College Football News Preview 2022 preseason unit rankings, looking at the top ten offensive line situations and rankings by conference.
How good is every college football team going to be this season? How can you tell who’s going to be steady and who’s going to struggle? Start with the offensive line, and you’ll probably be on the right track.
It’s not exactly the single biggest predictor of success, but if you were to have one area of your team standout – or, at least, not be a negative – you want it to be your offensive line.
Just look at last year. Michigan, Utah, Cincinnati, Baylor – their offensive lines were fantastic.
In general, this is a bit of a rebuilding year for offensive lines, but the ones at the top either filled in the parts fast or have the stars returning to anchor their respective offenses and be fantastic.
Do the O lines have the talent, depth, and experience? In a lot of ways, these are the most important unit rankings.
CFN Preview 2022 Preseason College Football Unit Rankings: Offensive Lines
You want to see a football player get mad? Mention the words finesse offense around an Oregon O lineman – this group is nasty. This year’s starting five might still shift a few pieces around to put the puzzle together, but Mario Cristobal – an offensive line coach by trade – left the new coaching staff with a loaded bunch with five likely all-conference blockers starting with future NFL starter Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu.
Ohio State might be all about the big-time skill parts, and everyone is focusing on the defense. Meanwhile, the offensive line will keep on dominating. The depth might need a little bit, but the starting five will keep CJ Stroud clean around future NFL starters Paris Johnson and Dawned Jones at tackle.
The biggest negative with the 2021 Badger offensive line was that it wasn’t quite up to the program’s ridiculously high standard, at least when it came to consistency. It loses some good blockers, but the all-star talent is there to work around – Jack Nelson is going to be a thing at left tackle, and Joe Tippmann might be the Big Ten’s best center – and the depth is strong.
BYU’s offensive front has the potential to be one of the season’s big stories with the way it’s about to dominate. The pass protection is going to be fantastic, the left side of Blake Freeland at tackle and Clark Barrington at guard will be dominant, and somewhere in the mix will be Kingsley Suamatala, a superstar get for Oregon who’s transferring over.
There’s just enough missing from last year’s crushing line to need a wee bit of a tweak, but everything will be just fine after finishing fourth in the nation in pass protection and pounding away for over 200 yards per game. Tackle Braeden Daniels and guard Sataoa Laumea are devastating on the left side.
The line that blasted away to the College Football Playoff might be every bit as strong, even with a few parts needing to be replaced. Ryan Hayes is a terrific tackle, Zak Zinter is an All-Big Ten guard, and coming in is Olusegun Oluwatimi from Virginia as a new star at center.
Defense, defense, defense, Stetson Bennett, defense, defense. That’s what got all the hype last year – and maybe Brock Bowers at tight end – but the O line played a huge part in the national championship run. A few starters are gone, and this is a relatively young group, but the left side will be dominant and Sedrick Van Pran is a next-level talent in the middle.
It’s not like the Irish were bad on the offensive front last year, but they weren’t as strong as the 2019 and 2020 versions. However, there was supposed to be a step back in a slight rebuild, and now comes the payoff with former star recruits – like Blake Fisher at right tackle – looking ready to do a whole lot more.
There might be a ton of turnover on the Cincinnati offense, but the line that was among the best in the nation in tackles for loss allowed will be a rock again. Three First Team All-AAC veterans – guard Lorenz Metz, tackle Dylan O’Quinn, center Jake Renfro – head up an even better front five than the CFP version.
The starting O line that did such a great job in pass protection and paved the way for over five yards per carry on the way to the Big 12 title is going to be outstanding again. Tackle Connor Galvin and center Jacob Gall are All-Big 12 blockers with good parts around them.