Preseason rankings for all 131 FBS teams


  Savvy Index    
  b4    
  preseason rankings 2022    
rank   ranking points comment
1 Alabama 539 The nation’s top coach, a magnificent starting quarterback, the best roster in the country, and more national championships in this era than anyone makes Alabama the best bet to finish tops in the country again in 2022. Alabama goes up against Utah State, Texas, Arkansas, and Texas A&M — all before 10/10 so the schedule is front-loaded. If the Tide gets through those, an undefeated regular season is likely.
2 Georgia 535 Kirby Smart won the national champtionship last year and has enough talent to do it again this season. He has quarterback Stetson Bennet back to the run the show and his roster is among the strongest in the nation. The bigges question is whether or not the Bulldog defense can repeat it’s stellar 10.2 ppg scoring average now that Dan Lanning has departed for Oregon. Will Muschamp will be charged with that task and he has magnificent credentials and will most likely keep the defense at the top of the SEC. Coach Smart has the quarterack, the roster, and the assistant coaches to win another national championship. But, Savvy is keeping Georgia behind the Crimson Tide because … well … Georgia doesn’t have Nick Saban. When you’re deciphering odds and one history of success is much greater than the other, then it’s common to go with the greater history. The Bulldogs biggest challenge will come against that same Dan Lanning who led the Bulldog defense a year ago because Lanning will bring his Oregon Ducks to Georgia in search of an upset. That isn’t likely and if the Bulldogs gnaw the Ducks as expected, an undefeated regular season is probable because the UG schedule is comparatively weak.
3 Ohio St. 530 Ohio State returns starting quarterback C. J. Stroud and a national championship-caliber roster and most analysts are placing Ohio State in the top three of their preseason rankings. Our Savvy system doesn’t think so. Yes, OSU returns its amazing quarterback C.J. Stroud. And yes, Stroud was pehnomial as a freshman as he completed 72% of his passes, threw 44 tourchdowns, averaged an impressive 10 yards per attempt, and threw a ridiculous .013 interception rate (.22 is about average). Yes, the Buckeyes have playoff-level talent and reyVeyon Henderson returning to running back after he posted 1255 yards as a pure freshman and did it at 6.8 yards per carry. But, there were problems on the defensive side last year, enough to drop Ohio State to 59th in the nation. Head coach Ryan Day has addressed that problem by demoting his defensive coordinator and hiring Jim Knowles to run the show. However, when we pushed Knowles through the Savvy Index analytics, it became apparent that despite 33 years as a defensive-minded college coach, Knowles has never coordinated a defense for any elite teams and he has never had to defend one of the ten hardest schedules in college football. Over all, OSU’s defense has been eroding since Day became head coach and it doesn’t appear that trend will reverse in 2022. This will be an exciting team offensively but frustrating for fans on the defensive side.
4 Michigan 529 Cade McNamara carried the offense last year while defense improved but then lost its coordinator. Taking over on the defensive side is Jesse Minter who was safeties coach for the Baltimore Ravens for four years before leaving to take the DC position at Vanderbilt. If the defense peforms as it did in 2021, this group will have a shot at the playoff. But, that’s a big “if” for a team with a coach who has never coordinated an elite college defense..
5 Oklahoma 527 Spectacular hire. Venables was DC at Clemson for nine years and DC at Oklaalhoma for 12 years before that. Hired Jeff Lebby as OC. Nothing spectacular but Lebby does have OC experience at Ol Miss etc. DC is three co-DC’s but will be led by Jeff Roof who has long DC experience although no spectacular results.
6 Utah 527 Coach Kyle Cunningham is in his 16th year at Utah and that puts him as the second-longest tenured coach in the FBS behind Kirk Ferentz of Iowa. As we’ve seen often, long-tenured coaches are the ones most expected to reach the national playoff, something Utah may very well do in 2022. The Utes return star quarterback Cameron Rising and two of their top three running backs plus the addition of Chris Curry from LSU. Receivers are plentiful led by All American candidate Brant Kuithe who led all receivers despite being a tight end. If there is a concern for Utah it is along the offensive front where graduation has shredded a line that opened holes for the second best ypc rush attack in America as well as the top five for protecting Cameron Rising. A moderate schedule tells me that if Utah can get past the Oregon Ducks in Eugene the week before Thanksgiving, this will be an undefeated team.
7 Oklahoma St. 525 Coach Mike Gundy has been building the Oklahoma State slowly but consisently. Nevertheless, no one predicted OSU would win 12 games and finish in the top 10. Although the Cowboy roster is still nowhere near as talented as other ranked teams, OSU welcomes the return of starting quarterback Spencer Sanders but it also loses 1200-yard rusher Jalen Warren who carried the ball more than all other Cowboy running backs put together. Oklahoma State was fifth in the nation for giving up the fewest yards per play (4.7) and plenty of talent returns to think OSU can do it again. Oklahoma State plays Texas at home but must travel to Oklahoma and Baylor. Last year, OSU beat Baylor at home but lost a rematch on the raod. Over all, schedule calculations point to 10 wins.
8 Clemson 524 Clemson lost a lot of coaching talent in the off-season but returns championship talent. This group finished second in the nation for ppg defense so if the offense can click, a playoff spot is likely. The Tigers also have mediocre schedule that will make winniing probably but rising in the rankings less likely. That makes a November 5th showdown at Notre Dame crucial for Clemson if the Tigers hope to make the playoff in 2022.
9 Iowa 524 Savvy is projecting quarterback issues at Iowa this season. Outside of that, Iowa has the longest tenured FBS coach in America (since 1999) and perhaps the best talent. If the quarterback situation improves, Iowa may have enough to topple Ohio State on October 22nd. Iowa has only a moderately difficult schedule so there will be plenty of reasons to think this will get to 10 wins again in 2022.
10 BYU 524 Coach Kilani Sitake is becoming a legend in Provo. He has plenty of returning help to produce another spectacular season. Jaren Hall returns at quarterback so that will help but there is concern on the defensive side of things after the defensive ppg soared by 50%. However, defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki is quck to point out that the Cougars finished in the top ten for fewest yards allowed per game. BYU has won 21 games in the past two seasons. Getting to double-digits for a third straight season might be difficult with a schedule that includes Baylor, Oregon, Utah State, Notre Dame, and Arkansas.
11 N Carolina St. 522 NCSU has more preseason positive trends on our Savvy system than any team in the country.. It also has Devin Leary returning to qb after he threw 35 touchdown passes and only five interceptions as a freshman last year. There are some questionable depth issues along the defensive front but the schedule is less-than-average opposition and coach Dave Doeren has built a .621 winning percentage and is in his ninth year here so there are plenty of reasons to think this team will hit nine wins again in 2022.
12 Baylor 521 Dave Aranda is every bit as good as the lavish praise Baylor received when it hired him in 2020. He may be soft-spoken, but his results became the Big Bang of the Big 12 as the Bears won the conference in Aranda’s first full season. How far can this program go? Well, it won 12 games which included a win over Ol’ Miss in the Sugar Bowl and the Bears finished in the top ten. But Baylor’s backfield is nearly a complete rebuild after 12-game starting quarterback Gary Bohanon transferred to South Florida and both top running backs graduated. Abram Smith was onoe of those rbs and he amassed over 1600 yards just on the ground last year. Now, the top running back in Waco is one who had a total of just 17 carries last year. The Bears alos lost its top three receivers who had 138 receptions among them. The over all strength-of-roster for Baylor is too low to project this group will repeat as Big 12 champions. However, it’s important to learn to not underestimate the resourcefulness of coach Aranda because he has already proven he knows how to produce winners, almost regardless of his talent level. This is not a playoff program this year, but watch out because Aranda is the coach who can make it happen.
