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College football rankings: Ohio State, Texas atop post-spring top 25
College Football

College football rankings: Ohio State, Texas atop post-spring top 25

Published May. 15, 2024 3:45 p.m. ET

Spring football has come and gone, the transfer portal window has closed, and we've had some moving and shaking as we get closer to the 2024 college football season.

Twelve teams will make the College Football Playoff this season, and it would not be shocking to see more than half the teams in my rankings taking up 10, or even 11, of those playoff spots.

The Big Ten and SEC will be well-represented, and knowing both are adding powerhouse programs to their respective conferences makes this the most anticipated college football season since the inception of the four-team CFP in 2014.

With that, here are my post-spring top 25 rankings.


1. Ohio State

The Buckeyes have three tasks this year: Beat Michigan. Win the Big Ten Championship. Win the national championship.

With the additions they made in the portal and to the coaching staff, the only remaining question is whether the offensive line improves from a year ago.

2. Texas

This 2024 Texas team ought to resemble 2021 Georgia. The Longhorns have shown they're capable of not just winning at a high level, but winning championships and being one of the four best teams in the nation.

With four years of the same playcallers on both sides of the ball and special teams, an upperclassman at QB who could be the first signal-caller off the board in the upcoming NFL Draft, and speed all over the field, Texas should be featured in the SEC title game. That's the bar for measuring success.

3. Georgia

The Bulldogs remain the most bankable bet to make the College Football Playoff. Kirby Smart has built a machine at Georgia, as the Bulldogs have missed the CFP just once in the last three years and are 5-1 when they do make it.

4. Oregon

Dan Lanning has succeeded in not only retaining his offensive and defensive coordinators, but also adding prized portal pickups Dillon Gabriel, Dante Moore and Evan Stewart while retaining most of his roster.

5. Florida State

Mike Norvell's program won its first ACC title in 11 seasons last year and replaced Jordan Travis with a former five-star prospect in DJ Uiagalelei. After being snubbed by the CFP selection committee last season, the Noles are righteously aggrieved and will enter the 2024 campaign looking to defend their ACC title.

6. Ole Miss

This is the only team that wasn't louder in the portal than Ohio State, and following its best season in 100 years, no Nick Saban, and a beatable Georgia team, it's time for Lane Kiffin's ‘Sip to take a big gulp.

7. LSU

Garrett Nussmeier proved he was ready to assume the QB1 role in LSU's win over Wisconsin on New Year's Day. With Blake Baker joining the program after helping Missouri to its best finish in a decade, there's reason to believe LSU can finish among the top-10 teams in the country and make its way to the 12-team playoff.

8. Michigan

The years of "Ain't Played Nobody" in the out-of-conference schedule have come to an end in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines open with Fresno State and come right back with Texas in Week 2.

The questions at quarterback remain. And as much as nothing has changed in philosophy, the absence of Jim Harbaugh will be felt. Sherrone Moore doesn't have time to play at QB, and defending the Big Ten title — let alone the national title — is not a given.

Ohio State, Texas & Michigan in RJ Young's post-spring top 25

9. Utah

Will Cam Rising be the difference once again? It's likely. Without Rising at QB — and a pig farmer replacing him for much of the year — Utah held its own in a tough Pac-12 Conference. The Utes enter their first season of Big 12 play believing they can win it.

10. Alabama

For Kalen DeBoer, the measure of success is making the SEC title game in Year 1. And that won't be easy in a beefed-up SEC — let alone following the greatest coach the sport has ever seen.

11. Missouri

Standing on business, Eli Drinkwitz's Tigers announced themselves with a win against Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl. While they'll lose All-American Cody Schrader, the Tigers ought to feel they can make a push and win an SEC title for the first time in school history.

12. Penn State

This is about where the Nittany Lions typically end up in the James Franklin era. It's really difficult to put this team in the top 10, but also really hard to put them outside the top 20.

