With the 2021-2022 college football season coming to an end, some teams had unexpected rebound years, while others did not meet expectations. Nevertheless, this season was exciting and is one to remember. Let’s take a look at the teams that boomed and busted.
1 – Cincinnati Bearcats (13-1)
The first team is the Cincinnati Bearcats who finished their season at 13-1 with their only loss coming from the Cotton Bowl Classic against Alabama. This team was fueled by an aggressive defense and strong run game, and with these two strengths, they were able to win a lot of their games. Going undefeated with nine wins coming in American Conference play made Luke Fickell the head coach—a strong case for being in the college playoffs. The 13-1 record was also the strongest of Fickell’s five years at Cincinnati and looks to build upon the appearance in the 2022 College Football Playoffs (CFP).
2 – Georgia Bulldogs (14-1)
The national champions of 2022 showed why they’re the best team in college football with outstanding defense and unbelievable offense supporting their path to the top. Kirby Smart, in his sixth year, was able to snap the school’s 40-year national championship drought with its win against another South-Eastern Conference (SEC) product in Alabama. The base of this team came from its strong defense, which only allowed an average of just under 270 yards per game. The team looks to build on a strong season and reestablish the top spot once again.
3 – Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (13-1)
The Ragin’ Cajuns had a ragin’ year with a 13-game win streak to finish the season 13-1. Their perfect 8-0 record in the Sun Belt Conference proves their team figured something out in order to win and hold the sixteenth seed in the Associated Press Poll. They are led by Billy Napier, who has been Louisiana’s coach for four years and has had a 40-12 record over those seasons. The team looks to continue its dominant years and earn some recognition as it continues to get better.
1 – Iowa State Cyclones (7-6)
The Cyclones, having come off a Fiesta Bowl win in 2020 and being ranked No. 7 in the country at the start of the 2021 season, looked to make a case for the playoffs and continue to win. However, the 2021 season became a disappointment when they could only produce a 7-6 record and finished unranked. Iowa State also lost its bowl game to end the season to Clemson, 20-13, in the Cheez-It Bowl. However, Matt Campell has had a 42-34 record being the head coach of Iowa State and fans can expect him to turn the team around.
2 – University of Southern California Trojans (4-8)
After a strong start, a 5-1 record, to a shortened season in 2020 due to COVID-19, the Trojans came back and could not continue their hot streak. The now-Donte-Williams-led Trojans returned with a 4-8 record and finished unranked after starting with the 15th seed. Their defense was very weak against the run, and their recruiting class of 2022 is ranked 34th in the country which is relatively lower than what they usually are. However, in that class, they are picking up one five-star, cornerback Domani Jackson, who is ranked the No. 6 overall player nation-wide and No. 1 at the position. USC will look to rebound now with a new head coach and a fresh start.
3 – Texas A&M University Aggies (8-4)
The Aggies, having come off the 2020 season with a 9-1 record and finishing with the No. 5 seed in the country, did not reach the same success in 2021. While it was not their worst season, the 8-4 Aggies did not finish ranked in the AP Poll, nor did they make it to a bowl game. Jimbo Fisher, who finished his fourth year with Texas A&M, has an overall record of 34-14. One surprise from their season was their win against at the time top seed Alabama at home 41-38. However, they will need to have strong recruiting and good preseason work to rebound from the unranked season.
This season proved that everything from Davids to Goliaths can win or lose. More and more teams are finding their way into the rankings and proving college football is not predictable.That is why fans love watching college football: because of the unpredictability of the sport and never feeling like the win is locked up. College football is always changing, with teams getting new recruits or players going off to the NFL draft. For the upcoming 2022 season, look for more changes in the rankings, and more excitement.