13 Wisconsin 518 Wisconsin returns Graham Mertz at qb. Returning your starting qb is usually a good thing. In Wisconsin’s case, it might not be after he threw more interceptions than touchdowns in 2021 and he’s an anomoly of immobility. Wisconsin has outstanding talent over all and for the third straight year, the Badger defense did not give up more than 17.5 points. This is a stingy group and coach Paul Chryst continues to prove that he is one of the best football leaders in America. The schedule mediocre and that means this program is capable of getting to double-digit wins. However since the scheule is only moderate, gaining ground in the rankings will be tough. Savvy projects 10 wins but not a top ten finish. WIsconsin’s defense led the nation in both rush defense (64.8 ypg) and over all defense (328 ypg) so expect the Badgers to dig in and be the most stubborn group in America once again.
14 San Diego St. 517 SDSU’s defense was 3rd in the nation for stopping the rush amd 5th for intercepting passes. Coach Brady Hoke has a new stadium to go with Virginia Tech’s two-year starting quarterback Braxton Burmeister who is now on his third team after initially signing with Oregon. Although Burmeister is solid, watch for lightning in a bottle from Will Haskell should coach Brady Hoke have the courage to give the sophomore a chance. Haskell is a true dual threat quarterback and, in my estimation, the one with the most untapped potential in America. His athleticism and will to achieve are stellar. He isn’t the best fit for SDSU’s slow offensive system so if he’s not given a chance this season, it is likely he will consider the transfer portal. As expected, SDSU was one of the best defensive teams in America last year
15 Cincinnati 517 UC has been in the top25 for three straight seasons under Fickell and made the CFP in 2021. With Desmond Ridder off to the NFL, we’ll find out if it was Ridder or Fickell who kept the ‘Cats winning. This year’s schedule ranks only 86th for toughness so UC isn’t going to have much of a chance to move up against quality opponents. Arkansas is the best bet to beat a top 25 opponent but the Razorbacks won’t finished in the rankings because they have THE TOUGHEST schedule in America. It seems to me there is only one way for UC to go and that is down. I personally think this group finishes the regular season outside of the top ten and has no chance of getting unless it can get into an elite bowl game and beat an elite opponent.
16 Coastal Car 517 Coastal Carolina has been nationally ranked in each of the past two seasons and is now the only team of its kiind to have one of the ten easiest schedules in America. With such a weak schedule, CC will win a lot but not beat anyone important and therefore not rise to the top ten.
17 UTSA 516 Wow, what a job by coach Jeff Traylor to take this program from 115th ranking in 2019 to 50th in 2020 and 23rd last year. I always figured UTSA had everything it needed to climb to the top 25 once it hired the right head caoch. Clearly, Jeff Traylor is the man for the job. He has his exciting dual-threat quarterback, Frank Harris, returning but top running back Sincere McCormick will have to be replaced after he rushed for over 1500 yards before declaring for the NFL. The Roadrunners has one of the strongest offensive lines in football so the offense should keep clicking . UTSA has the second easiest schedule (behind Coastal Carolina) of any team in the top 30 so fans should expect to this team to surpass 10 wins once again.
18 Kentucky 513 Kentucky finally found a qb (Will Levis) who is a good runner. Now if they can get him to be a good passer, the ‘Cats might get to the top ten. However, Kentucky’s roster is ranked only 32nd best in FBS and the Wildcats had difficulty hanging onto the ball last year. Until those two things are fixed, UK won’t get into the top 10. The schedule is only 71st strongest in the nation which means UK is likely to win nine regular season games but mostly against opponents that won’t bring much esteem.
19 Oregon 513 Former coach Mario Cristobal was a hero when it came to recruiting elite talent but not so much when it came to on-field performance. That is likely to change under new head coach Dan Lanning who arrived in Eugene with a plan and a staff. The changes he has already made are likely to produce as much increase in entertainment as they are effectivness. And . . . There is no understating the significance of quarterback Bo Nix coming to Oregon from Aurbun. Nix is a fantastic NFL prospect and one of the best leaders in the nation. Nix signed with Auburn as a concensus five-star prospect. So guess which team he was up against in his very first college football game? Yup — Oregon. At that time, I considered Nix both a phenom and an anomaly, making him sort of a phenomally. I wrote about Nix before that Oregon game and you can read that here. WIth a new quarterback and lots of new faces at running back and receiver, getting this offense to fire on all cylinders might take a couple of games. Unfortunely, the first game is against national champion Georgia. The good news for Ducksters is that the offensive line is Savvy-ranked as the 19th best in America and one that can battle with anyone. Defensively, the Ducks were a modest 53rd in stopping the run, only 75th in preventing completions, and 104th at getting to opposing quarterbacks. Coach Lanning led a historic Georgia defense last year so expect better results on that side of the ball. The Ducks were 9-1 before November 20th last year and 1-3 thereafter and only 1-3 against ranked opponents so there is plenty for this group to prove. Ten wins would do the trick.
20 Notre Dame 512 Our Savvy system doesn’t give high marks for new head coach Marcus Freeman and that explains the Irish drop in our preseasaon team rankings. Notre Dame is an elite program and it certainly have — and should have — pursued someone with proven head coaching experience. Instead, it elevated Freeman who has NO head coaching experience and just one year as a defensive coordinator and just that one year in a power five program. Red flags went up quickly as Freeman hired Tommy as his offensive coordinator. Rees has never been a coordinator anywhere in the past and has only been a position coach in a meager three years of college experience. Al Golden comes in from a long run in the NFL to run a defense that should be spectacular.
21 UCLA 511 There seems little question that this year’s UCLA team is headed for the top 25. Head coach Chip Kelly has done a fabulous job of building the talent in Westwood. Not only does he return his four-year starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, but he has two talented backups in Ethan Garbers and Chase Griffin. Transfers populate this season’s wide receiver roster after the Bruins lost Kyle Phillips to the NFL and Chase Cota to Oregon. UCLA will once again be one of the 20 best running teams in the nation behind a staunch offensive line and the crafty power of 1100-yard running Zach Charbonnet. Over all, the Bruin defense needs to be stonger to compete with Utah, but this year’s UCLA group should win its first five games and get into the top 20. In all, expect nine wins.
22 Texas A&M 511 Lots of analysts look at the bevy of stars coming in through the transfer portal and thereby eleveate A&M to a top ten team. Not so fast . . . we’re looking at a team that lost its ten-game starting quarterback and now must play one of the 20 hardest schedules in America that includes a revenge showdown with Alabama except, this time, the game will be in Tuscaloosa. Keep in mind that A&M was only 8-4 last year — not exactly a top ten record. And, the Aggies were forced to withdraw from their bowl game because too many players opted out. No — this is not a top ten team and certainly not a national contender.
23 Penn St. 510 Quarterback Sean Clifford signed with Penn State in 2017 and he’s back again this year making us wonder if he will ever actually graduate. However, Clifford isn’t enough by himself to get this program back to its glory years and remove the sting of winning only half of its games in the past two seasons. The offensive line must begin to do its job after it ranked 95th in the nation for yielding sacks and 122nd for opening holes for running backs. This is not a quick fix especially now when PSU’s over all roster strength is Savvy-projected to outside of the top 20.
