Even after a record-tying showing in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft (six picks) and breaking the record for number of players selected in the first two rounds (eight), Alabama has enough young talent ready to step in that the Crimson Tide have ended the spring practice season on top of CBS Sports’ post-spring college football rankings.
Now, technically, spring practice hasn’t wrapped up everywhere; however, last Saturday saw the final big wave of spring games and the last month has brought the conclusion of on-field work for most FBS programs. Now is a good time to reset the discussion of the best teams in the country.
The Crimson Tide ended 2020 at No. 1 in the CBS Sports 127, the comprehensive ranking of every FBS team by the experts here at CBS Sports and 247Sports, and are likely to retain that spot when the CBS Sports 130 is released ahead of 2021 kickoff.
As far as these post-spring rankings are concerned, Bama is joined in the top five by other familiar names. Clemson checks in at No. 2 followed by Oklahoma, Ohio State and Georgia in order. Of the top 10 teams in the post-spring top 25, eight finished last year also in the top 10. Only North Carolina and Oregon are new to the top 10, each seeing the benefits of New Year’s Six appearances and a spring practice sharpening the focus on College Football Playoff contention.
It seems like a big bounce back is expected from Big Ten teams like Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan. Of the trio, only Wisconsin (4-3) finished the season with a winning record, though all three faced unique challenges due to the circumstances of the season. The additions of Ohio State, Iowa and Indiana — all teams that did fare well last season — give the Big Ten six teams in our post-spring top 25, the most of any conference.
The SEC has the second-most teams ranked with five (all in the top 16), followed by the Big 12 and Pac-12 with four each. The ACC is fifth among the Power Five with three teams ranked in the post-spring top 25, while the AAC and Sun Belt have one selection each.
We will return again in a couple months for an official 2021 preseason edition of the CBS Sports 130. This is just a taste-test of the landscape, asking those same voters for ballots with all the news and notes from spring practice in mind.
College football rankings: Post-spring top 25
* Ranking in postseason CBS Sports 127
Want more college football in your life? Listen below to our breakdown of the post-spring top 25 and subscribe to the Cover 3 College Football podcast for top-notch insight and analysis beyond the gridiron.