Malachi Moore is sure to be special at one of the safety spots if his back problems are over.

2 Notre Dame

There’s a shot the secondary turns into the team’s biggest strength. Corners Clarence Lewis and Cam Hart can hit, the depth is – for the most part – there for all spots, the safeties are experienced, and on top of all of that, Northwestern transfer Brandon Joseph might be the best safety in college football.

LSU

The transfer portal taketh away, but it also giveth, and giveth some more. Losing star corner Eli Ricks to Alabama hurts, but LSU was able to load up with five excellent transfers – safeties Greg Brooks (Arkansas) and Joe Foucha (Arkansas), and corners Jarrick Bernard-Converse (Oklahoma State), Mekhi Garner (Louisiana), Sevyn Banks (Ohio State), and Quad Wilson (McNeese State) – who should work right away around veteran safety Jay Ward.

Georgia

Like everywhere else on the Georgia defense, a slew of key starts are missing from last year’s national championship group. However, Kelee Ringo – the new legend whose pick six sealed the CFP title – is back at one corner, Christopher Smith is an NFL starting safety, and Tykee Smith is a special free safety if he can get past his injury issues.

5 Penn State

The talent is there, and now the pass rush has to help the cause. Joey Porter might be the best corner in the Big Ten, safety JiAyir Brown is the leading returning tackler, and Kalen King is a strong corner on the other side of Porter. The latest recruiting class is strong enough to push for meaningful time.


2022 CFN Predictions For Every Game 
ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
AAC | C-USA | Ind | MAC | M-West | Sun Belt
CFN 2022 Preseason Ranking of all 131 Teams
CFN 2022 Preview of all 131 Teams


Texas A&M

The Texas A&M defense is loaded with superstar prospects, but it’s really, really young on the front six/seven. That goes for the key backups in the secondary, too, but the starting five is experienced and very, very good. Safeties Demani Richardson and Antonio Johnson are the best of the bunch, but they’re all going to have to hold off the new guys from finding their way in.

Michigan

The Wolverine secondary loses some huge parts from last year’s group, but it has two likely all-stars in corner DJ Turner and safety RJ Moten, and there was enough of a rotation to have new starters ready to step up. The depth is very young, but very talented.

8 Utah

Start with all-star corner Clark Phillips and rock-solid safety Cole Bishop, throw in some good parts around them, and add in former Illinois State star Clayton Isbell at safety and great-looking freshman Sione Vaki, and this will once again be one of the Pac-12’s best defensive backfields.

Iowa

The secondary that took the ball away in bunches should be every bit as dangerous with playmaking corner Riley Moss back from a knee injury. There’s experience across the board for what should be one of the most sound pass defenses in the country.

10 South Carolina

The SEC’s No. 1 pass defense – fine, so that’s partly because everyone ran the ball on the Gamecocks – not only gets back  good veterans – starting with safety RJ Roderick and Nickel Cam Smith – but in comes one of the MAC’s best defensive players over the last few years. Devonni Reed is transferring in from Central Michigan to take over at free safety.

Unit Rankings By Conference: Defensive Backs 
Top 10 | ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
AAC | C-USA | Ind | MAC | M-West | Sun Belt

NEXT: CFN Preview 2022 Preseason College Football Defensive Backs Unit Rankings: ACC

College Football Preseason Offense Unit Rankings: CFN Preview 2022

Top 10 College Football Offenses: Which Os are the most talented going into the 2022 college football season? How good are each attacks in every conference?

College Football News Preview 2022 preseason unit rankings, looking at the top ten offenses along with each ranking within the conferences.  


Defense might win championships, but offense is more fun.

Who has the most talented offenses going into the 2022 college football season?

This isn’t a ranking of who’ll have the top statistical offenses – some high-powered attacks will put up massive yards and big numbers because of scheme and lesser opponents. This is about which offenses return the most experience, talent, depth, and … yeah, scoring and yards matter.

So call this a mix of the teams with the best combination of skill and stars with the expected production. Okay, enough stalling – if you think we whiffed by not having Western Kentucky or Texas Tech in the top ten, you’re probably not wrong.

These ten, though, are about to be among the best and most effective and the highest of levels – at least that’s where the expectations are set.

