There is no offseason in college football. As soon as the 2017 season ended with Alabama's walk-off win for the national title against Georgia, the 2018 preseason began.
That's right: It's time to start ranking teams already, and we're not going to settle for merely a top 25. With the NFL Draft's early entry deadline passed, we have a pretty good idea of what all 130 rosters will look like next fall; thus, we might as well rank all 130 teams now.
This is a very early look at how all the teams stack up entering 2018. Keep in mind that is merely a quick first draft of rankings, subject to many changes over the next seven months. It's a starting point … but the 2018 season will be here before you know it.
130. UTEP. New coach Dana Dimel inherits a team that went 0-12 and finished 130th in yards per play on offense and 106th on defense. In other words: Patience is essential.
129. Kent State. Former Syracuse offensive coordinator Sean Lewis takes over a team that has been to one bowl game since Nick Saban's senior season as a defensive back in 1972. The Golden Flashes haven't averaged more than 21 points per game since 2012.
128. Charlotte. The 49ers are 7-29 since becoming an FBS team and are coming off a 1-11 effort that was their worst in three seasons. Only one of their top 13 tacklers in 2017 was a senior, which helps moving forward.
127. Liberty. The Flames, who beat Baylor last year, will jump from the FCS to FBS independence in a transition year. (They can't play in a bowl until 2019.) They're coming off a 6-5 season in which they were ranked 182nd in Jeff Sagarin's all-Division I ratings.
126. New Mexico State. Coming off their first bowl trip since 1960, the Aggies will move from the Sun Belt to independence and have to replace 4,000-yard passer Tyler Rogers, standout tailback Larry Rose III and 1,000-yard receiver Jaleel Scott.
125. San Jose State. The Spartans have won more than six games once in the past 11 seasons and went 2-11 in Brent Brennan's debut, finishing 126th in points and 127th in points allowed.
124. Georgia Southern. Chad Lunsford was promoted from interim coach to head coach and is charged with reviving an offense that fell from second to 122nd in yards per play over the past three years.
123. Rice. The 11-year David Bailiff era ends after a 1-11 campaign, creating a rebuilding job for former Stanford offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren, who was a strong hire.
122. Texas State. Everett Withers has endured back-to-back 2-10 seasons since taking over in San Marcos. The Bobcats have finished in the 120s in scoring both of those years.
121. South Alabama. Steve Campbell made the jump from Central Arkansas, an FCS team, to South Alabama to become the Jaguars' second coach after Joey Jones' ouster following a 4-8 season.
120. Bowling Green. After winning three straight MAC East titles, Bowling Green is 6-18 in two seasons under Mike Jinks. The Falcons' passing game has plummeted since former coach Dino Babers left for Syracuse.
119. Louisiana-Lafayette. After four straight 9-4 seasons, the Ragin' Cajuns have had three straight losing seasons, leading to Mark Hudspeth being replaced by Arizona State offensive coordinator Billy Napier.
118. Ball State. Mike Neu is 6-18 in two years as head coach and is coming off a winless season in MAC play, but the Cardinals were young at the skill positions and on defense.
117. Old Dominion. With turnover in the passing game, the Monarchs fell from 10-3 and 31st in scoring to 5-7 and 114th in scoring. Now they'll have to retool the offense without standout tailback Ray Lawry.
116. Coastal Carolina. Head coach -- and former TD Ameritrade CEO -- Joe Moglia had to take a medical sabbatical during the Chanticleers' FBS transition, in which they finished with a 3-9 record. Moglia is back to try to lead an ascent in the Sun Belt standings.
115. Connecticut. Randy Edsall's return to UConn had occasional signs of life on offense under former Auburn coordinator Rhett Lashlee, but the Huskies still finished just 3-9 and Lashlee left for SMU.
114. East Carolina. Scottie Montgomery will enter his third season as coach on the hot seat after back-to-back 3-9 records. Nobody gave up more points per game (45) than the Pirates in 2017.
113. Hawaii. The Warriors fell from 7-7 to 3-9 in Nick Rolovich's second season and must replace their top offensive player in tailback Diocemy Saint-Juste, who rushed for 1,510 yards.
