The 2021 college football season is underway. So there's no better time for predictions.
NCAA.com's Michella Chester sat down with B/R's Adam Kramer before the season to discuss his five predictions for this year.
Without further ado, let's get started. Here were Adam Kramer's preseason predictions:
5 predictions for the 2021 college football season
1. Who will take home the Heisman Trophy this fall?
It was thrilling to see Alabama WR DeVonta Smith win the Heisman Trophy last year and it would be great to see a defensive player like Oregon DE Kayvon Thibodeaux win this go around. Yet, when looking at the landscape of this award, the formula is still: find a quarterback on a dominant team. Here are the candidates:
Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei
When we saw glimpses of DJ Uiagalelei last year, he was brilliant. When Trevor Lawrence couldn't play, Uiagalelei filled in at Notre Dame and was outstanding, even in a loss. Uiagalelei is the full package and has one of the strongest arms to come through college football in the last 10 years. If you were going to build a quarterback, this is what he'd look like. He's sure to succeed with the talented pieces Clemson has put around him.
Georgia QB JT Daniels
Georgia is poised for success this year and the quarterback will be a big part of it. Last year, Daniels transferred in late and got injured, but when he played, he played well. With a lot of talent around him, Daniels should see his name in the Heisman conversation all year.
Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler
Spencer Rattler and Oklahoma should have a tremendous year this year. After a slow start last year, Rattler should hit the ground running in his second year under center. With head coach Lincoln Riley and a good supporting cast, Rattler's statistics should keep him in the Heisman race.
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Texas RB Bijan Robinson
An all quarterback list of Heisman candidates would be boring, but Bijan Robinson can spice things up. Towards the end of the season last year, Robinson impressed. He'll now play in new head coach in Steve Sarkisian's offense and should be heavily involved in both the run game and pass game. Robinson is fit to be successful in this offense and can crash the Heisman party.
2. What team(s) will surprise this year?
This year's surprise will come from the Group of 5 teams that will stake their claim and push to be the talk of the season. Last year, we saw teams from the Group of 5 assert themselves in a way they haven't before. While some may credit 2020's success to a shortened season, that is not the case as these surprise teams are really good football teams.
It's hard to call Coastal Carolina a surprise after last year's performance, but with a look at their roster, they can do it again. Likewise, after a remarkable 2020, Cincinnati has the talent to make a push for the Playoff. Louisiana has a great opportunity against Texas in Week 1 as well.
These surprise teams can crash through college football's front door and turn the sport on its side. It's always great to root for the "little guys."
3. What is 2021's game of the year?
No. 5 Georgia vs. No. 3 Clemson
We don't have to wait long for the game of the year as No. 5 Georgia takes on No. 3 Clemson. The matchup is shaping up to be one of the most exciting opening football games in quite some time.
The Bulldogs and Tigers are two of the best recruiting teams in the country, with rosters featuring dozens of players who will be on NFL sidelines in the near future. There are great quarterbacks, wide receivers and defensive players across the board. If you like watching great athletes perform, this is the game for you.
Georgia and Clemson each have College Football Playoff aspirations entering this game and this season. While a victory will surely boost the winner's Playoff hopes, the loser of this game is not out of the Playoff conversation by any means. The selection committee will look at this game and not drop the loser very far in the rankings, but rather the committee will look highly upon the two teams' willingness to play each other.
No. 1 Alabama at No. 6 Texas A&M
A less obvious game of the year candidate is found in College Station when Alabama visits SEC foe Texas A&M. Despite the loss of QB Kellon Mond and new pieces on the offensive line, Texas A&M has come full circle under head coach Jimbo Fisher. The Aggies get to play at home this year in what will be an unbelievable atmosphere. Facing a rebuilding Alabama team, Texas A&M has been groomed for this moment and this is the spot for them to make their mark.
4. What is the boldest prediction for this season?
Alabama will miss the College Football Playoff. Normally, saying a team will miss the Playoff isn't a bold take, but this is a Crimson Tide team that is used to being the number one seed, has been the AP number one numerous times and is the defending national champion. Alabama has been one of the most dominant teams in college football, but this will be a challenging year by Alabama's standards.
The Crimson Tide enter this season after losing talent across the board. They lost a Heisman-winning wide receiver, a different top-10 NFL draft pick wide receiver, a first-round quarterback, and one of the best running backs in school history. Alabama also lost pieces of an offensive line that was one of the best in football. The defensive side of the ball also lost talent, including a shut-down cornerback that was a top-10 NFL draft pick.
As easy as Nick Saban has made the yearly rebuild in Tuscaloosa look, this one is a bit harder. Bryce Young stepping in at quarterback is a likable move, but the talent lost from last year combined with another offensive coordinator change presents more challenges than ever before.
The 2021 schedule for Alabama has difficult road games throughout. It won't be easy for the Crimson Tide. They won't be one of the teams in the field for the next edition of the College Football Playoff.
5. What teams will make up the College Football Playoff field and who will be the National Champion?
The four teams that will make the College Football Playoff are Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Clemson.
Fans have been waiting for a Georgia team like this. There is so much talent on display for the Bulldogs this season. They should be able to take advantage of a lot of moving parts in the SEC. This is the team that head coach Kirby Smart has been trying to build.
Ohio State will feature a new quarterback under center, but their roster has plenty of talented quarterbacks to choose from. Whoever starts will be surrounded by a ton of returning talent on offense and one of the sport's best offensive minds in head coach Ryan Day. Although the Big Ten has other good teams like Wisconsin, Iowa and Penn State, the talent gap between the Buckeyes and the rest of the Big Ten is growing. Look for Ohio State to make another Playoff appearance.
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The six-time defending Big 12 champion Oklahoma Sooners should be dominant in the conference once again. While teams like Texas and Iowa State will challenge for conference supremacy, Spencer Rattler and the Oklahoma offense will be too good.
Outside of the opening game against Georgia, Clemson has an easy schedule. Thanks to scheduling, Clemson should dominate and return to the College Football Playoff once again.
National Champion Pick
Georgia will win this year's College Football Playoff Championship. The Bulldogs have all the talent and resources to take the next step. Once Georgia gets past the first game, they'll enter an SEC with multiple teams in rebuilding mode, including Alabama. This Georgia team is good in so many places, especially quarterback. With JT Daniels, it has found its quarterback that can take them to the next level.