College football rankings: ESPN reveals 2024 preseason poll (2024)

One of the key dates on the preseason schedule has arrived as the ESPN College Football Power Index computers have compiled and released their 134-team college football rankings ahead of what figures to be a historic 2024 season.

Football Power Index (FPI) college football rankings and computer prediction model are a measure of team strength that predicts a team’s future performance.

Rankings and scores predictions are based on 20,000 simulations of a team’s season and games, using a combination of key analytics, including scores to date, quality of opponents, team talent, recruiting, and a team’s schedule.

Teams are ranked not in order of talent like in other rankings, but by a projected point margin per game against an average team on a neutral field.

25. SMU

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FPI favors the Mustangs to win 8.3 games this season, their debut campaign as members of the ACC after realignment, with a 16.6 percent chance to make the expanded College Football Playoff.

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Jedd Fisch is out after leaving to coach Washington, but Noah Fifita returns at quarterback, as does Tetairoa McMillan at wide receiver to keep this offense going, with a 7.9 win projection in the expanded Big 12 title hunt.

23. Miami

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Arguably one of college football's most improved offensive cores after a successful transfer portal haul that included quarterback Cam Ward, wide receiver Sam Brown, and tailback Damien Martinez. Miami is projected to win 8.2 games with a 9.9 percent shot to win the ACC championship.

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The loss of quarterback Will Howard won't hurt as much given the presence of dual-threat Avery Johnson back under center for the Wildcats, who get Colorado transfer back Dylan Edwards to pair with DJ Giddens, who posted over 1,200 yards and 10 TDs a year ago. KSU is getting 8.4 wins on FPI.

21. Louisville

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Jeff Brohm secured another large transfer class this offseason after losing a ton of the production that put the Cardinals in the ACC title game last year. Tyler Shough steps in at quarterback, and he has ex-Bama wideout Ja'Corey Brooks going deep. FPI gives Louisville 7.9 wins this season.

The pressure is on for Billy Napier, moving into Year 3 with a sub-.500 record both overall and in the SEC, with no appearances in the official rankings, and looking at one of college football's toughest schedules nationally. FPI gives the Gators just 5.9 wins and an 0.7 percent chance to win the SEC.

19. Auburn

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Hugh Freeze won six games in his Auburn debut a year ago behind one of the SEC's least-productive passing attacks. Payton Thorne is back to lead that unit, but Freeze worked at upgrading the wide receiver corps, and 5-star Cam Coleman is crucial to that project. FPI gives the Tigers 7.2 wins.

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Caleb Williams is out and Miller Moss steps in at quarterback with some good first impressions from the bowl game, but the real question is whether D'Anton Lynn can do to USC's defense what he did to UCLA's last year, as the Trojans look ahead to Big Ten membership. FPI projects 7.1 wins here.

17. Kansas

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Good news and bad news for the Jayhawks offense: coordinator Andy Kotelnicki is out, but dynamic quarterback Jalon Daniels should return after missing much of last season with injury. One other obstacle for KU: it's playing home games in Kansas City amid stadium construction. FPI gives Kansas 8.7 wins this season.

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A genuine contender out of the SEC with returning production like quarterback Jaxson Dart and transfers like tailback Henry Parrish and pass rushers Walter Nolen and Princely Umanmielen, among others, looking ahead to an expanded playoff. Ole Miss wins 7.9 games by FPI's predictions, something on the low side in our view.

15. Clemson

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Dabo Swinney's team has missed out on the College Football Playoff the last three seasons, in part because his offense has lacked that game-breaking wideout. Until he finds one, Cade Klubnik won't fully develop in Garrett Riley's offense. Clemson's defense? That remains elite, and should keep this team in the ACC title race.

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Mike Elko steps in at head coach after the unceremonious end of the Jimbo Fisher era, and he brings experience reviving under-performing programs, as he did at Duke. Transfers like Nic Scourton, the Big Ten sack leader a year ago, and ex-Gators linebacker Scooby Williams are key pieces in a front seven that also lost plenty. FPI gives the Ags 7.6 wins this fall.