112. Nevada. The new Air Raid offense under coach Jay Norvell achieved predictably mixed results in a 3-9 season, but QB Ty Gangi is back and the team won two of its last three games, showing signs of growth.
111. Massachusetts. A 4-8 record in 2017 was actually the Minutemen's best in six seasons of FBS play despite a 0-6 start. They lose prolific TE Adam Breneman, but the trio of QB Andrew Ford, RB Marquis Young and WR Andy Isabella will have this offense in solid shape.
110. Central Michigan. After a run of five straight seasons within a game of .500, Central Michigan quietly had its best season since 2009, going 8-5 thanks to a five-game winning streak to end the regular season. The passing game, however, must be overhauled without QB Shane Morris and the top three receivers.
109. New Mexico. The Lobos plummeted from eighth to 81st in yards per play, as their explosive run game slowed down and the team went from 9-4 to 3-9. The defense needs to start picking up more of the slack in a competitive division.
108. Georgia State. After a rough start, Shawn Elliott's debut season ended up going well in the reconfigured former Turner Field. The Panthers finished with their best FBS record at 7-5 and scored their first postseason win in the Cure Bowl. They'll have to retool without QB Conner Manning.
107. Kansas. Coach David Beaty is 3-33 in three seasons; his only win over an FBS opponent was against Texas in 2016. The Jayhawks have a couple impressive defenders to build around in LB Joe Dineen and DT Daniel Wise.
106. Oregon State. As a quarterback, Jonathan Smith played a key role in Oregon State's most successful season ever in 2000. Now, he returns as head coach to try to dig the Beavers out of a hole after they went 7-29 in three years following Mike Riley's departure.
105. UTSA. A 6-5 record with no bowl bid ended up being a disappointment. Frank Wilson has the Roadrunners trending in the right direction, although rebuilding the passing game in 2018 without Dalton Sturm and the top three receivers won't be easy.
104. Louisiana-Monroe. The Warhawks vaulted from 110th to 25th in scoring in Matt Viator's second season but finished with the same 4-8 record thanks to one of the nation's worst defenses.
103. Akron. The Zips have gone to two bowls in three years, and they'll have a veteran defense to lean on as they try to get increased production from QB Kato Nelson.
102. Western Kentucky. In transitioning from Jeff Brohm to Mike Sanford, the Hilltoppers fell from first to 87th in scoring, and now they say goodbye to prolific passer Mike White.
101. Southern Miss. The Eagles have options at quarterback but a lot of reshuffling to do on the rest of the offense, with standout RB Ito Smith and WRs Korey Robertson and Allenzae Staggers all gone.
100. Marshall. The surprising decision by QB Chase Litton to leave early for the NFL Draft is a blow, but there's plenty of experience returning elsewhere, if the QB problem can be solved.
99. Eastern Michigan. In 2016, the Eagles went bowling for the first time since 1987; in 2017, they were the unluckiest team in college football thanks to a six-game losing streak in which each loss was by a touchdown or less. Chris Creighton has this program on sturdier ground than it's been in a long time.
98. Florida International. Butch Davis engineered a quick turnaround from four wins to eight wins in his debut, even if he was overshadowed by nearby rival Lane Kiffin. FIU will, however, lose its top passer, rusher and receiver and seven of its top nine tacklers.
97. UAB. The Blazers' return to football couldn't have gone much better, with an 8-5 record after two years of not playing. They'll have plenty of experience back, too, led by tailback Spencer Brown.
96. Utah State. The Aggies won 30 games from 2012-14 and just 15 over the past three years, and their ceiling in 2018 depends on the growth of QB Jordan Love as a sophomore.
95. Miami (OH). The RedHawks had a slightly disappointing 5-7 campaign, but they can be players in the MAC East race with their offensive core returning, led by QB Gus Ragland -- assuming he holds off incoming Michigan transfer Alex Malzone.
94. Western Michigan. The Broncos fell from the Cotton Bowl to 6-6 and no bowl bid in the first season under Tim Lester. It's still possible that P.J. Fleck's recruiting success will help lead to a bounce back to MAC West title contention.
