- Ohio State
- Notre Dame
- Penn State
- Oregon - The Ducks lose some key pieces and a lot of leadership on offense, leaving a lot of Penei Sewell and CJ Verdell to lead the way, but their defense is still loaded. Losing Troy Dye, Lamar Winston and a lot of depth up front will hurt, but what returns should still be a very good unit nationally, if not even better than it was in 2019 as players like Kayvon Thibodeaux and Mase Funa progress.
- USC - The Trojans are still stacked on both sides of the ball and should be the Pac-12 favorite, but their coach leaves too many questions. Whoever starts at QB (JT Daniels or Kedon Slovis) will have a lot to work with and the defense still has studs like Jay Tufele, Palaie Gaoteote, and Talanoa Hufanga.
- Washington - The Huskies could have been a preseason Top 10 team had Jacob Eason and Salvon Ahmed returned. They still should get a decent amount of buzz with basically every important player on a solid defense returning and some young talent set to break out on offense.
- Texas A&M
- Virginia Tech
- Utah - I’m giving Utah and their coaching staff a lot of credit because they’ve been gutted by graduation and early entries. Still some nice pieces to work with in their defensive depth and they’ve shown the ability to rebuild well.
On the edge
Virginia, Arizona State, Cal, North Carolina, Iowa
I like what ASU has coming back in Jayden Daniels and the Bears have major stars to replace like Evan Weaver and Ashtyn Davis on defense, but are experienced and talented otherwise.