24 Arkansas 510 A ton of tansfers are going to make Arkansas stronger this year than last but there is a problem: the ‘Backs have the hardest schedule in America with Cincinnati, Texas A&M, Alabama, BYU, LSU, Mississippi, fast-rising and South Carolina on the docket. It seems that most analysts list Arkansas as a top 25 team but it’s hard to see this group getting to nine wins and a national ranking, especially when four of the first five games are against rank-caliber opponents.
25 Houston 510 Coach Dana Holgorsen finally has the program situation that fits him and he is making the most of it. The Cougars finshed in the rankings and won double-digit games for the first time since 2008. He now returns his starting quarterback and his top running back. Defensive improvement was key to Houston’s big season in 2021 and if coordinator Doug Belk can repeat that success, the Cougars will get to 12 wins again and have a position among the 15 highest ranked teams. What keeps this group from the top 10 is a schedule that is too weak to earn enough national esteem.
26 Wake Forest 510 It would be easy to push Wake Forest up to the top 15 based on a spectacular run last year and the return of magnificent qb Sam Hartman. Certainly, many analysts have already done so. However, the Savvy Index has a strident negative line when comparing last year’s easy-peasy schedule with this year’s and it is that difference that is suppressing Wake Forest in our preseason rankings. wake Forest posted 11 wins in 2021 but six of those were against substandard opponents (Old Dominion, Norfolk St., Virginia, Louisville, Syracuse, and Duke). And there’s a pesky problem that WFU only won two of its final five games. If this program can recover its early-season magic from 2021 and sustain it, there will be another bowl game and a place in the final top 25.
27 Miami Fl 509 Mario Cristobal was lured away from Oregon to take over at his alma matter. As expected, he hit the ground running with outstanding coordinator hires (Josh Gattis, Kevin Steele, Charley Strong) and a tremendous jump in recruiting. Expect a jump in success on the field this year but Cristobal’s history stays true, subsequent seasons will show atrophy. Coach C’s on-field game management over the years has been disappointing no matter who his assistants have been. He has top 10 talent and a mediocre schedule and our Index estimates 8.5 wins.
28 Fresno St. 508 Tedford is an ace, but will he last after having to quit because of health issues years before. Still, this is a +4 HC hire, at least for now. OC is Kirby Moore who has been at FSU as position coach for years. He is the answer for OC? Tedford hired Kevin Coyle as DC an this is such a spectacular hire. Coyle has elite experience (LSU) and has been a DC at various stops since 1981. Also has NFL experience. This is the best DC hire this carousel cycle. Tedford is not the long-term answer here but he should look good in 2022 because he faces a very weak schedule
29 Air Force 508 Despite a weak roster and no help from the transfer portal (common for service academy programs), Air Force continues to produce winning teams. With running quarterback Haaziq Daniels returning and two star running backs, coach Troy Calhoun is likely to put up another double-digit winning season. The schedule is certainly favorable since 102 other programs are playing tougher opponents.
30 Minnesota 508 Coach P.J. Fleck was hired in 2017 to make the Gophers perennially bowl eligible. He hasn’t let UM fans down as the Gophers continue to thrive and grow in a very difficult conference. Things should be even better this year since the Gophers don’t have to contend with either Ohio State or Michigan. Tanner Morgan returns for his 15th year as quarterback at UM. Actually — it’s his fifth. It just seems like 15th. Two of UM’s top two running backs are gone but Trey Potts returns after leading Minnesota in number of touches per game. This roster is not strong enough to win the Big 10 but it is strong enough to get to eight wins an another bowl game.
31 Pittsburgh 507 Pitt had its best season in decades last year. Of course, it also had its best quarterback in Kenny Pickett. The question now is: Can coach Pat Narduzzi repeat the magid of 2021 now that Pickett has taken his 42 touchdown passes (just seven interceiptions!) and 4000 yards to the NFL? Savvy trend lines point to a significant drop.
32 Michigan St. 506 MSU had an 11-win season behind the rushing of Kenneth Walker III. But, Walker left for the NFL and all of the other rbs on the roster combined can’t match his 263 carries. Our Savvy system is also projecting that with Walker’s departure, the offensive line will prove to be less than ordinary. The Spartans are facing one of the most difficult schedules in the nation so getting to 11 wins once again is improbable. And then, there’s that nagging 49-point loss to Ohio State just before the regular season ended and a roster that is still only ranked 43rd strongest in FBS to cast shadows over MSU at least for this season. Coach Mel Tucker has proven he can recruit and he’s one of the champions of the transfer portal. Has is offseason work brought in enough difference-makers to help him deal with a schedule that has Ohio State, Wisconsin and MIchigan back-to-back-to-back?
33 Mississippi 505 Mississippi has finished in the Savvy Top 10 for four straight years but will have some trouble getting there in 2022. All-Everything quarterback Matt Corral has moved on to the NFL and current starter Luke Almyer has almost no experience and that which he does have hasn’t look good (54% completions; 5.4% interception rate). He also lacks Corrals running ability (zero yards in 21 attempts) so Miss either needs to change its offense or find a new quarterback. The Rebels inherited former So Miss starter Jack Abraham in March but Abraham also has a high interception and nearly no mobility. Former five-star rb Jerrion Ealy left early for the NFL so rate Many think Ol’ Miss is top 25 and all three of Miss’s top receivers graduated. Head coach Lane Kiffin finally got the defense to work last year but the question is whether or not he can find enough pieces to get the offense to work in 2022.
34 Boise St. 503 Downgraded slightly becaues of drop off in rankinng for first year coach Andy Avalos.
35 SMU 502 No elite or HC experience. Has experienced DC in Scott Symons. OC no OC experience. Amounts to about an “average” hc hire for SMU.
36 App State 502 Despite 10 wins last year, this program is trending the wrong direction in our Savvy program trend lines. Since Shawn Clark took over in 2020, negative trend lines have been developing. Recruiting has been strong and this year’s schedule is woefully weak, so weak that ASU has schedule TWO FCS opponents this season. Why would a program with such a strong history schedule two opponents from a lesser division? That is essentially going to keep ASU out of the rankings and bring considerable questions from players being recruited. It won’t be hard to get to 10 wins but it will be nearly impossible for this program to reach the top 15 this year.
37 USC 501 New coach Lincoln Riley has gotten plenty of hype and Tinsel Town buzz. Now it’s time for him to prove he can take USC to the next level. Savvy projections point to Riley making an impressive impact in his first year. Of course, that should be easy since USC was only 4-8 last year. After his first year, system projections show declining trends. Keep in mind that in neither of his last two years at Oklahoma did he win the Big-12 title. In fact last year, his Sooners finished third. Riley has made impressive coordinator hires although the shine is off of defensive coordinator Alex Grinch after his defenses atrophied in the waning months at Oklahoma. USC will have plenty of weapons with the transfer-in of Oklahoma star quarterback Caleb Williams and others. It’s important to note however that former quarterback Kedon Slovis was quite a star before he opted to transfer to Pitt. Williams offers more durability and mobility but not a measurable upgrade in the passing game. The Trojans will cruise to two early wins and the rabid hype will increase. At that point, USC is likely to be in everyone’s top 25 until three of the next five opponents (Fresno State, Oregon State, and Utah) tell us of they will stay there. It’s reasonable to think they will but less reasonable to think they can knock off Utah.