The top ten offenses of 2022 are …

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CFN Preview 2022 Preseason College Football Unit Rankings: Offenses

Unit Rankings By Conference: Offenses 
Top 10 | ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
AAC | C-USA | Ind | MAC | M-West | Sun Belt

2022 Unit Rankings
QB | RB | WR&TE | OL | DL | LB | DB

1 Ohio State

Fair warning: Ohio State probably won’t have the No. 1 offense in college football again – it averaged 561 yards per game last year – so it might be more about its effectiveness and efficiency than the big numbers. Remember, last year’s O had to keep bombing away because the D wasn’t up to snuff. This year’s defense will be better.

There’s NFL talent all across the starting 11. CJ Stroud might be the nation’s best quarterback, TreVeyon Henderson might be the top running back, Jaxon Smith-Njigba might be the best wide receiver, and they all work around one of the best offensive lines in the country.

2 USC

It’s going to be a massive disappointment if this isn’t one of the most exciting offenses in college football. Getting QB Caleb Williams, RB Travis Dye, and receivers Jordan Addison, Mario Williams, and Brenden Rice from the transfer portal should provide an instant jolt to Lincoln Riley’s attack. As long as the line doesn’t disappoint, look out.

Alabama

The offensive line has to be better, the wide receiver talent isn’t quite where it’s been over the last few years, the running backs are just okay if Georgia Tech transfer Jahmyr Gibbs isn’t great, and … whatever. The O line is full of NFL-caliber blockers, the transfer portal helped the receiving corps, Gibbs could be devastating, and there’s that Bryce Young guy leading it all.

Texas

No pressure, Steve Sarkisian and the Texas coaching staff, but the talent level is more than good enough to win and win big.

There’s no excuse considering QB Quinn Ewers is a superstar prospect – shhhhhh, not everyone is assuming Arch Manning will walk in and take over next year – Xavier Worthy and Wyoming transfer Isaiah Neyor lead a great receiving corps, and Bijan Robinson might just win the Heisman. However, the O line has to be good enough to make it all go.

Utah

It took a few years to pivot a bit to more of a dynamic attack after years of pound, pound, pound, but this group can grind away, too. The offensive line is loaded with talent, the backs are in place, and Cameron Rising turned into a find as he led the way to the Pac-12 title. The one question is at wide receiver – it’s a young corps – but the tight ends are great.


2022 CFN Predictions For Every Game 
ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
AAC | C-USA | Ind | MAC | M-West | Sun Belt
CFN 2022 Preseason Ranking of all 131 Teams
CFN 2022 Preview of all 131 Teams


Tennessee

The Josh Heupel offense all kicked in right away, and now it should go up a few notches after finishing ninth in the nation overall. Hendon Hooker is a terrific quarterback who’s starting to get his due, the receiving corps could be unstoppable if USC transfer Bru McCoy rolls, and the backs are good enough to crank up yards in chunks behind a line with a whole lot of potential all-star talent.

Ole Miss

This is a leap of faith ranking believing the transfer portal will bring the parts to keep the top 2021 SEC offense rolling. It’ll still be fast, it’ll still be explosive, and it’ll still tough to keep in check.

Running backs Zach Evans (TCU) and Ulysses Bentley (SMU) are great, USC transfer Jaxson Dart will push hard for the quarterback gig, and transfers are about to crank up the passing game. Now the O line has to keep defenses out of the backfield.

Wake Forest

The 11th best offense in college football last year – at least in yards – returns loaded. AT Perry is the star of a great wide receiver show, four starters return to a good line, the rotation of backs will be productive again, and in a league full of great quarterbacks, Sam Hartman might be the standout star.

Florida

For all of Florida’s problems last season, it still finished 15th in the nation in total offense. If you’re buying into the hype around QB Anthony Richardson – and you should – and if you think new head coach Billy Napier is about to make the O and ground game roll like he did at Louisiana – and you should – then believe the Gators are about to be in for a big offensive season.

10 Texas Tech

Fine, so stats matter. The offensive coordinator who made the WKU attack that finished second in the nation in total yards was brought in by new head coach Joey McGuire – look out. Zach Kittley will take the Red Raider attack up a few notches once the parts are in place after fall camp.

Texas Tech might not have settled on a starting quarterback quite yet, but that’s because it has three great options. The running backs will be ultra-effective for what they need to do, and the receivers will grow into statistical stars.

