On3 Way-Too-Early Top 25 College Football Rankings for 2024: Georgia holds the No. 1 spot ahead of Texas and Alabama

On3 imageby:Jesse Simonton01/09/24

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Jesse Simonton Discusses his Way too Early Top 25 with Andy Staples | Who Got Left Out? 01.09.24

The 2023 season ended with Michigan crowned as our new national champions. So it’s the perfect time to project what the preseason Top 25 for 2024 will look like in over eight months, right?

Right. 

It’s never too early to look ahead, so here’s my initial stab at the Way-Too-Early Top 25 for 2024. The teams at the top are obvious — Georgia, Texas, Alabama and Oregon are all likely to find themselves in some order in the Top 5. 

The rest of the rankings are mostly a fun crapshoot at this point. With continued movement within the transfer portal, rosters still aren’t set even before spring practice. There are still impending NFL Draft decisions and potentially more coaching dominos, too. Plus, the 2024 season will feature all sorts of realignment (expanded Big Ten and SEC) and the introduction of the 12-team College Football Playoff format, so there’s an added layer of uncertainty.

Both the new-look ACC and Big 12 look like competitive conferences without an obvious frontrunner, while the SEC has a very defined top tier and then a muddled mess after that.

So with that, here’s On3’s first Way-Too-Early Top 25 Rankings for 2024

Kirby Smart Georgia
Dec 30, 2023; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart reacts during the first half in the 2023 Orange Bowl against the Florida State Seminoles at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

1. Georgia

The Bulldogs return Heisman Trophy contender Carson Beck at quarterback, a veteran offensive line and a young defense chalked with blue-chip prospects who gained lots of experience in 2023. Kirby Smart also inked the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class and landed impact transfers like Trevor Etienne, London Humphreys and Colbie Young

The schedule in brutal, but Georgia looks set for a revenge tour in 2024.

Quinn Ewers
Quinn Ewers (Will Gallagher/Inside Texas)

2. Texas

The Longhorns will make the transition to the SEC in 2024, and despite falling just short of the national title game this fall, Steve Sarkisian’s team should be one of the top contenders again next season. 

Quarterback Quinn Ewers is expected to be back, and the offensive line should remain a strength. Texas doesn’t lack playmakers on the perimeter, and while the Longhorns must replace T’Vondre Sweat and Byron Murphy on the DL, they’ve recruited well along the front seven and grabbed one of the top pass rushers in the portal in UTSA’s Trey Moore.

Alabama QB Jalen Milroe
Jalen Milroe (Courtesy of Alabama Athletics)

3. Alabama

The Crimson Tide fell to Michigan in the College Football Playoff Semifinal, yet even in a “down year” with his “worst team since 2007”, Nick Saban still managed to win the SEC and come up a 4th-and-goal away from making the national title game

The Tide should be better offensively in a second season with quarterback Jalen Milroe having a defined starting role, while former blue-chip tailbacks Justice Haynes and Jamarion Miller look primed to electrify a Tide tailback room that’s grown stagnant of late. Alabama projects to have another Top 10 defense, too, although Saban must now hire another DC with Kevin Steele’s retirement on Monday.

dan-lanning-opens-up-on-how-being-in-big-ten-impacts-oregon-recruiting
© Chris Pietsch

4. Oregon

In their inaugural season in the Big Ten in 2024, the Ducks could arguably have the best 1-through-85 roster in the conference. Dan Lanning plucked Dillon Gabriel as his next quarterback, and Oregon also saw veterans like DL Jordan Burch, LB Jeffery Bassa and WR Ted Johnson opt to return to school. 

Oregon could get a huge boost for its 2024 hopes if tackle Ajani Cornelius decides to play his senior season in Eugene. The Ducks are also the favorites to land former 5-star wideout Evan Stewart, who visited over the weekend.