38 Louisiana 501 This is not going to go well. Desormeaux should have the talent to get to eight wins but will falter after 2022. He has NO HC experience and has only ONE season as co-OC (Louisiana). Obviously a -4 ratting. Hired Tim Leger as co-OC but Leger has little experience. Consider this a zero rating. DC is LaMar Morgan who has been a position coach for 10 years but never a coordinator. After an opening loss to Texas, this outfit won 13 straight games before losing their coach to Florida. Having the sixth-easiest schedule in the nation will help but this coaching staff is likely going to downtrend significantly through the future.
39 Utah St. 498 Next year we’ll find out if Coach A can live without QB B.
40 Tulsa 495 Tulsa has finally found some program consistency and momentum. In fact, the Golden Hurricane has more positiive trend lines in its program than 127 other FBS teams, so Phillip Montgomery has finally figured some things out and gotten the right assistant coaches in place. He has Davis Brinn back at quarterback and a schedule that isn’t too difficult over all. This group should make it to another bowl game leaving just one question: When was the last time you saw a hurricane in Oklahoma?
41 UCF 495 This program has more negative trends than most and John Rhys Plumlee has transferred in but he wasn’t a starter the past two seasons at Ol’ Miss. However, he is much more mobile than Dillon Gabriel who transferred to Oklahoma. UCF also has Auburn’s top receiver from last in Kobe Hudsonand both top UCF running backs return. Recruiting has dropped under coach Gus Malzahn so the roster is not as strong as it has been but the schedule is extraordinarily weak (93rd) for a program that expects to be in the rankings every year.
42 Kansas St. 494 Kansas St. will drop unless it finds a better qb.
43 C Michigan 493 Coach Jim McElwain can coach and he has been magnificent at Central Michigan after being equally magnificent at Colorado State. He was fired from Florida as was his successor and that tells me that something is wrong on the admin side of the Florida program. McElwain won’t be here at CMU for much longer.
44 LSU 493 Head coach Brian Kelly was successful over the long haul at Notre Dame. Can he do it at LSU, the place with a coaching history that has been a revolving door with bizarre twists? Kelly got off to a great start when he hired Mike Denbrock who was not only a big success at Cincinnati but also has more than 30 years on the offensive side of college coaching. Matt House will direct the defense and he has sixteen years in coaching which includes stops in the NFL. LSU played four ranked teams last year and lost to all of them and finished the season 6-7. It’s not likely Kelly can get the Tigers into the rankings. The schedule is tough (17th) but the roster rates as “ very strong” and Myles Brennan returns at quarterback. Savvy rates LSU as an eight-win team that will finish just outside of the final top 25.
45 Florida 493 Billy Napier comes over from Lousiana where his record was 40-12 after 7-7 in his first season. He’s put in the time at elites such as Clemson and Alabama (twice). Solid hire but oHC experience other than UL so limiting this to +3. He hired Ron Sale as OC and Sale has experience as OC at Louisiana plus stops at Georgia and NFL. Figure this is a +2. Sean Spencer is co-DC but has never been a DC although lots of DL position coach experience including in NFL. Patrick Toney is other co-DC and was two-year DC at UL. Having the 16th hardest schedule is going to slow what would otherwise be a year of nice momentum.
46 Texas 492 Most analysts say Texas is a favorite to win the Big 12 and climb high in the national rankings. Savvy says those are premature expectations for a team that won only five games last year and lost to Kansas at home. Keep in mind also that Texas is now breaking in a new quarterback, one whose net experience is NO snaps in a college football game. Savvy does not rank the Longhorn talent anywhere near the elite college programs and the schedule is 15th in the nation for toughness. The second game of the season is at home against Alabama so Longhorn fans will have a chance to view for themselves the difference between a program that wants to be elite and one that already is elite. Texas lost six games in a row last year and that is not something you will find among top 25 teams. The Longhorns also need to learn how to win on the road, something they did only one time all last season. Until this group proves itself, I’m sticking with Savvy in saying this is not the Big 12 champion and probably not a team headed for national ranking.
47 Iowa St. 492 Has Matt Campbell lost the magic?
48 Purdue 491 After three years of decline, analysts figured coach Jeff Brohm might be finished at Purdue. If we dig deeper into his hiring of coordinators and recruiting results, we can see that Purdue was wise to stick with him. He rewarded the admins with a rebound to nine wins last year.
49 Georgia St. 490 GSU’s offensive line is tied for 25th in the nation for rush blcoking (5.1 ypc).
50 Army 489 Once again, Army has scheduled two teams from the FCS. Why?
51 Maryland 487 This program has among the best upward trend lines of all 131 teams. However, it also has one of the 10 hardest schedules which makes getting back to a bowl game an “iffy” proposition in 2022.
52 S Carolina 486 Beamer has this program going strong and will keep climbing in 2022. Offseason work has been magnificent.
53 E Carolina 486 Great job by coach Mike Houston 0 elevating this program eery year.
54 W Kentucky 486 WKU will drop a few spots this season now that Bailey Zappe’s historic season as Hilltopper qb. Jarrett Doege (Bowling Green and Syracuse) has never led anyone to big time results so don’t expect to forget Zappe anytime soon. He certainly has a schedule for success as Savvy rates WKU opponents as second-weakest in America. After an FCS opener, the Hilltoppers have nine opponents in the bottom 30.
55 UAB > > > coach 486  
56 Oregon St. 485 For the first time in a decade, the Oregon State defense held opponents to under 30 points per game and the Beavers posted their first winning season in just as long. The slow and steady progress of this program under coach Jonathan Smith has caused many fans to wonder, “Riley who?” It’s enough for our Index to project Oregon State as this year’s second best program in the PAC-12 North. In addition to winning on the field, Smith has also gained prestige with recruits and that has delivered a roster that Savvy analytics rank in the upper half of the FBS for the first time since 2015. With three returning quarterbacks and two proven running backs, the backfield is in good shape. Plus, fans caught lightning in a bottle at the Spring game when 230 pound freshman Damien Martinez proved he is a threat to go the distance on every touch. The receiving corps looks questionable and the offensive line has plenty of new faces but the Jonathan Smith era has been one of effectively training offensive lines. Expect the Beavers to go to sensational tight end Luke Musgrave twice as often this season. The issue on offense will be how fast OSU can bring the line together. The season starts pretty fast so if the Beaver front end comes together early, the only opponent on the schedule that seems out of reach is Utah. The Beavers have a similar fast-start need on defense with the linebacking corps and that is critical because even with those strong linebackers last year, OSU was less than average against the rush. If the schedule was a little lighter, this would be rated as a nine win team. As things stand now, expect Oregon State to get eight wins.
57 W Virginia 483  
58 Liberty 482 So, guess who the new quarterback is at Liberty? I’m sure you know the name because he’s been around for nearly a decade. How about … Charlie Brewer (Baylor, Utah). With a capable quarterback to replace NFL-bound Malik Willis, a coach with SEC credentials, and a cream puff schedule, Liberty fans can expect another easy trip to a bowl game. * Yawn *
59 Mississippi St. 482 Expect MSU to struggle making it to a bowl game because the SEC crossover schedule is murderous as is the over all schedule which is 8th toughest in the nation.
60 Texas Tech 480 There have been raving previews of new coach Joey McGuire at Texas Tech. However, our Savvy system isn’t nearly as glowing. McGuire has only been in FBS since 2017 and he’s never even reached the level of a coordinator much less a head coach. He got off to a good start when he hired Tim DeRuyter (Oregon) as his defensive coordinator but he follwed that with the odd hiring of Zach Kittley from Western Kenucky. Yes, Kittley had much to do with the legendary success of WKU quarterback Bailey Zappe but Kittley only has one year as a coordinator. A good sign for Joey McGuire is that he and his staff improved the TTU recruiting profile quite a bit so we know this group can recruit. The question is . . . can they coach? That’s a huge question since the TTU schedule is among the toughest 25 in America. This program won seven games last year. I don’t see anything more than 5.5 this year.