Unit Rankings By Conference: Offenses 
Top 10 | ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
AAC | C-USA | Ind | MAC | M-West | Sun Belt

2022 Unit Rankings
QB | RB | WR&TE | OL | DL | LB | DB

 

NEXT: CFN Preview 2022 Preseason College Football Offenses Unit Rankings: ACC

College Football Preseason Defensive Line Unit Rankings: CFN Preview 2022

College football unit rankings – the defensive lines. Ranking the top 10 overall, and then ranking each conference’s situations.

College Football News Preview 2022 preseason unit rankings, looking at the top ten defensive line situations and rankings by conference.


The defensive lines are going to be outstanding this season – there were at least 20 that could’ve made the preseason top 10 unit rankings.

There’s plenty of talent returning to some of last year’s top defenses, the lost parts on some of the powerhouses will quickly be replaced, and there’s more depth than usual – at least among the top defenses – thanks to the transfer portal adding more options.

As always, styles matter. Some programs know how to get into the backfield and hit the quarterback every year no matter who’s on the defensive front, and others know how to get big humans to clog things up with a three-man line.

Get the job done up front, and everything else on the defense will usually fall into place.

Again, this is a great year for the lines, and there are other options that probably should be here, but the top 10 defensive lines on this list are strong.

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CFN Preview 2022 Preseason College Football Unit Rankings: Defensive Lines

Unit Rankings By Conference: Defensive Lines 
Top 10 | ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
AAC | C-USA | Ind | MAC | M-West | Sun Belt

Clemson

It’s almost unfair how good this defensive line is – if everyone is healthy. The tackle combination of Bryan Bresee and Tyler Davis are NFL-good right now, but Bresee hasn’t had any injury luck so far. Xavier Thomas and Myles Murphy are elite all-around ends, and the depth is there after getting plenty of work thanks to all the fill-in time for the injured parts last season.

Georgia

But … but … Georgia lost Travon Walker and Jordan Davis. They’re off to the NFL, but tackle Jalen Carter might end up being the best all-around pro prospect from last year’s line – yeah, potentially even better than the No. 1 overall pick. There’s size among the front three, talent thanks to years of good recruiting classes, and a new wave of freshmen who might be too strong to keep off the field.

Alabama

There aren’t any big-name superstars compared to what Bama brings with its phenomenal linebacking corps, but you know what’s coming. Three giant, NFL-caliber linemen who can all move. Byron Young can get into the backfield, DJ Dale is an elite anchor, and the backups are all more giant. NFL-caliber linemen who can all move.

Wisconsin

There’s nothing flashy about the Badger front three, but the brick wall on the nation’s No. 1 defense of 2021 is once again loaded with tough run stoppers. The linebackers do the heavy lifting when it comes to getting in to the backfield, and the line takes care of everything between the hashmarks – there’s no moving Keeanu Benton on the nose.

LSU

The starting four was already good, and then it got Mekhi Wingo from Missouri to add even more to the interior. BJ Ojulari will be one of the SEC’s top playmakers in the backfield, Ali Gaye is ready to roll on the other side, and Maason Smith has huge upside at one of the tackle spots.


2022 CFN Predictions For Every Game 
ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
AAC | C-USA | Ind | MAC | M-West | Sun Belt
CFN 2022 Preseason Ranking of all 131 Teams
CFN 2022 Preview of all 131 Teams


Oklahoma State

The tackles are experienced upperclassmen – they’ll be fine. The ends, though, will form a special rotation with almost all the parts back from the defense that led the nation in sacks and was second in tackles for loss. Collin Oliver, Brock Martin, and Tyler Lace are a good pass rushing end tandem as is, and now the rotation gets Trace Ford back after suffering a knee injury.

7 Baylor

The Baylor back seven might be going through some reshuffling, but the line is once again going to be a problem for the Big 12. Siaki Ika is one of the nation’s best nose tackles, Gabe Hall is an all-star on the end, and in comes Jaxon Player from Tulsa as a good option in the rotation.

Pitt

It’s Pitt, so you know what’s coming. The D will be among the best in the nation at getting into the backfield – it was second in sacks and fifth in tackles for loss – and it gets back Habakkuk Baldonado to lead the way on the end. Combined with tackle Calijah Kancey, the show goes on.

