Who doesn’t enjoy a little bit of old-fashioned predictions for the distant future. With the recruiting Class of 2021 – the seniors of the 2025 season – taking shape, we will use this time to predict the next five national champions of college football, and the team which they victimize in that contest. Granted, the fact that the potential best team of all time, the 2019-2020 LSU Tigers, weren’t even considered a favorite for their conference title at the beginning of this season, attempting such a futuristic prediction is probably futile, but if I get even one of these right, I’ll also buying lottery tickets every day for the rest of my life. Here goes nothing.
2021: Ohio State over Auburn
Next year is Ohio State’s year. Clemson is really good, but the Buckeyes were arguably the better team in their semifinal, and Ohio State returns Justin Fields, who I believe is the best quarterback in the country. Ohio State making the national championship, however, is not the bold pick. Rather, the surprise is Auburn, who I’m taking to make it over Clemson. I think Auburn is a sneaky great pick to win the SEC, as they return a solid defense, they have Bo Nix returning under center, and in a conference that seems as wide open as its ever been, I think the Tigers pull a little surprise and sneak into the Playoff. They’ll stun Clemson in the semifinals, while Ohio State handles Oklahoma, as the Sooners make their annual appearance for a Playoff beatdown. However, the Buckeyes are simply too talented, and I doubt any team has the ability to take down Clemson and Ohio State in back-to-back contests. Clemson could easily win this, but give me the Buckeyes, if only to quit the insufferable whining from their fans.
2022: Ohio State over Georgia
Roll Buckeyes, baby. Ohio State has been struggling to break through on the big stage, but I saw a lot of things I liked from Ryan Day, and even with Justin Fields graduating, I anticipate Day to work with the talent he has – which will always be plentiful at Ohio State. The Buckeyes defeat Georgia, who wins the SEC, but the Bulldogs once again falter short of the ultimate prize. I think Clemson will be back in the Playoff due to the same old weak ACC, but without their core of Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne, and Justyn Ross, the Tigers will stumble in the semifinals. I’ll also take a sleeper pick in USC, who will be enjoying the final year of Kedon Slovis’s services; I’m very high on Slovis, and I think he will be one of the best signal-callers in the nation at this point. The Trojans’ biggest hindrance is Clay Helton, but the talent is there for them to make a little run.
2023: Alabama over Clemson
Oh yea, we are back with Bama vs. Clemson, part five. If you go by last season, and my first two projections here, Alabama will break a three-year Playoff drought with this natty, and they’ll defeat Clemson in the process, who continues to be among the best teams in the nation, but they’ll fail to give Dabo Swinney another title this year. The Tide will have their final year of star quarterback Bryce Young, and they’ll always have the defense and running game worthy of a championship contender. Saban grabs another title in 2023. As for other Playoff teams, I see Oklahoma and Ohio State making it this far, but Oklahoma, as per usually, will be walloped in the Semifinal, and the Buckeyes continue to falter against Clemson, dropping a tight one to end their three-peat chances.
2024: Alabama over Texas
Longhorn nation…We’re baaaaack”. Sam Ehlinger will be long gone by 2024, but Texas is still bringing in top notch recruiting classes, and eventually that talent manifests itself in on-field success. Meanwhile, Nick Saban defends his title, fending off Georgia and LSU in the SEC before dispatching Notre Dame and Texas en route to the title. Texas upsets Clemson in the Semifinal to reach this point.
2025: Clemson over Ohio State
Dabo Swinney finally returns to the top of the college football world, as the Tigers once again defeat the Buckeyes with the lights shining bright. Clemson and Ohio State are killing the recruiting game year-in and year-out, and they’ve been rewarded with consistent success in these projections. They’ll handle a pair of SEC teams in the semis, with LSU and Georgia both escaping the conference after meeting with undefeated records in the conference championship game.