8. Alabama (12-2)
Before Nick Saban retired, I had Alabama all the way up at No. 2 in my way-too-early rankings but I needed some time to revise that. The legendary head coach who is arguably the greatest of all time (not actually an argument, in my opinion) decided to hang it up shortly after the season and now Washington's Kalen DeBoer has taken over.
I'm not quite sure how I feel about that.
Yes, DeBoer is a great coach and I think he'll have success at Alabama, but I'm not sure he's the kind of coach that can handle the pressure of following in Saban's footsteps. But you have to give him credit for accepting the challenge and doing so after leading Washington to its second playoff appearance in school history and first national title game in the playoff era.
Plus, with Michael Penix Jr. leaving, it felt like the perfect time for DeBoer to get a fresh start somewhere else where the resources and blue-chip players are plentiful.
Jalen Milroe will be back at quarterback and the Tide bring in the nation's No. 3 recruiting class. On top of that, DeBoer has convinced a few of his guys to transfer to Alabama with him in Germie Bernard, Parker Brailsford, and Austin Mack. He also brings in a few other high-impact transfers, headlined by Domani Jackson.
Alabama will have the talent and I'm sure DeBoer will lead them to a playoff berth, but will the Tide be good for the foreseeable future? I'm just not sold on DeBoer as a recruiter.