South Carolina

The pass rush needs to be more consistent throughout the season, and it could stand to be a wee bit better against the run – the team lost in the five games the D allowed 200 rushing yards – but the talent is there to be strong for what should be another statistically-solid defense. Zacch Pickens gets into the backfield from the interior and Jordan Strachan is a good pass rusher who can do even more.

10 Florida State

There’s one giant question when it comes to Florida State’s defensive front living in the top ten – can Albany transfer Jared Verse translate his production to the next level with Jermaine Johnson and Keir Thomas gone? If so, the Noles are set thanks to a great group of tackles that should be a dominant against the run.

Unit Rankings By Conference: Defensive Lines 
Top 10 | ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
AAC | C-USA | Ind | MAC | M-West | Sun Belt

NEXT: CFN Preview 2022 Preseason College Football Defensive Lines Unit Rankings: ACC

College Football Preseason Quarterback Unit Rankings: CFN Preview 2022

College football unit rankings – the quarterbacks. Ranking the top 10 overall, and then going conference by conference.

College Football News Preview 2022 preseason unit rankings, looking at the top ten quarterback situations and rankings by conference.


What teams have the best quarterback situations going into the 2022 college football season?

How do all of the quarterback depth charts rank in each conference – to go along with the top ten overall?

It’s tough to do with quarterbacks because, obviously, the superstar starter is among the most important players in the country, but what about the backups?

Which teams have a good No. 2 option, or a third, or have the right mix to work with? Making this even harder is the transfer portal – it’s impossible to keep a good backup quarterback now.

This isn’t a list of the top players – it’s about that depth chart and the overall unit rankings, to a point.

Quarterback unit rankings are different. The elite of the elite starters raise up the entire ranking, but some teams have a better overall situation because of the good backup to go along with No. 1 guy.

Doing the top ten overall and by conference, here are the 2022 quarterback unit rankings.

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CFN Preview 2022 Preseason College Football Unit Rankings: Quarterbacks

Unit Rankings By Conference: Quarterbacks 
Top 10 | ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
AAC | C-USA | Ind | MAC | M-West | Sun Belt

1 Ohio State

CJ Stroud is coming off a monster season and should be in for an even stronger one – he might be more effective, even if the stats aren’t as great if he doesn’t have to bomb away so much. Kyle McCord was a big-time prospect coming in last year, and true freshman Devin Brown isn’t going to be bad, but the reserves need experience.

2 Alabama

Go ahead and put Alabama No. 1 if you want – you’re not wrong assuming the team with the reigning Heisman winner has the best quarterback unit in the country. Bryce Young is obviously special, but the backups need some work. Five-star recruit Ty Simpson has the skills – but he’s a true freshman – and Jalen Milroe is a potentially dangerous dual-threat option.

LSU

Depth, depth, depth. There isn’t a starter as good as the main men up top here, but Arizona State transfer Jayden Daniels could’ve gone just about anywhere, Myles Brennan has a world of upside if he can stay healthy, Garrett Nussmeier is an interesting option, and Walker Howard was a huge recruit who can do a little of everything.

4 USC

Caleb Williams – this ranking is all about the starter who should continue to shine under Lincoln Riley. It’s a thin room, though, with redshirt freshman Miller Moss the likely backup early on. Former Vanderbilt transfer Mo Hasan has a little experience and was around last year.


2022 CFN Predictions For Every Game 
ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
AAC | C-USA | Ind | MAC | M-West | Sun Belt
CFN 2022 Preseason Ranking of all 131 Teams
CFN 2022 Preview of all 131 Teams


5 Tennessee

Is this the year when Hendon Hooker gets national respect for being among the most consistent and effective passers in the country? All he did was throw for close to 3,000 yards with 31 touchdowns and three picks, and he didn’t even start the season – Joe Milton did. Milton struggled at Michigan and early on with the Vols, but he’s not a bad No. 2.

Texas Tech

Look … out. This is a nod to the depth and options to run the new high-powered offense that’s going to try to be what Western Kentucky was in 2021. Tyler Shough has NFL starter skills, but can the former Oregon transfer stay healthy and put it all together? Donovan Smith was terrific when Shough got hurt, and Behren Morton might eventually be the best of the bunch.

Wake Forest

You could take make this a whole list of ACC teams and not be too terribly far off. However, Wake Forest has the somewhat underappreciated star of the bunch in Sam Hartman, and the team has a reliable backup in Michael Kern to bring in if needed.