93. SMU. Chad Morris made solid progress, but he left for Arkansas before SMU truly broke through. Now, it's up to Sonny Dykes to attempt to fix the defense -- certainly not his forte -- and replace a pair of 1,000-yard receivers in Courtland Sutton and Trey Quinn.
92. Cincinnati. Luke Fickell inherited a rebuilding job from Tommy Tuberville and went 4-8. Fixing a formerly prolific passing game, which averaged six yards per attempt, is the top priority.
91. BYU. The Cougars recovered a little with a weak back half of the schedule, but 2017 was their worst season in decades, with an offense that finished 124th in scoring. Head coach Kalani Sitake parted ways with offensive coordinator Ty Detmer in a move that had to be done.
90. Tulsa. Philip Montgomery inherited a 2-10 team and went 6-7 and 10-3 in his first two campaigns. Then, while dealing with lot of turnover on offense, the Golden Hurricane collapsed back to 2-10. They'll likely bounce back a bit, but they have to replace their top weapon, tailback D'Angelo Brewer, and play in a difficult division.
89. UNLV. Tony Sanchez has taken the Rebels from three to four to five wins, and the team's second bowl bid since 2000 is within reach with a budding star in Armani Rogers at quarterback.
88. Buffalo. After winning seven games in his first two years combined, Lance Leipold pushed the Bulls to 6-6, although they didn't get a bowl bid. Three of those losses came while talented QB Tyree Jackson was injured. This is a team to watch in the MAC with a healthy Jackson, plus the return of prolific wideout Anthony Johnson.
87. Illinois. The Fighting Illini underwent a youth movement in Lovie Smith's second season, and they'll need it to pay off in a leap forward after a winless Big Ten campaign.
86. Rutgers. After Jerry Kill stepped down, Chris Ash hired John McNulty to be Rutgers' ninth offensive coordinator in nine years. The Scarlet Knights showed improvement in 2017, winning three Big Ten games, but the gap in the Big Ten East remains large.
85. Air Force. Troy Calhoun has missed the postseason only twice in 11 seasons. The Falcons did so in 2017 after losing almost their entire defense. They'll bounce back to bowl eligibility.
84. Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs slipped to 7-6 after three straight nine-win seasons, but they've been a relatively consistent winner. The return of QB J'Mar Smith and DE Jaylon Ferguson and much of the defense will make them a Conference USA contender.
83. Colorado State. Mike Bobo has finished 7-6 in each of his first three seasons in Fort Collins. This past season felt like a missed opportunity, as the productive tandem of WR Michael Gallup and QB Nick Stevens now moves on.
82. Wyoming. Despite the presence of QB Josh Allen, defense carried the Cowboys to their 8-5 record, ranking eighth nationally in yards per play allowed. Allen is gone, but much of that defense returns, led by Carl Granderson and Youhanna Ghaifan up front.
81. Arizona State. The Herm Edwards era begins with some intriguing talent on the roster -- led by WR N'Keal Harry -- but enormous questions after a widely panned coaching move.
80. Baylor. There's nowhere to go but up after the Bears, sorely lacking depth in Matt Rhule's debut season, went 1-11. Charlie Brewer is a promising quarterback, and improvement is a lock, even if there's a long way to go.
79. Middle Tennessee. Dynamic WR Richie James left early for the draft after an injury-marred season, but QB Brent Stockstill will be back after his own injury-hindered season to lead a potent offense.
78. Tulane. The Green Wave came within inches of bowl eligibility in Willie Fritz's second season, and the offense is, predictably, trending in the right direction. It's just a matter of moving up in a tough AAC West division.
77. Minnesota. Priority No. 1 for P.J. Fleck in his second season is fixing a passing game that finished 120th in passer rating and 125th in completion percentage with nine TDs and 11 INTs.
76. Virginia. The Cavaliers lost the Military Bowl by 42, but at least they got to the postseason for the first time since 2011. They face some tough hurdles in 2018 with QB Kurt Benkert and defensive stars Quin Blanding, Micah Kiser and Andrew Brown all gone.
