Spring football has come and gone for most college football teams, giving us the opportunity to look at where things stand ahead of the 2021 season. ESPN’s Mark Schlabach expects the teams that have been powerhouses to continue to thrive, though his pick for the No. 1 team in the country is fairly interesting.
Oklahoma has been a major national factor since Lincoln Riley arrived in Norman. That isn’t expected to change, especially as Spencer Rattler continues to progress. The former five-star recruit will be the first second-year starter in Riley’s offense since Baker Mayfield, an exciting proposition given how good he looked late last season, after a rocky start to the year.
In 11 games, Rattler completed 67.5-percent of his throws for 3,031 yards, 28 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He added six scores on the ground.
“Sooners are looking to end a 21-year drought without a national championship, and coach Lincoln Riley is trying to guide his team to a victory in a CFP game after losing three in a row,” Schlabach writes for ESPN. “OU has more than enough playmakers on offense and its defense might be just good enough to do it, especially with a more-than-manageable nonconference schedule.”
ESPN post-spring power rankings:
Full list: https://t.co/ZKpMXZJKDU
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) May 4, 2021
He cites the major transfer additions that Riley has brought in to bolster an already-impressive offense, including a trio of Tennessee Volunteers, and Arkansas’ top receiver, Mike Woods.
Of course, the usual suspects in Clemson, Columbus, and the SEC will be around, though some may have more questions than usual at this point in the calendar. Here is what Schlabach’s post-spring top 10 looks like.
- Oklahoma Sooners
- Alabama Crimson Tide
- Georgia Bulldogs
- Clemson Tigers
- Ohio State Buckeyes
- Iowa State Cyclones
- Texas A&M Aggies
- North Carolina Tar Heels
- Cincinnati Bearcats
- Oregon Ducks
The second five there is far more interesting than the powerhouse-filled top five. Iowa State has been building for a few solid years under Matt Campbell, and do have things lined up for a true breakout, though that is far easier said than done. A&M and Cincinnati look to build on great 2020 seasons, and North Carolina may have college football’s top quarterback, if it isn’t Rattler, in Sam Howell.