Coastal Carolina

Grayson McCall is going into his fourth season as one of the nation’s most efficient and accurate passers – and he can run, too. Backup Bryce Carpenter is going into his fifth year with the program, he knows what he’s doing, and he’s been fantastic when needed.

South Carolina

Just how much do you believe in Spencer Rattler? He was fine for Oklahoma – he just wasn’t Caleb Williams last year. The pro skills and arm are there to open up the South Carolina attack, and backup Luke Doty hit 60% of his passes over the last two years when needed. True freshman Braden Davis is an interest prospect to keep an eye on.

10 NC State

Devin Leary got lost in all the great ACC quarterbacks in 2021, but he had as strong a season as anyone with 35 touchdown passes and five picks with two rushing touchdowns. Ben Finley is in his third year as a backup, and Jack Chambers is a veteran option from Charleston Southern.

Unit Rankings By Conference: Quarterbacks 
Top 10 | ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
AAC | C-USA | Ind | MAC | M-West | Sun Belt

NEXT: CFN Preview 2022 Preseason College Football Quarterback Unit Rankings: ACC

College Football Preseason Linebacker Unit Rankings: CFN Preview 2022

College football unit rankings – the linebackers. Ranking the top 10 overall, and then ranking each conference’s situations.

College Football News Preview 2022 preseason unit rankings, looking at the top ten linebacker situations and rankings by conference.


Ranking linebacking corps has become harder and harder over the years.

Do edge rushers count as defensive end or outside linebackers? How about other hybrid defenders who do a little of everything, and what position are the safeties who act as linebackers, and vice versa?

And, of course, the schemes have changed up and morphed to deal with the high-powered offenses, going to more 4-2-5 alignments with the need for more speed on the field.

Okay, so this actually isn’t that hard to figure out, except when conferences are relatively dead-even after the best ones up top – like the SEC – and this can all change in a hurry depending on transfers, game plans, and …

Here are the top ten linebacker unit rankings along with figuring out conference by conference how they all shape up.

Just be warned – out of all the unit rankings, these are by far the most fluid.

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CFN Preview 2022 Preseason College Football Unit Rankings: Linebackers

Unit Rankings By Conference: Linebackers 
Top 10 | ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
AAC | C-USA | Ind | MAC | M-West | Sun Belt

Alabama

Start with Will Anderson in the edge rusher Jack role, and everything else falls into place. Alabama has the nation’s best pass rusher on the outside, Dallas Turner is a playmaker in the backfield from the strongside, and Henry To’o To’o will be one of the SEC’s best tacklers in the middle.

Depth isn’t always a given with the Tide linebackers – it wasn’t exactly a problem a few years ago when injuries struck and the backups were way young – but the twos are just fine this year.

Oregon

Is everyone healthy? Justin Flowe has as much talent as any linebacker in college football, but he hasn’t had any semblance of a break with injuries. He’s ready to go on the outside, and leading tackler Noah Sewell can do it all in the middle. Throw in pro prospect Mase Fun along with rising star Bradyn Swinson, and the Ducks are loaded.

NC State

The already outstanding linebacking corps got a whole lot better with Isaiah Moore returning from injury to take back his spot in the middle. Drake Thomas is an all-star on the strongside, Payton Wilson is back after leading the team in tackles in 2019 and 2020 – he was hurt last year – and the backups know what they’re doing.

Washington

How talented is the Washington linebacking corps? It lost top tackler Jackson Sirmon to Cal and it’s still among the best in the country thanks to the transfer portal. Former Pitt Panther Cam Bright is an all-around game-wrecker on the inside, former UAB Blazer Kristopher Moll is also an all-around game-wrecker on the inside, and Carson Bruener is a burgeoning star who’ll push for time somewhere. If big-time tackler Edefuan Ulofoshio is back form after getting hurt, the new coaching staff will have to find ways to get everyone on the field.

Iowa

This group can really, really tackle. Jack Campbell is an All-Big Ten hitter who made 143 stops, Seth Benson made 105 tackles on the weakside, and the rest of the corps is loaded with upperclassmen who’ll rotate in if they can ever get Campbell and Benson off the field.