75. Troy. Neal Brown has gone 21-5 with a win at LSU over the past two seasons, and he'll enter 2018 as one of college football's biggest rising coaching stars. He will, however, have to find replacements for QB Brandon Silvers and RB Jordan Chunn.
74. Indiana. The Hoosiers' impressive growth on defense under Tom Allen will be tested without impact players like Tegray Scales and Rashard Fant. The offense took a massive step back after Kevin Wilson was ousted as head coach.
73. Toledo. The Rockets had a terrible bowl performance but still won the MAC for the first time since 2004. The key to 2018 is obvious, as coach Jason Candle needs to replace prolific QB Logan Woodside, but there's still a fair amount of production returning, even with RB Terry Swanson also gone.
72. North Carolina. After reaching an 11-3 peak in 2015, North Carolina has fallen to 8-5 and then a disastrous 3-9, putting Larry Fedora on the hot seat entering 2018 after the offense fell off a cliff.
71. Vanderbilt. The Commodores' offense made noticeable progress behind QB Kyle Shurmur, but they lose prolific tailback Ralph Webb and need to rebound on defense after going 1-7 in the SEC.
70. Syracuse. The Orange beat Clemson, then ended the season on a six-game losing streak that halted the positive momentum they thought they had generated. In Year 3 under Dino Babers, a high-volume offense (23rd in yards per game) needs to become more efficient (95th in yards per play).
69. Appalachian State. The Mountaineers are 31-9 in four seasons of Sun Belt play, winning back-to-back shares of the conference crown. They're coming off a shocking shutout win over Toledo in their bowl, too. They'll lean heavily on tailback Jalin Moore with QB Taylor Lamb gone.
68. Temple. The Owls finished strong with four out of five wins in Geoff Collins' debut thanks in part to the emergence of QB Frank Nutile, who started for the second half of the season and will be back as a senior.
67. Ohio. The Bobcats still haven't won the MAC since 1968, but it's been a decade since they had a losing record. Most of the offense that averaged nearly 40 points per game will return.
66. Colorado. Regression was impossible to avoid after a breakthrough 2016 season, and the Buffaloes fell from 10 to five wins. There will be continuity at QB with Steven Montez, but the skill positions need to be overhauled.
65. Ole Miss. Matt Luke was promoted from interim coach to head coach but will have to deal with another bowl ban and scholarship restrictions. Even with Shea Patterson transferring, there's a lot to like in the passing game led by QB Jordan Ta'amu and WR A.J. Brown.
64. Northern Illinois. The Huskies bounced back from a rare down year to go 8-5 and upset Nebraska, led by a fantastic defense. They'll have a stellar defense back, led by Sutton Smith and Jawuan Johnson, who combined for 37 ½ tackles for loss.
63. Arkansas State. Blake Anderson has guided Arkansas State to a 26-6 record in Sun Belt play, and QB Justice Hansen will be back after throwing for nearly 4,000 yards. DE Ja'Von Rolland-Jones is a massive loss on defense, but the Red Wolvers are conference contenders again.
62. Duke. The 2017 season didn't go quite as hoped, as Daniel Jones didn't take the expected leap forward as a sophomore QB, but the Blue Devils still went to their fifth bowl in six years and will return a fair amount of experience.
61. North Texas. The Mean Green have gone from 1-11 to 5-8 to 9-5 over the past three seasons, with impressive growth on offense led by coach Seth Littrell. They get back 4,000-yard passer Mason Fine and most of their receiving corps, making them a Conference USA contender again.
60. Tennessee. Jeremy Pruitt's specialty is defense, but he and new coordinator Tyson Helton will be charged with cleaning up a mess on offense after the Volunteers went winless in the SEC and finished 120th in yards per play.
59. Arkansas. The Razorbacks slipped to 4-8 in Bret Bielema's final season, and new coach Chad Morris steps into a situation that's familiar from his days at SMU, with serious improvement needed on defense. Morris is counting on ex-Texas A&M (and LSU and Tennessee) coordinator John Chavis to do it.
58. Navy. Both Malcolm Perry and Zach Abey return with experience at quarterback after each surpassed 1,000 yards on the ground. Back-to-back losses to Army sting, but the blowout bowl win over Virginia -- in which Perry and Abey combined for seven TDs -- sends the Midshipmen into 2018 on a high note.
