We're rounding third on summer, which means the college football kickoff is right around the corner, and that means one thing: preseason rankings.
Being ranked high in the early Top 25 is important when looking at how the College Football Playoff shakes out, but it doesn't mean everything.
How did the experts over at CBS Sports rank the 25 best teams this preseason?
25. Pittsburgh. Kedon Slovis and Jordan Addison are out, but Kedon Slovis is in at quarterback to keep the Panthers in the ACC title race.
24. Tennessee. A could-be up-and-comer in the SEC with a top 10 offense a year ago, but holes to patch up in the secondary first.
23. Kentucky. Will Levis returns under center, but lead back Chris Rodriguez's availability is up in the air over a legal issue for the SEC East hopefuls.
22. Houston. This could be the year the Cougars overtake Cincinnati in the AAC before both teams move to the Big 12 next year.
21. Wake Forest. The core of college football's 11th ranked offense is back, including Sam Hartman, but the Deacs defense ranked 91st nationally last fall.
20. Michigan State. Kenneth Walker is off to the NFL, but Sparty still has a solid 1-2 punch moving the ball while it repairs the 111th ranked pass defense in college football.
19. Miami. Mario Cristobal brings over an elite coaching staff and inherits Tyler Van Dyke at quarterback, but still faces a difficult schedule in Year 1.
18. Penn State. Sean Clifford is back, this time with WKU transfer wideout Mitchell Tinsley as a very credible downfield threat.
17. Cincinnati. Nine of the playmakers that got Cincy to the College Football Playoff are pros now, so we'll see how well Luke Fickell can develop what he has.
16. Arkansas. Maybe the surprise team in college football last year, the Hogs return quarterback KJ Jefferson and signed transfer receiver Jadon Hazelwood to replace Treylon Burks. Now comes that brutal SEC West slate.
15. Wisconsin. The top-ranked total defense from a year ago needs to add some new pieces, but Braelon Allen looks like one of the top young backs in the country to hold this team up while Graham Mertz finds himself at quarterback.
14. Oregon. Dan Lanning comes off coaching Georgia's historic defense to bring that magic to a Ducks team that seemed on the verge of making the playoff last season.
13. Oklahoma State. Some new faces on what in 2021 was the third-ranked defense in college football, but the Pokes retain experience as Spencer Sanders returns at QB.
12. USC. The biggest question in the sport after Lincoln Riley moved out west and brought a transfer class for the ages with him.
11. NC State. This team beat Clemson last fall and was eight combined points from a perfect ACC record, and now has Devin Leary back driving this offense for another run.
10. Baylor. Dave Aranda took the Bears from 2 wins to a Big 12 title in a year and returns enough experience on both sides of the ball to do it again.
9. Texas A&M. This could be the year Jimbo puts it together and makes a run at the SEC after signing the top-rated recruiting class ever. A midseason date with Alabama will tell the story.
8. Michigan. The defending Big Ten champs lose a pile of their most important contributors, but still have plenty of skill moving the ball offensively.
7. Oklahoma. Brent Venables steps in to steady the ship after Riley's departure, and brought on quarterback Dillon Gabriel in a reunion with play-caller Jeff Lebby after the two orchestrated a top 10 offense at UCF.
6. Notre Dame. Another first-year coach in Marcus Freeman, who has dominated the recruiting scene so far, and might have the best offensive line in college football.
5. Clemson. Defensive injuries and subpar quarterback play consigned the Tigers to three losses a year ago, but this defense, now healthy, might have the most physical front seven unit in the country.
4. Utah. Major offseason optimism for the Pac-12 champs, who return the duo of Cam Rising at QB and Tavion Thomas in the backfield, a tandem that combined for 41 touchdowns last season.
3. Georgia. College football's defending national champions have to patch up some holes on that ferocious defense, but also return a ton of downfield threats and perimeter speed, and are playing a very winnable schedule.
2. Ohio State. The core of college football's No. 1 offense returns, led by Heisman finalist quarterback CJ Stroud, but how well Jim Knowles can repair the Buckeyes' defense will show if this team belongs in the playoff.
1. Alabama. Breaking news: the Crimson Tide is the best team in college football after signing a blue-chip transfer class to complement its Heisman-winning quarterback and a veteran defense led by linebacker Will Anderson, arguably the best player in the nation at any position.
(h/t CBS Sports)
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