2022 CFN Predictions For Every Game 
ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
AAC | C-USA | Ind | MAC | M-West | Sun Belt
CFN 2022 Preseason Ranking of all 131 Teams
CFN 2022 Preview of all 131 Teams


Georgia

Georgia might be able to replace the talent of Nakobe Dean, Quay Walker, and Channing Tindall, but it’ll be impossible to quickly replace the chemistry of last year’s linebacking corps – maybe. Nolan Smith is right there with those other three with what he can bring, Robert Beal has seen starting time, and Trezman Marshall gets to try replacing Dean. It’s Georgia – there won’t be much of a drop-off, if any.

7 Kentucky

There might not be a whole lot of national star power, but this group is sound. JJ Weaver was the team’s top sacker last year, and he’s back on the outside with leading tackler Jacquez Jones handling the middle. Third-leading tackler DeAndre Square returns on the weakside, and there’s talent backing up all three spots – even if it’s a little green.

Syracuse

The Orange went young last year at linebacker, and the payoff is coming with the stars returning from a strong run D that allowed just 3.5 yards per carry. Mikel Jones, Stefon Thompson, and Marlowe Wax were all underclassmen who ended up being the team’s top three tacklers. This group can get into the backfield, too.

9 Notre Dame

The Irish defense is going to be strong, and the linebackers are going to be the stars – this coaching staff knows how to crank up the production from the position. JD Bertrand led the team in tackles, and now he’s back in the middle. Jack Kiser can do a little of everything on the outside, and Bo Bauer is a good backup as part of the good depth.

10 Cal

This group is big, it can thump, and it just got better by landing Washington transfer Jackson Sirmon for the middle. Femi Oladejo is outstanding against the run, Muelu Iosefa was third on the team in tackles, and Orin Patu is a pass rusher on the edge.

Unit Rankings By Conference: Linebackers 
Top 10 | ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
AAC | C-USA | Ind | MAC | M-West | Sun Belt

NEXT: CFN Preview 2022 Preseason College Football Linebackers Unit Rankings: ACC

College Football Preseason Wide Receiver, Tight End Unit Rankings: CFN Preview 2022

College football unit rankings – the wide receivers and tight ends. Ranking the top 10 overall, and then ranking each conference’s situations.

College Football News Preview 2022 preseason unit rankings, looking at the top ten Wide Receiver, Tight End situations and rankings by conference.


Great quarterbacks make good receivers better, offensive schemes matter, and talent, of course, beats everything else. Teams are doing a better job of figuring out how to make all three of those things happen.

It’s not just about having one great receiver anymore – although, that might be enough depending on the style of play. Teams need lots of options, a good No. 3 target, and having an elite tight end is gold.

You’d think the college game would turn tight end into a glamour position considering all the stars in the NFL cranking up the production several levels, but it’s just not happening quite yet – which is one of the teams on this list is so high.

The wide receiver and tight end unit rankings are about depth charts and options along with the talent, and the ten best on this list are all in for huge seasons.

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CFN Preview 2022 Preseason College Football Unit Rankings: Wide Receivers, Tight Ends

Unit Rankings By Conference: Wide Receivers, Tight Ends 
Top 10 | ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
AAC | C-USA | Ind | MAC | M-West | Sun Belt

USC

Welcome to the transfer portal era. Drake London is off to the NFL, and Bru McCoy left for Tennessee, but the corps might be even more talented getting Mario Williams from Oklahoma, Brenden Rice from Colorado, Terrell Bynum from Washington, and 2021 Biletnikoff Award winner Jordan Addison from Pitt. Those parts go along with three of the top four receivers from last year – Tahj Washington, Gary Bryant, and Kyle Ford – along with tight end Malcolm Epps.

Ohio State

Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave are about to rip up the NFL, and Ohio State still has one of the most dangerous receiving corps in the country. Jaxon Smith-Njigba was the best receiver in last year’s bunch catching 95 passes for 1,606 yards and nine scores, Marvin Harrison Jr. and Julian Fleming are about to rise up and rock with their bigger roles, and Cade Stover is about to be a 20+ catch tight end.

3 Virginia

There might not be any nationally known stars, but this group is about to power up one of the best passing games in college football. Dontayvion Wicks is a devastating home run hitter averaging over 21 yards per catch with nine touchdowns last year, all-around key cog Keytaon Thompson led the team with 77 catches, and Billy Kemp IV is a No. 1-caliber mid-range target who caught 75 passes.

