ESPN releases 2021 preseason college football power rankings

·7 min read

The ESPN college football staff got together earlier this week and compiled a complete top 25 power ranking for the 2021 season.

We know the Wisconsin Badgers will find themselves in most top 25 rankings, polls and metrics heading into the year. While I’ve extensively expressed my displeasure with the preseason AP Poll, there is at least the indication out there that Wisconsin is in line for a big bounce back after 2020’s 4-3 campaign.

Related: Ranking the quarterbacks in the Big Ten entering the 2021 football season

Here is ESPN’s complete top 25 power ranking, included with their short thoughts on the Wisconsin Badgers:

Contact/Follow us @TheBadgersWire on Twitter, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin news, notes, opinion and analysis.

Arizona State

Dec 31, 2019; El Paso, Texas, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils head coach Herm Edwards is doused by Frosted Flakes by his players moments after defeating the Florida State Seminoles 20-14 in the Sun Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss

Jan 2, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA;Mississippi Rebels defensive back Tylan Knight (4) breaks up Indiana Hoosiers wide receiver Whop Philyor (1) catch during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Louisiana

Dec 26, 2020; Dallas, TX, USA; Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns running back Elijah Mitchell (15) smiles after receiving the MVP award after the game against the UTSA Roadrunners at Gerald J. Ford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Coastal Carolina

Coastal Carolina's Reese White (2) rushes while defended by South Alabama's Christian Bell (49) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Conway, S.C. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)

Texas

Dec 31, 2019; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Texas Longhorns quarterback Casey Thompson (8) runs the ball during the second half against the Utah Utes at the Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State

Apr 17, 2021; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin looks on during the Penn State spring practice at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Alberti-USA TODAY Sports

Washington

Dec 5, 2020; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies defensive back Trent McDuffie (22) forces a fumble by Stanford Cardinal running back Austin Jones (20) during the fourth quarter at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa

Dec 12, 2020; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa senior running back Mekhi Sargent is stopped by the Wisconsin defense in the fourth quarter on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa. Mandatory Credit: Byron Houlgrave-USA TODAY NETWORK

Indiana

Dec 5, 2020; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Indiana Hoosiers wide receiver Whop Philyor (1) tries to spin away from Wisconsin Badgers safety Eric Burrell (25) after catching a pass during the first quarter at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin

Aug 30, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Paul Chryst (red hat and white shirt) and running back Jonathan Taylor (23) look on during the second half against the South Florida Bulls at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Here's what they had to say about the Badgers:

2020 record: 4-3 2021 preseason FPI: 17 Key September games: Sept. 4 vs. Penn State; Sept. 25 vs. Notre Dame Season outlook: The Badgers had an odd 2020 season with a lot of disruption from COVID-19. The team played its first game of the season against Illinois on Oct. 31, then saw its next two games canceled and didn't play again until Nov. 14 at Michigan. That wasn't conducive to breaking in quarterback Graham Mertz, who started the season completing 20 of 21 passes for 248 yards and 5 touchdowns against the Illini, but finished the season with 4 touchdowns and 5 interceptions in the final six games. Getting some semblance of normalcy and consistency will be key for Mertz and the offense. Having him step into a leadership role will be important, and the Badgers need to come out of the gate in a similar fashion to 2020 with Penn State first on the schedule in 2021. -- VanHaaren

Miami

Nov 30, 2019; Durham, NC, USA; Miami Hurricanes quarterback Jarren Williams (15) hands off the ball during the second half against the Duke Blue Devils at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

LSU

Nov 9, 2019; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; LSU Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow (9) and LSU Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron celebrates with teammates after defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide 46-41 during the second half of an NCAA college football game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

USC

Nov 14, 2020; Tucson, Arizona, USA; USC Trojans running back Markese Stepp (30) slips the tackle of Arizona Wildcats defensive back Christian Roland-Wallace (4) during the second half at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Florida

Dec 30, 2020; Arlington, TX, USA; Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen talks with Florida Gators running back Malik Davis (20) in the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma Sooners at ATT Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati

Jan 1, 2021; Atlanta, GA, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell shows emotion after a touchdown against the Georgia Bulldogs in the second quarter of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina

Nov 14, 2020; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Sam Howell (7) runs for a touchdown as Wake Forest Demon Deacons defensive linemen Miles Fox (11) and Carlos Basham Jr. (9) defend in the fourth quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame

May 1, 2021; Notre Dame, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Jack Coan (17) runs the ball in the first half of the Blue-Gold Game at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon

Jan 2, 2021; Glendale, AZ, USA; Oregon's Cyrus Habibi-Likio (33) hurdles Iowa State's Greg Eisworth II (12) during the first half of the Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic

Iowa State

Dec 28, 2019; Orlando, Florida, USA; Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Brock Purdy (15) throws the ball against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the second half at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M

Jan 2, 2021; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Texas A&M Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher coaches from the sidelines against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State

Team Brutus quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) throws a pass during the Ohio State Buckeyes football spring game at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Credit: Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch-Imagn Content Services, LLC

Georgia

Georgia associate head coach and offensive line coach Matt Luke during warm-ups before the start of the Georgia G-Day Spring football game in Athens, Ga., On Saturday, April 17, 2021. (Photo/Joshua L. Jones, Athens Banner-Herald)

Clemson

Jan 13, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) reacts as he walks off the field after losing the College Football Playoff national championship game to the LSU Tigers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma

Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver CeeDee Lamb (2) holds up the most outstanding player trophy after the game against the Baylor Bears in the 2019 Big 12 Championship Game at AT&T Stadium. Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama

Alabama offensive lineman Jedrick Wills Jr. (74) silences the crowd after an Alabama touchdown during the first half at Kyle Field Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019 in College Station, Texas. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

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