61 Memphis 478 Trend lines are all wrong for Memphis. I predict this is Satterfield’s last year as head coach.
62 Tennessee 478 New coach Josh Heupel exceeded Savvy’s expectations last year as he took the Volunteers to a 7-5 regular season record and a bowl game against Purdue. He has plenty to work with this year but the schedule is just as tough as 2021 so improvement might not be seen in terms of wins. Savvy has identified some negative trends in recruiting so that will be a topic worth watching through the end of this year.
63 Auburn 475 This program is a mess since boosters mutinied against their first year head coach Bryan Harsin. Now, Harsin has to get them all back on board and do it without his starting quarterback (Bo Nix transferred to Oregon) and with the third most difficult schedule in the nation (Penn State, LSU, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas A&M, and Alabama). The good news for Harsin is that there may soon be an opening at Boise State.
64 Virginia Tech 474 New coach Brent Pry has plenty of experience as a defensive coordinator but none as an FBS head coach. Hiring Tyler Bowen as his offensive coordinator is not impressive whatsoever since Bowen has never been an offensive coordinator. Pry followed that with the curious hiring of Chris Marve as his defensive coordinator. Like Bowen, Marve has no coordinating experience. This is a power five, legendary program. It has the pedigree to get high-level and experienced coordinators. Offense looks like a problem and not much chance of VaTech climbing above average this season. The saving grace for this group will be its schedule which ranks as “average” for toughness and “easy” when compared to programs that seek national rankings. Pry has significant history in elite programs (Penn St.) so that is reason enough to take a “wait-and-see” position rather than downgrade VaTech immediately based on his odd hiring of coordinators. Savvy says he will take VaTech from 72nd at the end of last season to 64th at the end of this season. We project he will get off to a fast start, receive plenty of plaudits, then lose four in a row and split the rest and finish 6-6.
65 Washington 474 New coach Kalen DeBoer has two seasons of FBS experience although he had a remarkable record in FCS. DeBoer brought both of his coordinators with him from Fresno State where they had success both on the field and in recruiting. It’s a solid coaching triad although early indicators on Savvy analytics show some early negative signs in recruiting. Quarterback Michael Penix has transferred-in from Indiana where he was the starter for the past three seasons. Penix is a fabulous leader but his interception rate was higher than average in each of his three seasons at Indiana. UW has both Dylan Morris and Sam Huard as backups but between them, they threw 15 touchdowns and 16 interceptions last year. The Huskies had a great deal of trouble running the ball in 2021 and must now do without the services of Sean McGrew and Kamari Pleasant. Decent help returns to the offensive line and the transfer-in of New Mexico running back Aaron Dumas (4.84 ypc) should keep the Husky ground attack decent. Expect opponents to run against the UW defense since it was in the bottom quadrant of rush defenses last year while DeBoer and Ward led Fresno State’s defense to number one in the nation for lowest completion percentage by opponents (52.3).
66 N Carolina 473 Sam Howell is gone from the QB position and replacements have very little experience. The schedule is brutal and the defense is qustionable. Wins have been harder to come by each year and we all out here been wond’rin’ if the Mackgic is gone. For all of the problems last year, UNC fans can look forward to another potent running attack as the Tarheels averaged 5.4 yards per rush (8th nationally) and have enough offensive line coming back to think they can do it again. But, it’s the arial attack that is a problem because that same offensive line ranked 127th for pass protection in 2021. Also, starting quarterback Nathan Elliott retired from football to accept a coaching position at Arlamsas State and his backup, Cade Fortin left the program after being pulled in a game against USF. Fortin then transferred to USF but pulled his own transfer and headed for Arkansas instead. So the Tarheels appear to be turning to Jacolby Criswell who has an astomical 25% interception rate (yes, 1/4th of his passes have been picked) but only four attempts. The UNC defense has been steadily declining and that has been much of the problem for head coach Mack Brown. WIth a tougher scheule and essentially no quarterback to go with a decaying defenese, this doesn’t look like a team capable of repeating its eight wins from last year.
67 San Jose St. 473 This may be the most esciting year ever for SJSU football. Cordeiro at qb and a rebuilt stadium. Lots of momentum. Great job by coach Brnnan.
68 Illinois 473 Great first year for coach Bielema but can he keep things going. Arturo Sitkowski had some starts at qb last year and he was instrumental in leading Illiinois over Penn State. He returns to a backfield loaded with running backs led by 1000 yard rusher Chase Brown. Isaiah Williams had 47 receptions as a freshman wide out and he returns also. Bielema has done a great job in building this roster. Despite a revolving door of injuries at the qb position, Illinois more than doubled its wins from 2020 and now is a legitimate candidate for a bowl game in 2022.
69 Washington St. 472 Jake Dickert was elevated to interim head coach during the 2021 season and he produced three wins and four losses. Dickert made a decent hire of offensive coordinator in former Mike Leach (Texas Tech) disciple Eric Morris. Morris went to work quickly. First, he installed the Air Raid offense. Then, he brought in his former quarterback from Incarnate Word, FCS All American Cameron Ward who had entered the transfer portal one day after Morris was hired. Head Coach Dickert hired of Brian Ward (not related to Cameron) to run the defense but after 25 years on college sidelines, Ward’s most elite stint was at Syracuse and that didn’t end well after the Orangemen gave up over 30 ppg. Last year, WSU lost to all four of its ranked opponents. This year, the Cougars face three more (Wisconsin, Oregon, and Utah) plus USC which delivered a humiliating 45-14 home loss so the Cougars have some work to do before it can play with the big boys again.
70 N Illinois 471 Offensive spark helped NIU rebound last season and offensive coordinator Eric Eidsness now has some recruits to fit his system. Defense still gives up more than 33 ppg but NIU has one of the easiest schedules to deal with so expect another bowl game. I considered coach Thomas Hammock an unknown talent when he was hired in 2019. He had no college experience but plenty of position coach experience with the Baltimore Ravens. He has proven himself, especially in recruiting where we rate his recruiting momentum as third best in the entire nation. NIU hs net-positive trend lines in terms of on-field performance and last season was the first time in eight seasons that the Huskies won nine games. And now, he has the 11th-easiest schedule to push the wins even higher.
71 UTEP 470 Dana Dimal has been steadily improving results for UTEP since he took over 2018. He’s done that by steadily building his defense. In fact, NCAA.com ranked UTEP in the top 35 of the nation for total defense. The schedule is weak (113th for toughness) so there is every reason to think this group will increase its seven wins from last season. The two biggest problems in El Paso is offensive coordinator Dave Warners over-commitment to long ball passing which is aggravating the already-present interception problem of honorable mention Sun Belt quarterback Gavin Hardison. The other problem is not as noticeable but may prove to be a dream-killer and that is at tight end. UTEP has just Trent Thompson with proven experience at the FBS level yet the Miners only passed to him nine times all season. Second on the depth chart is transfer Zach Fryar who played in only two games in two years at New Mexico Military Institute. Adding some short-game to the passing attack will be difficult without strong tight ends. The offensive line is one oof the best in America at protecting quarterbacks. Over all, the roster is strong and the schedule is weak so this program should get to eight wins in 2022.