57. Army. Army enters 2018 with back-to-back bowl wins, back-to-back wins over Navy and 18 wins overall over two seasons. It's been a spectacular turnaround under Jeff Monken, and a third straight bowl bid is likely.
56. Nebraska. Scott Frost was the perfect hire for Nebraska, but don't expect a swift turnaround like the one he engineered at UCF. Cornhuskers recruiting needs to be revamped, and the offense isn't going to be an instant rebuild.
55. San Diego State. The Aztecs have gone 32-9 over the past three seasons under Rocky Long, with back-to-back 2,000-yard rushers in Donnel Pumphrey and Rashaad Penny. With Penny gone, the key to 2018 -- in an improving MWC West Division -- is a smooth transition from Penny to Juwan Washington at tailback.
54. Maryland. After one-year stints at Pitt and LSU, new offensive coordinator Matt Canada will attempt to revive a snakebitten offense that has endured unfathomably bad luck with quarterback injuries in recent years.
53. Louisville. Lamar Jackson had over 10,000 yards of total offense the past two seasons, winning the Heisman as a sophomore and finishing third as a junior. Louisville still lost nine games over those two seasons, creating skepticism about life after Jackson -- which begins on Sept. 1 against Alabama.
52. Pittsburgh. Pat Narduzzi is a defensive coach, but his Pitt defenses have finished no better than 76th in yards per play allowed in three seasons. Kenny Pickett did offer late-season promise at quarterback, including the upset win over Miami.
51. Texas Tech. Kliff Kingsbury secured his job with a season-finale win at Texas, but the Red Raiders have finished with a losing record in three of the past four years. The good news moving forward: The defense finally showed progress.
50. Boston College. The Eagles got a desperately needed jolt on offense thanks to the breakout season of freshman RB A.J. Dillon, who ran for 1,589 yards. The passing game remains a huge question, however.
49. South Florida. The Bulls have had back-to-back top-25 seasons under Willie Taggart and Charlie Strong, but Strong now has the next-to-impossible task of replacing QB Quinton Flowers, plus several top players from a vastly improved defense.
48. California. The final 5-7 record didn't show it, but the Golden Bears generated some optimism moving forward under coach Justin Wilcox, who substantially improved the defense. Keep an eye on a potential QB battle between Ross Bowers and South Carolina transfer Brandon McIlwain.
47. Kansas State. Bill Snyder is still set to return for another season, during which he'll turn 79 years old. The Wildcats will boast a solid ground game but lose two impact playmakers in WR Byron Pringle and CB D.J. Reed, who was one of the nation's most valuable return men.
46. UCLA. The Bruins will enter 2018 as a mystery team with Josh Rosen gone and Chip Kelly replacing Jim Mora as head coach. First and foremost, they need Kelly to provide a jolt to what's been a broken ground game to aid whomever replaces Rosen.
45. Washington State. The Cougars went 11 seasons without a winning record from 2004-14. Now, they've won 26 games over the past three seasons under Mike Leach, who has brought renewed excitement to Wazzu football.
44. Florida Atlantic. The Lane Train rolls on to Year 2. The Owls ended 2017 on a 10-game winning streak in which they scored over 40 points seven times. Although QB Jason Driskel announced that he's giving up football, the Owls do get back stud tailback Devin Singletary and nearly their entire defense.
43. Kentucky. Despite a 5-1 start, Kentucky finished 7-6, its 33rd straight season with at least five losses. With RB Benny Snell and most of the defense back, there is some hope for that streak to be threatened.
42. Missouri. Coach Barry Odom made a surprise move in bringing in Derek Dooley as his offensive coordinator to replace new UCF head coach Josh Heupel. Dooley, who was last seen in the SEC having a disastrous stint as head coach at Tennessee, is responsible for continuing the upward trajectory of the offense behind QB Drew Lock, who threw for nearly 4,000 yards and 44 TDs.