4 Georgia

It’s not an exaggeration to suggest that Georgia might have one of the most promising tight end rooms in the history of college football. Brock Bowers led the team with 56 catches, Arik Gilbert is one of the most talented players in the country who just needs to put it all together, and Darnell Washington is a big pass catcher who can hit. All three are terrific NFL prospects – now the receiving corp has to catch up. Ladd McConkey and Adonai Mitchell are experienced, but losing Jermaine Burton – the team’s best receiver – to Alabama hurts.

5 Texas

The Longhorns were already great at receiver, and then they added Isaiah Neyor from Wyoming, Agiye Hall from Alabama, and Tarique Milton from Iowa State to deepen the corps. Xavier Worthy is an NFL target, leading the team with 62 catches averaging almost 16 yards per catch last season, and No. 2 target Jordan Whittington is back, too.


2022 CFN Predictions For Every Game 
ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
AAC | C-USA | Ind | MAC | M-West | Sun Belt
CFN 2022 Preseason Ranking of all 131 Teams
CFN 2022 Preview of all 131 Teams


Tennessee

The fantastic passing game got even more help with Bru McCoy a big-time talent from USC coming in. Leading receiver Cedric Tillman returns after catching 64 passes for 1,081 yards and 12 scores, Jalen Hyatt will grow into more of a role, and there’s good depth.

North Carolina

Josh Downs has all the tools to be deep in the hunt for the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top wide receiver. He caught 101 passes for 1,335 yards and eight scores last season, but he’s not alone with Antoine Green a big target who averaged over 19 yards per catch. The tight end combination of Kamari Morales and Bryson Nesbit might be the best in the ACC, and the latest recruiting class is full of new options for the receiving corps.

Maryland

The recruiting for the receiving corps has been terrific under head coach Mike Locksley, and now all the building will pay off. Rakim Jarrett led the team with 62 catches, Dontay Demus is an NFL-level deep threat averaging over 18 yards per catch, and there’s more help coming in with Jacob Copeland transferring in from Florida.

Michigan State

It would’ve been nice if big-time deep threat Jalen Nailor was back, but the Spartans caught a break with leading target Jayden Reed returning for another year. He scan stretch the field, Tre Mosley is a dangerous No. 2 target, and getting fantastic tight end Daniel Barker to transfer over from Illinois will be a big boost for the attack.

10 Wake Forest

The high-powered Demon Deacon offense lost 71-catch playmaker Jaquarii Roberson, but they return loaded with three of the top four wide receivers along with tight end Blake Whiteheart. AT Perry is an All-American-caliber No. 1 target, and sophomores Taylor Morin and Ke’Shawn Williams know what they’re doing.

Unit Rankings By Conference: Wide Receivers, Tight Ends 
Top 10 | ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
AAC | C-USA | Ind | MAC | M-West | Sun Belt

NEXT: CFN Preview 2022 Preseason College Football Wide Receivers, Tight Ends Unit Rankings: ACC

College Football Preseason Defense Unit Rankings: CFN Preview 2022

College Football News Preview 2022 preseason unit rankings, looking at the top ten defenses along with each ranking within the conferences. The defenses now get graded on a bit of a curve considering all the amazing things the offenses are doing. Of …

College Football News Preview 2022 preseason unit rankings, looking at the top ten defenses along with each ranking within the conferences.  


The defenses now get graded on a bit of a curve considering all the amazing things the offenses are doing.

Of course there are several statistically great defenses, and even then the stats get a bit funky.

Clemson’s defense was second in the nation last year, but even that doesn’t tell how good it was considering there were injury issues and the offense provided no help.

Wisconsin finished first in the nation in total defense and fourth in scoring D, but – for example – statistically it was hit with the 41 points allowed against Notre Dame, even though 24 of them came from pick-sixes, kickoff returns, and/or turnovers that put the Irish in a scoring position.

Georgia’s offense was great, but it was an interception return for a touchdown in the first game of the season, and the last one that sealed the national title.

There are a whole bunch of strong defenses returning again this season, and these appear to be the ten best for 2022, along with the rankings in each conference.

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CFN Preview 2022 Preseason College Football Unit Rankings: Defenses

Unit Rankings By Conference: Defenses 
Top 10 | ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
AAC | C-USA | Ind | MAC | M-West | Sun Belt

2022 Unit Rankings
QB | RB | WR&TE | OL | DL | LB | DB | Offenses

Alabama

The defense didn’t exactly take the year off, but it was hardly up to the standards of past Alabama brick walls. This one has a starting 11 that should take over games and be the best in America, starting with a deep front three with a good rotation.