72 Troy 470 Sumrall has been a DC and co-DC at various southeastern schools like Troy, Tulane, Kentucky. He has the roots to recruit, but can he? Giving him +2 based on 17 years of experience. He hired Joe Craddock as OC and Craddock has some nice credentials and quite a bit of OC experience. He also has ties to the area so he should be able to recruit. This looks like a +2 to me. He hired Shiel Wood as DC and Wood had two years as Army DC and also was assistant at Georgia Tech. +2
73 Arizona St. 469 This program is a mess and I wonder if Herm Edwards will make it through the season. I suspect his players are wondering the same thing and that is often a distractor on the field. ASU has parted ways with most of its coaches after allegations of recruiting violations so putting new parts together on both sides of the ball won’t be easy. Neither will the loss of superstar quarterback Jayden Daniels (LSU). Dynamic, dual threat, Incoming transfer Emory Jones from Florida will help after he posted 65% completions and 758 rushing yards. Of course, I must mention he also brings a 3.7% interception rate to an offense already ranked 99th for turnovers. It’s important to also note that Arizona State is 125th in the nation when it comes to committing penalties. This group has a moderate schedule and plenty of winnable home games but it is questionable if Hermie will be in Tempe long enough to enjoy them. Based on system analytics, this is at best a six win team but one with so many unresolved program issues that it could easily spiral to just three wins.
74 Northwestern 469  
75 Nevada 469 Ken Wilson has 25+ years on the defensive side of FBS, mostly at Nevada. Never a HC but has been AHC at Nevada. This is about a zero hire but making it -1 bc of weak, weak coordinator hires. He hired Derek Sage as OC but Sage has ten years of coaching receivers and never made it to any kind of OC or AHC. This has to be -2. Neither coordinator has done anything in FBS . . . not even position coaches so this is also -2.
76 Hawai’i 469 Timmy Chang has no HC experience of any kind and no coordinator experience at the FBS level. He’s only made it to a position (TE) coach in nearly ten years of college coaching. Ian Shoemaker is OC after three years at Eastern Washington. Rating = 0 — can he recruit to Hawai’i and the for 20+ year FBS? Jacob Yoro was DC at Hawai’i for a couple of years but defenses gave up about 30ppg over all so this is a -1.
77 TCU 468 Dykes is solid but not spectacular. 71-63 as a head coach with just one double-digit winning season (2019) which came at SMU before dropping to three losses, then four losses. Average hire at best. Hired Garrett Riley as OC. Riley has 2 years as OC at SMU and no other OC experience. Not a great hire for TCU. Hired Joseph Gillesie from Tulsa. Gillespie only has three years in college football but produced decent (and improving) defenses at Tulsa. Decent hire. +1
78 Missouri 467 Missouri has fallen every season under Eliah Drinkwitz. I expect much more of the same in 2022.
79 Virginia 467 Tony Ellliott is a spectacular hire for Virginia. He has a long history at Clemson (offensive coordinator) and the Savvy system ranks him as one of the five best new hires in FBS. He hired Desmond Kitchings as his offensive coordinator. Kitchings has been a power five coach for more than a decade working primarily with running backs. He spent last season as rb coach for the Atlanta Falcons. His one year as an OC is not impressive, however. Coach Elliott hired John Rudzinski as his defensive coordinator. Rudzinski is a legendary player from Air Force who returned as a defensive coach 11 years ago and spent the last four as defensive coordinator. The Cavaliers return Brennan Armstrong at quarterback after he passed for more than 4400 yards, posted a low 2% intercepton rate, and rushed for nine touchdowns. This program will rise quickly and long-term with Elliott. But, how long will he stay? Elliott needs to recruit a stronger roster but for this year, the scheule is easier than average so he shoudl be able to get the Cavs above .500 for the first time in years.
80 W Michigan 467  
81 Georgia So. 467 Helton is a 4 if there ever was one. His dismissal from USC was premature to say the least. Hired Bryan Ellis from Western Kentucky – co OC with a few years expereience there. Plus 1 for OC. Will Harris is DC but has never been a DC and has only three years as a dbacks coach at Washington. -2
82 Miami Oh 467  
83 California 467 For the first time since 2018, the Cal offense averaged more points than its defense. On offense, Cal expects to get a jump up with help from former two year Purdue starter Jack Plummer. The problem for Plummer will be finding receivers. Through graduation and attrition, Cal lost seven of its top ten players with receptions and that leaves just Jeremiah Hunter (21 catches) as the lone starter. The Bears like to control the ball and with an offensive line that my Index ranks in the top-third in FBS for rush blocking, it should be able to do it even better than before. Peter Sirmon is finally the answer as defensive coordintar for the Bears but so far, there is no special teams coordinator. Cal is a worse-than-average team with an average schedule so expect this group to repeat five wins from last year.
84 Toledo 467 Toledo has been a mediocre 24-20 in the past four seasons and fans want more out of coach Jason Candle. With one of the ten easiest schedules in the nation, and a terrific All American prospect quarterback in Dequan Finn and the nation’s ith best yards per carry rushing attack, it’s time for Candle to light a flame in Ohio. The biggest problem for coach Candle is getting this team disciplined so that it doesn’t lead the nation — by far! — in penalties per game.
85 Louisville 466 Satterfield came from App State where he had a lot of success. He should produce winners at Louisville but is 18-19 since taking over.
86 Marshall 466 Why is Marshall playing two FCS opponents ?
87 Ball St. 466 Ball State has been climbing the rankings in recent years and with the fifth-easiest schedule in FBS (Murray State, UConn, Ohio,Kent State), the Cardinals should make it to their third straight bowl game.
88 N Texas 465 Seth Litrell finally has UNT climbing and it should continue this season as well. His offensive line projects as one of the best run blocking units in the conference and he is returning an able quarterback in Austin Aune although Aune and second-string qb Jace Ruder both need to improve their passing accuracy. Aune threw 3% of his passes to the wrong team while Ruder threw 5%. Netiher comleteed more than 54.2% of their passes raising speculation that a change in systems might be in order.
89 Wyoming 465 Top two qbs both left this program. What is wrong here?
90 Colorado St. 464 Norvell is an excellent hire. He is 33-26 in six years at Nevada and every year was better than the year before in terms of more wins or fewer losses. He brought Matt Mumme from Nevada. Mumme has four years of experience. Hired Freddie Banks as DC but Banks has no FBS DC experience . Tons of incoming transfers but DC hire is perplexing.
91 Middle Tenn 463  
92 Florida St. 462 I think freshman A.J. Duffy will become the starter at FSU and his emergence will solve horrendous qb problems for FSU. If so, this is a bowl team.
93 Indiana 462 It seems impossible to explain the bottom dropping out on this group last season in a 2-10 finish. Coach Tom Allen cleaned house and now has all new coordinators and a locker room full of new faces to go with incoming quarterback Connor Cazelak. Much has been made of Bazelak’s history at Missouri and his ratio of throwing 16 touchdown passes while also throwing 11 interceptions. But, there’s more to Connor than that one troubling stat and it can be identified when we compare his 11 interceptions to his 377 passing attempts. That ratio is 2.9% which is still a little higher than average but not as alarming. He also completed more than 65% in both of his seasons at Missouri so IU can expect to gain accuracy over departed transfer Michael Penix (Washington). The biggest problem for this season is a schedule that includes Cincennati, Michigan, Penn State, Ohio State, and Michigan State. Altogether, the schedule ranks as the fifth toughest in the nation.
94 Rutgers 461 Great momentum and lots of talent on a greatly improved roster, but this year’s schedule is one of the toughest with Iowa, Ohio St., Michigan, Michigan St, Penn State. That alone is likely to keep RU from getting to five wins again in 2022.