41. Florida. The Gators haven't had an effective offense since Tim Tebow's senior season in 2009. It's up to Dan Mullen, Florida's offensive coordinator from 2005-08, to lead a turnaround and clean up on the mess left by Will Muschamp and Jim McElwain. It'll be hard to buy into Florida until the quarterback situation clears up.
40. Iowa. Significant attrition in the running game (Akrum Wadley, James Butler) and on defense (Josh Jackson, Josey Jewell, etc.) will be tough to overcome, but this is Iowa: It will finish 8-5.
39. Purdue. Every year that Purdue is able to retain Jeff Brohm is a success. After winning nine games in four years, the Boilermakers jumped to 7-6 with a bowl win in Brohm's debut. The defense made a significant jump, and Brohm injected some excitement into the offense, which should continue its growth.
38. Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons achieved an impressive breakthrough on offense in an 8-5 season, as QB John Wolford emerged as a star and the team leaped from 118th to 21st in scoring. That success will have to be sustained without Wolford, but there is returning talent for coach Dave Clawson to work with around potential new starting QB Kendall Hinton.
37. Memphis. The Tigers were able to hold onto coach Mike Norvell, but the offense faces a tall task in 2018 in needing to replace QB Riley Ferguson and WR Anthony Miller. The passing game transition will be made easier by the potential for an excellent ground game with a veteran line and tailbacks.
36. N.C. State. The Wolfpack finally took a step forward with a 9-4 season and a final No. 23 ranking in the AP poll, giving them their best season since 2002. QB Ryan Finley returns, but RB Nyheim Hines, TE/FB Jaylen Samuels and DE Bradley Chubb are among the enormous losses that make a step back likely.
35. Georgia Tech. After never missing the postseason from 1997-2014, Georgia Tech has had a losing record in two of the past three seasons. But after dealing with unexpected attrition last offseason, the option attack's top six rushers are set to return this time.
34. Houston. Major Applewhite's debut season finished with an uneven 7-5 record, but he gets another season of arguably the nation's best returning player in DT Ed Oliver. Plus, D'Eriq King flashed potential at quarterback down the stretch.
33. Fresno State. Jeff Tedford did a spectacular job in Year 1, taking the Bulldogs from 1-11 to 10-4, a division title and a bowl win over Houston. They'll get 16 starters back to try to take another shot at the Mountain West championship.
32. Texas A&M. Jimbo Fisher takes over an Aggies program that hasn't had a winning record in SEC play since their 2012 debut in the conference in which Johnny Manziel won the Heisman. Priority No. 1 is finding a semblance of consistency at quarterback with Kellen Mond and Nick Starkel both back.
31. Utah. A 7-6 campaign in 2017 was mostly forgettable, but the hope is for a step forward on offense in the second year of the system under coordinator Troy Taylor, with both QB Tyler Huntley and RB Zack Moss back. Plus, Utah might have the nation's best kicker (Matt Gay) and punter (Mitch Wishnowsky).
30. Iowa State. Matt Campbell's second season featured an 8-5 record and wins over Oklahoma and TCU, the top two teams in the Big 12. Several key players are gone -- including LB Joel Lanning and WR Allen Lazard -- but a foundation has been built, and RB David Montgomery is a returning standout.
29. Northwestern. The Wildcats have won 10 games in two of the past three seasons, and there's enough rising talent here, along with the return of QB Clayton Thorson, to think that they can at least make a run at second place in the Big Ten West again, even without RB Justin Jackson.
28. Oklahoma State. The Cowboys' biggest star now is at tailback thanks to the return of Justice Hill. He's the new centerpiece of the offense, because the explosive passing game is gutted thanks to the losses of QB Mason Rudolph and WRs James Washington and Marcell Ateman.
27. South Carolina. Will Muschamp exceeded expectations with a 9-4 record in 2017 that came despite significant trouble on offense. Jake Bentley remains a promising option at quarterback, though, and the return of explosive playmaker Deebo Samuel from an injury will provide a big boost.
26. Florida State. Willie Taggart will try to pick up the pieces from a disastrous, unexpected end to the Jimbo Fisher era. Six underclassmen left early for the draft, and Taggart will be counting on a the emergence of Cam Akers as a star at tailback.