13. Tennessee

Josh Heupel has returned Tennessee to national prominence and hopes to usher in a conference championship-caliber team led by sophomore sensation Nico Iamaleava. The Volunteers will look to lay down a marker with a schedule that features North Carolina State and Oklahoma in the first four weeks of the season.

14. Oklahoma

OU has been aching to play in the SEC since Texas damn near joined the Pac-12 behind its back. Now, the Longhorns get everything they want — from afternoon kickoffs against Bama, Tennessee, LSU, Ole Miss and Stand on Business Missouri.

The training wheels are off for Jackson Arnold, and he now has a new playcaller and a new No. 1 target at wide out. But he'll have Billy Bowman, Danny Stutsman and Ethan Downs to pick up an offense that might sputter before finding its rhythm in the midst of a stout SEC schedule — with a new defensive coordinator in Zac Alley.

15. Notre Dame

Riley Leonard and Mike Denbrock joined Marcus Freeman to help lift an offense that didn't look like the one we were promised with the ACC's most prolific passer in South Bend, Indiana, last year.

Notre Dame isn't Penn State — having played for a national title this century — but with a steady diet of 10 wins or more in six out of seven years, this ranking is a brand play. It's up to Notre Dame to improve it or lose it.

16. USC

This is the toughest team in the country to evaluate from its schedule — not a single FCS opponent — to its QB situation — is Miller Moss a dude? — to what qualifies as a successful season — making the Big Ten title game in Year 1?

This much is true: Lincoln Riley has three Heisman winners, three No. 1 overall picks and not a single win in the CFP.

USC's schedule features an opener in Vegas against LSU and 10 other teams that went bowling in 2023. The lone opponent who did not is Nebraska, and the Huskers seemed to do everything in their power to avoid bowling last season.

17. Kansas State

Avery Johnson, DJ Giddens and Dylan Edwards form a formidable backfield for new offensive coordinator Matt Wells. Kansas State is one of a handful of teams capable of winning a Big 12 title and making their first appearance in the CFP this season.

18. Iowa

If Cade McNamara shows the form he did at Michigan and Kirk Ferentz allows a modernization of the offense under new coordinator Tim Lester, there's nothing to stop Iowa from being a player in the Big Ten title race, especially given how Phil Parker's defense has performed for the last three years.

19. Oklahoma State

It's the Ollie Gordon Show in Stillwater — or it should be. Once Mike Gundy figured out his offense should run through Gordon, he became the best tailback in the country. The Pokes will be as good as he is.

20. Kansas

Now is the time for the Jayhawks to take control of the most wide open race for the Big 12 title since its inception 29 years ago.

Jalon Daniels and Devin Neal each have the talent to be the best players in this conference and to lead KU to its best season since 2007.

21. West Virginia

As I wrote in January, the Mountaineers lost just one game to an opponent who was never ranked in 2023 (Houston) and scored 34 or more points in each of their last four victories.

22. Texas A&M

Mike Elko poached former Kansas State offensive coordinator Collin Klein to run an offense that will be led by talented QB Conner Wiegman. If Elko can build a defense as good as those he had at Notre Dame and Duke, Ampersand U could find itself hunting for a top-10 ranking by November.

23. Arizona

Brent Brennan succeeded in keeping quarterback Noah Fifita and wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan in the fold, which gives him a decent foundation to enter Big 12 competition. Those two were a large part of Arizona being the surprise success of the 2023 season.

24. Clemson

It's time for the Garrett Riley-Cade Klubnik relationship to flourish. If they have success, so will Clemson in a top-heavy ACC.

25. Miami (Fla.)

Cam Ward might be the most talented quarterback Mario Cristobal has ever had as a head coach, and that might be enough to get the U back to prominence.

RJ Young is a national college football writer and analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the podcast "The Number One College Football Show." Follow him at @RJ_Young and subscribe to "The RJ Young Show" on YouTube.


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