95 Nebraska 461 Easier schedule is moderate upgrade.
96 Boston Col 460 Haffley started strong but seems to be losing momentum after 2021 nosedive.
97 Duke 460 Mike Elko takes over the Duke program after 12 years as DC including at Wake Forest, Notre Dame, and Texas A&M. Plus, he made a “splash” hire when he brought Kevin Johns who has tons of experience in putting up points and getting yards. On the defensive side, Elko hired Robb Smith who also has a lot of college experience at his position plus some time in the NFL. Duke needs to find a starting quarterback and it may have done so in former three-star, dual-threat Riley Leonard. Duke had the worst team defense in America in 2021 according to NCAA.com. The roster appears spotty but the schedule is ranked much easier than average. Altogether, this program should go from three wins to six or seven in 2022.
98 Buffalo 457 Buffalo has just two opponents in the national top 80 (Maryland and Coastal Carolina) so there is no reason this team should finish with just four wins again. I said a year ago when coach Maurice Lindquist was hired that his lack of any experience as a head coach or even as a coordinator would drag this program down. Hiring an inexperienced defensive coordinator caused Buffalo’s defensive ppg to skyrocked by 37% whilte a change in offensive schemes not only dropped scoring by one-third, but it caused perennial starting quarterback Kyle Van Trease to transfer to Georgia Southern. The good news for Buffalo is Shane Montgomery is on the staff and he has head coaching experience (Miami O) should BU decide to make a mid-season change. Buffalo fans had become accustomed to winning and being in, or near, the top 25 but Lindquest could only beat Wagner, Old Dominion, Ohio, and Akron last year. Despite all of those issues, it is important to point out that coach Lindquist increased the recruiting profile in his first full season.
99 Stanford 455 Since Shaw’s change from a grunt-and-grind rushing attack to a short-game passing scheme, Stanford’s running game has been abysmal and with an offensive line that was 8th-worst in the nation for rush blocking and 93rd-ranked for pass blocking, and the defections of two top unning backs, the only hope for Stanford to get ground yardage is the potential breakout of freshman running back Danny McFadden, younger brother of Darin. Wanna know how to beat the Stanford offense? Load up on passing. Yes, Stanford returns Tanner McKee at quarterback and he is indeed an NFL prospect. But, he will be running for his life in 2022 because only half of the top offensive linemen return and those that do aren’t very good. The Stanford defense has given up more points per year than the year before for the six consecutive seasons and ranked 125th for stopping the rush (5.74) in 2021. Wanna know how to beat the Stanford defense? Load up on running the ball. Stanford talent has dropped noticeably in recent years. However, that doesn’t point to coach Shaw as much as perhaps to the transfer portal where Stanford loses starters who cannot qualify for grad school and doesn’t gain new ones because few FBS players can meet Stanford academic standards. With the second hardest schedule in America, expect Stanford to win just two games while suffering two, five-game losing streaks.
100 Temple 452 Drayton has some NFL exp and many years in college but no elite stops. Has excellent hires in Danny Langsdorf (OC) and D.J. Elliott (DC).
101 James Madison 450 JMU is new to FBS this season. Coastal Carolina is the toughest opponent … most others were much less than average.
102 Colorado 450 J. T. Shrout transferred from Tennesses to Colorado and is the current favorite to start at quarterback. However, in three years at Tennessee, Shrout took fewer than 90 snaps and he threw interceptions at twice the national average. He wasn’t the answer at Tennessee and it’s a “push” to think he will be the answer at Colorado. It’s my opinion that before October, Shrout will yield to last year’s starter Brendon Lewis because Lewis is a true dual threat. Other skill positions are filled with plenty of starters and the Buffs will get help from transfer-in R.J. Sneed who had 147 receptions in three years at Baylor. The offensive line has been a mess but there is hope that former Oregon State guard and NFL line coach Kyle DeVan can finally get it to compete. The Buff defense needs to be much stronger after it yielded over five yards per carry (113th) to opposing running backs and it could only generate barely about one sack per game. The schedule includes top 25 prospects TCU, Air Force, Minnesota, UCLA, Oregon, USC, and Utah and doesn’t include any FCS opponents. In an algorithmic oddity, Colorado is ranked ahead of Arizona in the preseason even though the Buffs are projected to win fewer games.
103 Kent St. 450 Coach Sean Lewis has had some nice momentum on the field since he took over this program in 2018. Lewis has not recruited well over all but his offensive line projects as one of the best run blocking units in the entire FBS . The front of KSU’s schedule is homicidal with the season open at Washington followed by a a trip to Oklahoma, and two weeks later at Georgia.
104 Tulane 449  
105 LA Tech 449 Sonny Cumbie has lots of DC experience but has never been a HC at any level, ever. HC = – 2. Both co-OC’s are from Navarro College and have NO FBS experience whatsoever. = -2. Also hired Scott Power as DC but Power also has NO FBS experience. This is limited to a -1 rating because Power was DC at Stephen F. Austin for many years.
106 Kansas 448 Coach Lance Leopold has excellent returners and a star quarterback. The Jayhawks were dead last in FBS for stopping pass completions so if he cna plug that hole, this team will begin to rise.
107 Ohio 447 Ohio has been in a slump since Hall of FAme Tom Osborne cut out just before the 2020 season but eight of 12 opponents this year are in the bottom 25 of our FBS preseason rankings and another is from FCS so that should help. So will one of top 25 run-blocking lines in America. Coach Tim Albin has to find a way to get the defense. He will try to do that with Spence Nowinsky and he may have hit on a hidden gem. It’s true that Nowinsky has a short history as a defensive coordinator and all of it at with a small program (Miami of Ohio). But, he was very effeictive and should be even better at Ohio since he will have better tools.
108 Navy 447 This program hasn’t risen above 90th-ranking for the past two seasons. Transfer portal is making this a really tough gig.
109 Old Dominion 446 After two straight years of improvement for Old Dominion, coach Ricky Rahne is exceeding expectations I projected in 2020.
110 Akron 446 Excellent HC hire in Moorehead. +3 However, he will have no one but himself as OC. Nick Toth will be DC and he has plenty of DC experience although no elite stops. Adding +4 G ancillary b/c he has 11 div 1 incoming transfers.
111 Arizona 446 Dynamic head coach Jedd Fisch went to the protal and brought back a ton of transfers this year including talented new quarterback Jayden De Laura from Washington State. Although the talent has improved, it might not show in terms of wins because this year’s schedule is really tough. The Wildcats were near the bottom of the FBSn for intercepting passes so there’s plenty of work to be done on the defensive back end. Because of that and the time it will take to get the new guys going, I am sticking with the Savvy projection thatt this is at best a three win team in 2022. While that doesn’t sound like much, it’s three times as many wins as last year against a schedule that is the 10th toughest in America San Diego State, Mississippi State, North Dakota State (perennial FCS favorite), Oregon, USC, Utah, and UCLA).
112 LA Monroe 446 Terry Bowden did a fantastic job his first year at a delapidated ULM program. He won’t be here long.
113 Florida Atl. 445 FAU is one of the biggest down-trending teams in our system. But, with the third weakest schedule in FBS (Charlotte, Ohio, SE Louisiana [FCS}, Rice, Utep, and FIU), coach Willie Taggart better produce a winner this year.