13. LSU

FPI gives the Tigers 7.9 wins this season, and a 25.3 percent chance to make the College Football Playoff. But first new coordinator Blake Baker has to make major improvements to a defense that was 118th nationally a year ago, while Garrett Nussmeier succeeds Jayden Daniels at quarterback.

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For all the major structural change college football's defending national champs have experienced, including at head coach and all over the roster, they also return important continuity: head coach Sherrone Moore is a proven commodity inside the program, while important defensive starters like corner Will Johnson return, but there are questions at quarterback and offensive line. FPI gives the Wolverines 8.3 wins.

11. Florida State

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Making replacements at quarterback, wide receiver, defensive end, and linebacker means Mike Norvell will have a busy preseason, but he has plenty of transfer additions and recruiting commitments to choose from. The most important? DJ Uiagalelei, the ex-Clemson and ex-Oregon State quarterback coming off a personal-best outing last season. FPI says 8.8 wins for the Noles.

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Brady Cook returns at quarterback and Luther Burden and Theo Wease should be one of college football's top 1-2 wide receiver duos, but the loss of Baker calling defensive plays, and some on-field personnel on that side of the ball, including three important backfield defenders, are concerns. Otherwise, FPI projects 9 wins for Mizzou against a winnable schedule.

9. Tennessee

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Nico Iamaleava is QB1 for the Vols after a terrific bowl game outing, and he has an experienced line and receiver corps to help him, in addition to tailback Dylan Sampson and a strong front seven unit. But how well can Tennessee's secondary replace outgoing production? FPI gives Big Orange 8.6 wins and a 37 percent shot at the playoff.

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SEC schedule makers weren't that kind to the Sooners ahead of their conference debut this fall, and going against that gauntlet will be a brand new offensive line protecting young quarterback Jackson Arnold. But OU's defense has been making strides and returns experience in center field. FPI gives Oklahoma 8.2 wins and a 36.6 percent chance at the playoff.

7. Notre Dame

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The first double-digit win projection on the ESPN rankings, as the index projects the Fighting Irish will win 10.1 games and have a 59.1 percent chance to make the College Football Playoff behind one of the nation's top pass defenses and key transfers like quarterback Riley Leonard and wide receiver Beaux Collins.

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Drew Allar struggled building a consistent downfield passing game, and now he's dealing with changeover on the offensive line. But he still has star backs Kaytron Allen and Nicholas Singleton and Ohio State transfer wideout Julian Fleming to replace outgoing pass catcher KeAndre Lambert-Smith.

5. Alabama

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FPI projects 9.3 wins for the Crimson Tide, which finally embarks on its post-Nick Saban future with a 14.4 percent shot to win the SEC, good for third place in that league, and a 57.2 percent chance at the playoff, with Jalen Milroe returning at quarterback, aided by what might be a strong ground game, and a promising front seven rotation.

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FPI does not list the Buckeyes as the favorite in the expanded Big Ten either to win the title or make the College Football Playoff. The index projects 10.2 wins for Ryan Day's team, plush with top-flight transfers at key positions, and with returning veteran experience especially up front defensively.

3. Texas

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Texas is headed to the SEC at a good time, coming off a Big 12 title win, its first playoff showing, and a solid roster that returns Quinn Ewers at quarterback behind a strong line and with transfers at wide receiver to make the offense go. But this is a tough schedule and the secondary needs repair. FPI projects 10 wins and a 24.2 percent shot at the SEC title.

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Dillon Gabriel and Evan Stewart are prominent transfers at quarterback and receiver, respectively, two key additions for a Big Ten-bound Ducks squad that is already physical on both lines of scrimmage. Oregon is FPI's favorite in the B1G title race, with a 37.5 percent chance to win the league crown and win 10.8 games overall, the highest number on the index right now.

1. Georgia

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Kirby Smart has replaced defensive personnel better than just about anyone in college football, and his unit returns an expected six starters there, with nine more on offense. Carson Beck is back under center and surrounded by elite skill threats at back and receiver. FPI predicts 10.3 wins for the Bulldogs, and a 79.1 percent chance to go playoff-ing.

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College football rankings: ESPN reveals 2024 preseason poll (2024)

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