The secondary has almost too much talent – helped by bringing in top NFL corner prospect Eli Ricks from LSU – and the linebacking corps around Henry To’o To’o in the middle will be a rock against the run. Oh yeah, and the Tide have the best player in college football in pass rusher extraordinaire Will Anderson on the edge.

2 Clemson

The O might have struggled last year, but the D was phenomenal finishing eighth overall in the country, and that’s with a rash of injury issues. You might have noticed the lack of Clemson players selected in the 2022 NFL Draft. That’s because they’re all coming in 2023, and most are from the defensive front.

The line is the best in college football – if everyone stays healthy – and the back seven has parts ready to fill in with a whole lot of talent replacing the experience. The linebacking corps can really, really move.

Georgia

Poor Georgia. It lost defensive star after star after star – along with defensive coordinator Dan Lanning – and now it has to go through a big rebuild.

Not really.

The Next Man Up can play, too, with Jalen Carter one of the nation’s top tackles and Nolan Smith a dangerous all-around linebacker who should be in for a national breakout season. Even with the lost parts in the secondary, safety Tykee Smith and corners Kelee Ringo and Christopher Smith lead another great group.

Wisconsin

Georgia defense, Georgia defense, Georgia defense … Wisconsin finished 2021 No. 1 in the nation in total D. The scheme and style under coordinator Jim Leonhard will keep on rolling.

The secondary has some work to do – the transfer portal is providing a ton of help – and losing linebackers Leo Chenal and Jack Sanborn hurts, but the corps is going to be great around Nick Herbig and the front three will be among the best in the nation against the run.

NC State

The star power is back from the nation’s 14th best scoring defense, and it starts with a linebacking corps that’s LOADED now that it gets back Isaiah Moore from a knee injury. The secondary is full of All-ACC talent, and the front three has a promising rotation with young parts ready to produce in a rotation.


2022 CFN Predictions For Every Game 
ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
AAC | C-USA | Ind | MAC | M-West | Sun Belt
CFN 2022 Preseason Ranking of all 131 Teams
CFN 2022 Preview of all 131 Teams


Iowa

Can the defense come up with the tons of turnovers like the 2021 version did? The secondary has to replace some parts, but it’s a veteran corps and corner Riley Moss is back from a knee injury. The defensive front has to get into the backfield more, but it’s going to be great against the run, and Jack Campbell and the linebackers should be among the best in the Big Ten.

Oregon

Starting with getting a star defensive coach in Dan Lanning as the new head man, and turn the focus on a linebacking corps that’s full of NFL talent if everyone can stay healthy.

Noah Sewell and Justin Flowe could be the best 1-2 linebacking punch in America, the front four is huge, and the already strong secondary welcomes in corner Christian Gonzalez from Colorado.

Utah

It’s Utah. You know what’s coming – no one’s running with ease against this group. The Utes are full of huge, active defensive linemen who’ll get behind the line, the linebackers will make a ton of big plays – getting Mohamoud Diabate from Florida will help. and corner Clark Phillips heads another terrific secondary.

Notre Dame

New head coach Marcus Freeman knows defense, and so does new defensive coordinator Al Golden. The Fighting Irish secondary might have lost Kyle Hamilton, but getting safety Brandon Joseph from Northwestern is a huge deal. The pass defense will be great, the line is active and should get behind the line on a regular basis, and the linebackers have the potential to be special.

10 Texas A&M

Based on pure talent, Texas A&M has the defensive parts to be dominant. However, that talent is very, very, very young – how fast can the epic recruiting class step up and shine?

The secondary has the veterans to go along with the great freshman gets, and the linebackers have solid parts in Andrew White and Edgerrin Cooper, but everyone will be watching a front four with amazing prospect after amazing prospect looking for time around McKinnley Jackson on the nose.

Unit Rankings By Conference: Defenses 
Top 10 | ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
AAC | C-USA | Ind | MAC | M-West | Sun Belt

2022 Unit Rankings
QB | RB | WR&TE | OL | DL | LB | DB

NEXT: CFN Preview 2022 Preseason College Football Defense Unit Rankings: ACC