25. Texas. The Longhorns had a hard-luck season in Tom Herman's debut and ultimately ended up finishing 7-6. Now, Herman has to deal with a wave of early departures that includes All-American LB Malik Jefferson, OT Connor Williams and S DeShon Elliott. It's a talented roster with a potential, but expectations still need to be tempered. Breaking into the top 25 is a reasonable goal.
24. Arizona. The Wildcats made a smart hire in landing Kevin Sumlin, who could do big things with a full season of QB Khalil Tate, who rushed for 1,411 yards despite not becoming the starting quarterback until October. The defense has a long way to go, but six of the team's top 11 tacklers were freshmen.
23. Oregon. Few schools had coaching stability and continuity that could match Oregon for three decades, and now Mario Cristobal has become the Ducks' fourth coach in one decade after Willie Taggart's one-year stay. The good news: Defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt is staying, and a healthy Justin Herbert will be one of the nation's top returning quarterbacks.
22. Virginia Tech. The Hokies are counting on the development of QB Josh Jackson, because the defense is hit hard with Tremaine Edmunds, Terrell Edmunds and Tim Settle leaving early, joining the losses of key seniors like Greg Stroman, Brandon Facyson and Andrew Motuapuaka.
21. LSU. The Matt Canada era at offensive coordinator came to a quick end, and now it's up to Steve Ensminger to build the LSU offense, which loses QB Danny Etling, RBs Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams, WRs D.J. Chark and Russell Gage and C Will Clapp. As usual, the Tigers face steep NFL attrition, and they'll probably continue to be in the top-20 type range they've sort of been stuck in rather than true SEC contenders.
20. Mississippi State. Former Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead takes over as head coach and has a lot to work with, as QB Nick Fitzgerald and RB Aeris Williams are back to give him an excellent foundation.
19. UCF. The Knights went from winless in George O'Leary's final year to undefeated with a win over Auburn in the Peach Bowl in Scott Frost's second year. Frost is off to Nebraska, replaced by Josh Heupel, and players like CB Mike Hughes, WR Tre'Quan Smith and LB Shaquem Griffin will be difficult to replace. But with QB McKenzie Milton back, Heupel inherits the AAC favorite.
18. Boise State. The Broncos went 11-3, won the Mountain West, mostly throttled Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl and return QB Brett Rypien and nearly their entire defense. It adds up to making Boise State a clear contender for a New Year's Six bid.
17. Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish rebounded from 4-8 to 10-3, but there are some key questions this offseason: Defensive coordinator Mike Elko left after one year for Texas A&M, offensive line superstars Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey are gone and the passing game -- which returns Brandon Wimbush and Ian Book -- needs to take a step forward with the running game likely to take a hit.
16. TCU. TCU has won at least 11 games in three of the past four seasons, and depending on how the quarterback situation shakes out, another run at double digits is possible. WR Jalen Reagor and RB Darius Anderson are rising stars, and the defense returns enough to make a run at being the Big 12's best.
15. West Virginia. Few teams will have a more dangerous passing attack thanks to the return of QB Will Grier and WRs David Sills V and Gary Jennings. Expectations will be high in a fairly open race to get to the Big 12 title game.
14. Michigan State. After severely underperforming in a 3-9 2016 season, the Spartans slightly overperformed with a 10-3 bounce-back season in 2017. They have a chance to duplicate that, even in a brutal Big Ten East, because nearly everybody is back on both sides of the ball.
13. USC. It's a big season for Clay Helton. He's won 20 of the past 23 games with a Pac-12 title and two major bowl trips, but now 1) Sam Darnold is gone and 2) Chip Kelly has arrived at crosstown rival UCLA. The Trojans' roster is still loaded with enough talent to make them the Pac-12 South favorite -- keep an eye on RB Stephen Carr as a breakout candidate -- but a small step back is going to be tough to avoid.
12. Michigan. A step back in 2017 was inevitable, with so much NFL talent gone. Still, an 8-5 record with season-long trouble on offense couldn't help but be frustrating. The defense is still in good shape; the pressure is on Jim Harbaugh to find an answer at quarterback (Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson is a possibility, if ruled eligible) and build an improved offensive line.