Ryan Day-Ohio State-Ohio State football-Buckeyes
(Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch/USA TODAY Network)

5. Ohio State

The Buckeyes have lost three straight Big Ten Championships, but Ryan Day & Co., appear to be lining up for a challenge to retake the throne next fall. Ohio State grabbed Kansas State transfer quarterback Will Howard out of the portal, signed the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect in wideout Jeremiah Smith and saw multiple starting defensive linemen (Jack Sawyer and Tyleik Williams, who combined for 20 TFLs) announce their plans to return to Columbus for next season. 

They also hosted Ole Miss transfer tailback Quinshon Judkins over the weekend, who would be either a top 1A or form a devastating 1-2 punch with TreVeyon Henderson, if he turns down the NFL Draft.

JJ McCarthy
© Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

6. Michigan

The 2023 national champs will have a ton of turnover heading into next season — including possibly needing to replace their head coach. As many as 15-17 players could get drafted, and many other senior contributors have exhausted their eligibility, too. 

Still, this is a program that’s recruited well enough and has a foundation for success. Whether it’s Jim Harbaugh, Sherrone Moore or Kalen DeBoer as the head coach in Ann Arbor in 2024, Michigan is going to be a competitive team in the Big Ten. 

The Wolverines’ ultimate upside could determine on the decision by quarterback JJ McCarthy. Does he stay for his senior season and develop into a true Tier 1-2 QB or head to the NFL Draft now off a title?

Dec 30, 2023; Atlanta, GA, USA; Mississippi Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin shown at the end of the game against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

7. Ole Miss

The Rebels recently saw star tailback Quinshon Judkins enter the transfer portal, but the rest of the roster is geared up for a CFP push in a 12-team field next fall. 

Quarterback Jaxson Dart is back, and he’ll have one of the better WR trios to work with in Tre Harris, Jordan Watkins and South Carolina transfer Juice Wells. Lane Kiffin has looked to overhaul Ole Miss’ defense with nearly a new startling 11 out of the portal, headlined by Texas A&M 5-star transfer Walter Nolan and Florida pass rusher Princely Umanmielen.

Social media reacts to former Duke QB Riley Leonard's Notre Dame transfer portal commitment.
Former Duke quarterback Riley Leonard carries the ball against Notre Dame on Sept. 30, 2023.

8. Notre Dame

Marcus Freeman has the Irish poised for a Year 3 leap and contention for a playoff spot next fall. Notre Dame has plugged holes on the roster using the portal, adding the likes of Duke quarterback Riley Leonard, Clemson wideout Beaux Collins and a couple impact defensive players. Freeman also swiped Mike Denbrock away from LSU as his new OC.

Dec 30, 2023; Atlanta, GA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Drew Allar (15) reacts to a referee against the Mississippi Rebels in the first quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

9. Penn State

The expanded playoff setup is meant for programs like Penn State, which has struggled to break through the crowded top of the now-defunct Big Ten East. The Nittany Lions have a pair of new coordinators in Andy Kotelnicki from Kansas State and ex-Indiana head coach Tom Allen, replacing Duke head coach Manny Diaz. Drew Allar returns for his second season as a starter, and while PSU’s defense is sending several standouts to the NFL, Abdul Carter is back to lead a likely Top 10 unit again next fall.

Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz
© Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

10. Missouri

Few programs are entering the offseason will more momentum than Eli Drinkwitz’s program. Coming off an 11-2 season, the Tigers have quarterback Brady Cook and electric wideouts Luther Burden III and Theo Wease back on offense. And Drinkwitz has quietly cleaned up in the transfer portal, grabbing another 1,000-yard tailback (Georgia State’s Marcus Carroll), a former blue-chip OL (Cayden Green) and a host of potential defensive starters in 2024. 

The Tigers must replace DC Blake Baker, who took the same position at LSU last week, but this is still a program that’s trending upward while the sport expands outward.

The rest of the Way-Too-Early Top 25 for 2024:

11. Utah
12. Oklahoma
13. LSU
14. Arizona
15. Tennessee
16. Kansas State
17. Florida State
18. Clemson
19. Louisville
20. Kansas
21.Miami
22.Oklahoma State
23. SMU
24. Iowa
25. Washington