It's time for the big reveal.
During recent months, we've dusted off the crystal ball and gazed three seasons into the future to size up college football's best outlooks at quarterback, offense and defense. Rosters have been reviewed and coaches have been polled to help forecast the best of the best through the 2020 season.
The final 2018 edition of the future power rankings examines the teams in total. If you dutifully tracked the previous three lists, the names at the top won't come as a surprise. The challenge is sorting out good teams that lack balance, or those that tend to overachieve or underachieve based on talent. A wild coaching cycle last winter adds to the difficulty, and coaching factored more into the total team rankings than the unit rankings.
For reference, here is last year's list.
Now, here are the most promising 25 college football teams through the 2020 season.
Future QB ranking: 3
Future offense ranking: 4
Future defense ranking: 1
Scouting the Crimson Tide: Usually there's some debate about the top spot, but not this year. Alabama comes off of its fifth national championship in the past nine seasons. Coach Nick Saban turns 67 on Halloween but has shown every intention of coaching for a while longer. The Tide's defense, their signature unit, continues to stockpile talent and should feature arguably the nation's best linebackers in 2018, complementing All-America candidate Raekwon Davis at defensive end.
"They just look different when you step on the field," an opposing offensive coordinator said. While Alabama's quarterback situation is drawing more attention than normal because of the unique dynamic, the outlook could be better than ever. Jalen Hurts is a proven winner, and Tua Tagovailoa gives Alabama a passing element it has lacked during this historic run. The only potential concerns, other than Saban retiring before 2020, are how a shuffled coaching staff will adjust this season, and whether there's enough quarterback depth if and when one of the top contenders departs.