11. Stanford. Few teams got better early entry news, because Heisman runner-up tailback Bryce Love elected to return after his 2,000-yard season. Winning the Pac-12 could depend on defensive reloading after Harrison Phillips, Justin Reid and Quenton Meeks turned pro.
10. Auburn. The return of QB Jarrett Stidham is enormous, after he led the SEC in passer rating in conference play. The running game has significant reshuffling to do without Kerryon Johnson and a big chunk of the O-line, and the defense loses DE Jeff Holland and CB Carlton Davis early. Auburn is the best challenger to Alabama in the SEC West, but repeating as division champs is a lot to ask, even if another trip to a major bowl is on the table.
9. Wisconsin. The schedule will be tougher with road trips to both Michigan and Penn State, but the Badgers will be overwhelming favorites in the Big Ten West again. The entire offensive line returns to block for Jonathan Taylor, who rushed for nearly 2,000 yards, and the defense appears to be in good hands under coordinator Jim Leonhard.
8. Washington. The Huskies lose some crucial pieces, including DT Vita Vea and WR Dante Pettis, but ultimately they're set up well to be the Pac-12 favorite. QB Jake Browning and RB Myles Gaskin are back for their fourth year as the team's starting backfield, OT Trey Adams will return from an injury and the defense will be the best in the Pac-12, led by a loaded secondary.
7. Penn State. Yes, the Nittany Lions lose star tailback Saquon Barkley and numerous other NFL prospects, but this is where James Franklin's recruiting success can start to pay off. This team is better equipped to reload than it's been in a while, the offensive line will be on an upward trajectory and Trace McSorley is one of the nation's top returning quarterbacks. The Lions aren't going away.
6. Oklahoma. Duplicating 2017 will be almost impossible without Heisman winner Baker Mayfield, not to mention TE Mark Andrews, OT Orlando Brown and LB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo. Still, Texas A&M transfer Kyler Murray is an intriguing option at QB, the skill positions are loaded and the O-line gets three starters back. The Sooners are the probable Big 12 frontrunners again.
5. Georgia. The 2018 season might be a slight transition year before national championship expectations are restored in 2019, thanks to the departures of impact players like Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Roquan Smith, Isaiah Wynn and more. But the core is there for the Bulldogs to continue building a sustainable powerhouse, led by the backfield combination of QB Jake Fromm and RB D'Andre Swift, and they're obvious SEC East leaders.
4. Miami. Don't let the rough ending diminish what Miami did in 2017: For the first time since joining the ACC in 2004, Miami won the ACC Coastal, won 10 games and played in a major bowl. Mark Richt has the Hurricanes on the rise, and the defense has a high ceiling again despite the early losses of DTs RJ McIntosh and Kendrick Norton.
3. Ohio State. J.T. Barrett is gone, but the Buckeyes' offense appears to be loaded around whomever the new QB is -- likely Dwayne Haskins -- with players like J.K. Dobbins, and the defense will be anchored by Nick Bosa and Dre'Mont Jones up front. There have been a few surprising missteps, but Urban Meyer is 73-8 at Ohio State with five AP top-six finishes in six years.
2. Clemson. Clemson knew it would have stud DT Dexter Lawrence back for another year. Somehow, draft-eligible underclassmen Clelin Ferrell, Chrsitian Wilkins and Austin Bryant all decided to return, too, meaning that the nation's best defensive line will look the same in 2018. Mitch Hyatt also returned at offensive tackle. Don't be shocked if QB Kelly Bryant gets an offseason challenge from sophomore Hunter Johnson and true freshman Trevor Lawrence. Regardless, this an obvious national championship frontrunner.
1. Alabama. The greatest dynasty in college football history has won five national titles in nine years, including two of the past three, and continues to bring in a ridiculous number of top recruits. Whether Tua Tagovailoa or Jalen Hurts starts at quarterback, the Crimson Tide are in excellent shape to defend their national title, with a loaded backfield, a stellar offensive line and what will surely be another dominant defense. Clemson has an argument, but Alabama is yet again both the safest and smartest pick for No. 1.