114 Syracuse 445 Things have not gone well for coach Dino Babers since he came to Syracuse from Bowling Green in 2016. Over all, he is 29-43 with just one winning season followed two years later by 1-10. Plenty of people have given up on Babers and although I’m ot a fan dating back to a game against Ohio in 2015, integrity provokes to admit that Syracuse hs some trend lines that suggest 2022 will be Babers best chance to finally get back to a winning season. He has an exceptional run-blocking line, a competitive roster, Garrett Shrader is returning as the starting quarterback, and the young skill players who grew last year are all back for 2022. . Syracuse faces a top 20 schedule but it’s back-loaded and sets up for possibly a 5-0 start. Unfortunately, five of the back-enders are either elite or will hit the rankings in 2022 but the Orangemen came within three points of both Clemson and Wake Forest in 2021. If they can get one of those, this team will be in a bowl game.
115 E Michigan 443  
116 S Alabama 443 SAU is steadily climbing under coach Wommack.
117 Connecticut 443 2022: Tons of HC experience but also a lot of contentious and odd behavior incluing sideline spans on national television. He’ll be =1 for the first year but not last long.
118 UNLV 443 Arroyo has produced two successive freshmen of the year, first time in MWC history.
119 Texas St. 442 If you’re looking for a long-shot to bet on in 2022, make it Texas State. All of the ingredients here for this team to surprise analysts and make it to the Bobcats’ second FBS bowl game ever. Head coach Jake Spivital was hired in 2019 he now has TSU primed to win more than four games since 2014. Spivital has been active in the transfer portal and now has well-travelled former Alabama and Arkansas State quarterback Layne Hatcher to replace former TSU starter Brady McBride who portalled his own self in May and is now at Appalachian State. Hatcher originally signed with Arkansas State as a gray shirt but transferred to Alabama before the 2018 season began. Hatcher got lost in the Tide of elite qbs and never played a down. So, he transferred back to Arkansas State and became the Red Wolves starter for 2019 and 2020. But last year, former Florida State quarterback James Blackman began taking Hatcher’s playing time so Hatcher transferred to Texas State. Coach Spivital is returning FIFTEEN of his sixteen players who caught passes last year as well as all three of his top running backs so the offensive attack should continue to flourish especially with an offensive line that is expected to be among the best in the outside of hte Power Five. Spivital will enjoy the depth and fruits of having produced three elevated recruiting cycles in a row.and he’s facing a schedule that one of the ten easiest schedules in America. Fans should expect a bowl game this year and seven wins over all.
120 Vanderbilt 441 How bad was Vanderbilt last year? Well, the Commodores won just two games under new coach Clark Lea and they lost to FCS East Tennessee State 23-3. The roster still is not stong and won’t be buoyed by transfers since Vanderbilt isn’t much in the portal business. Making matters worse, the schedule is the 6th most difficult in the nation My question is how long the SEC will tolerate a mid-major program in its elite roster of teams especially when PAC-12 programs are looking for entry into super leagues like the SEC.
121 Arkansas St. 440 We knew last year would be tough under new coach Butch Jones after many players left ASU. But, I didn’t imagine 2-10. Although it would seem things couldn’t get worse, they might after the Red Wolves’ top running back graduated and the second best running back left the program. QB Layne Hathcher has also left but former Florida State qb James Blackman has found the nitche I thought he would when he came here. Although the defensive front needs a lot of help, there are some strong linebackers. The Wolves cannot yield 6.42 yards per rush in 2022 as they did in 2021. The offensive line should be able to hold its own but the receiving corps is still in a fluid state after leading WR Corey Rucker entered the transfer portal on May 7. Te’Vailance Hunt has transferred in from TCU. Despite a spotty history with the Horned Frogs, it is my opinion that Hunt will become the Wolves’ top receiver and a potential Sun Belt leader. An easy schedule and the return of Blackman are enough to project ASU will double its two wins from last year.
122 Massachusetts 440 20 years as DC at Big Ten, PAC 12, etc.
123 New Mexico St. 439 Excellent hire. Kill has 154 wins as a head coach with stops at N Ill and Minnesota. Kill hired Tim Beck who was HC at Pttsburgh State for 9 years. Offensive line must get better but it has three starters coming back. Defense is the issue and there isn’t much help coming in to get the 469ypg down. While other kill time, Kill needs time.
124 Florida Intl. 438 New coach Mike MacIntyre was a hero in rebuilding SJSU but not so much Colorado. New qb is Gunnar Holmberg former starter from Duke. Holmberg has lots of experience but also lots of interceptions — like more interceptions than touchdowns last year. FIU has the EASIEST schedule in the nation with Bryant from the FCS and SEVEN division 1 opponents rankied from 100 to 129. David Yost is OC after spending 12 years as Missouri OC and three more at Texas Tech. DC is Jovan Dewitt who has NO DC experience at the FBS level and no elite stops. No spectacular coaches and – mostly – an administration with suspect history tells me this might show a little blip upward this year but not much thereafter. MacIntyre needs to produce now and jetison before next season.
125 Georgia Tech 436  
126 New Mexico 436 Offset trend line with Gonzalez’ improved results. Rocky Long is doing what he did at Oregon State years ago — dropping ppg dramatically every year. But, this offense can’t produce … just 2 games over 20 pts. and averaged 12.2 ppg.
127 S Miss 434 Southern Miss led the nation in turnovers and 122 in number of penalties per game. Both of those are “discipline” problems and point to coach Will Hall. Not one of USM’s four quarterbacks finished last season with more touchdown passes than interceptions. Ty Keyes is the apparent starter for 2022 but he only threw one pass in two prior years at West Virginia and he now inherits offensive line that was 123rd for rush blocking and 126th for giving up sacks. The good news for coach Hall is that he has greatly increased USM’s recruiting profile and, if admins are patient, we should see the Golden Eagles begin to rise next year.
128 Charlotte 434  
129 USF 432 Although Jeff Scott came to USF in 2020 with a pretty good history, he is only 3-18 after 2 years. Although his defenses have been problematic, they have been getting better. The biggest problem hs ben on the offensive side and caused by quarterbacks who throw twice as many interceptions as they do touchdowns. To solve that problem, Scott has brought in Gary Bohanan, former Baylor starting quarterback. Bohanan is clearly the best quarterback on the USF roster and he will bring leadership, effective passing, and genuine dual-threat potency
130 Rice 431  
131 Bowling Green 420 Coach Scott Loeffler hasn’t been a miracle worker at BGSU, but has been producing a little better results each season. Last year, he promoted Eric Lews to defensive coordinator in a move that we downgraded because of Lewis’ lack of pedigree. However, he has proven to be a difference-maker on that side of the ball and reducing Bowling Green’s ppg defense from over 30 to under 25 give plenty of reason for hope at least from a defensive standpoint. It’s the offensive side where our Savvy system sees problems. Senior quarterback Matt McDonald returns after his best year in 2021 but there is no depth behind him and one of the worst pass-protection offensive lines ahead of him. There will also be a problem with McDonald finding receivers since starters at WR will be new and that will compounded by the graduation of both starting tight ends. This is double tight-end outfit so replacements need to step up in a hurry. Although the offensive line returns four starters, and usually that’s a good thing. Maybe not so much with this group because they finished 109th for opening holes for running backs and 117th for protecting quarterbacks. Speaking of running backs: The only players who carried the ball last year were freshman. That means that 2022 is loaded with good running backs , Five freshmen running backs were the only ones to carry the ball last year so there is plenty of depth this year. When Loeffler was hired, we pointed out that his resume to become a head coach in the FBS was weak. Although he has made a little progress, his meager results are in line with our 2019 projections.

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