C.J. Stroud

Sat., Jan. 1, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) celebrates after a touchdown during the fourth quarter of the 108th Rose Bowl Game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Utah Utes at the Rose Bowl.

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The college football season just ended, with Georgia winning its first national title since 1980 by defeating Alabama 33-18 on Monday night in downtown Indianapolis. But columnist Bob Asmussen can't wait for it to start again. Here is a way-too-early look at his top 10 teams heading into the 2022 season:

1. Ohio State

Quarterback C.J. Stroud returns after being a Heisman finalist. And he's got all sorts of help (TreyVeon Henderson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, etc.) The opener against Notre Dame is a doozy.

2. Alabama

Bryce Young will try to follow Archie Griffin as the second two-time Heisman winner. Very doable. Oh yeah, superstar linebacker Will Anderson is back, too, as Nick Sabana continues his quest for a seventh national title with the Crimson Tide.

3. Georgia

The opener against Oregon will provide an early gauge of the Bulldogs' potential. A question: Who plays quarterback for the defending national champions?

4. Notre Dame

First order of business for new coach Marcus Freeman, fill the huge holes on defense. The offense is loaded with playmakers, which comes in handy against a difficult schedule.

5. Clemson

Dabo Swinney is breaking in new coordinators on both sides of the ball. He figures to get improved play from quarterback DJ Uiagalelei.

6. Michigan

For now, Jim Harbaugh seems to staying in place. He's got to replace Aidan Hutinson, but the backfield is loaded and he's got solid options at quarterback.

7. Texas A&M

Remember, the Aggies beat Alabama during the regular season. Jimbo Fisher has been loading his roster with talented recruits. Time to see it pay off.

8. Utah

Kyle Whittingham's team put up a good fight against Ohio State. And quarterback Cam Rising is the real deal.

9. Baylor

Dave Arranda doesn't get enough credit for turning the Bears into a Big 12 power. Gerry Bohanon returns to lead the offense.

10. Michigan State

Mel Tucker has to prove he deserves the monster contract. He'll get plenty of help from Payton Thorne, Jayden Reed and Jailon Nailor.

Bob Asmussen can be reached at 217-393-8248 or by email at asmussen@news-gazette.com.

College Football Reporter/Columnist

Bob Asmussen is a college football reporter and columnist for The News-Gazette. His email is asmussen@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@BobAsmussen).

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