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ESPN Releases Its Way-Too-Early Preseason Top 25 For 2018 After NFL Declarations

Kirk Herbstreit speaks on ESPN about college football.

Here's ESPN's way-too-early top 25 for the 2018 season.

Yes, it's already time to look ahead to next season. Alabama won the title for the fifth time in nine years, but can the Tide do it again next season?

Moments after Alabama beat Georgia in the College Football Playoff national title game, ESPN released its way-too-early preseason top 25 for the 2018 season. The Crimson Tide, unsurprisingly, sat at No. 1.

A little over a week later, ESPN released a new top 25. After college football stars either declared for the draft, or announced their return, ESPN's Mark Schlabach decided to return and make a new top 25.

Alabama, as usual, lost several stars to the draft. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Calvin Ridley, Da'Ron Payne, and others decided to enter the draft rather than return for another year.

On the other side of the spectrum is Clemson. Despite being eligible for the draft, defensive linemen Austin Bryant, Clelin Ferrell and Christian Wilkins and linebacker Kendall Joseph.

Ferrell and Wilkins were projected first-round picks and had the potential to go top 15. However, both are returning to Clemson, which prompted a change at the top of Schlabach's rankings.

After debuting at No. 2, Clemson now sits at No. 1 while Alabama dropped to No. 2. A few other changes have been noted as well.

Here's the full top 25:

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Ohio State
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Georgia
  6. Wisconsin
  7. Washington
  8. Miami
  9. Michigan State
  10. West Virginia
  11. Penn State
  12. Stanford
  13. Auburn
  14. Michigan
  15. Virginia Tech
  16. TCU
  17. Boise State
  18. USC
  19. Mississippi State
  20. Notre Dame
  21. UCF
  22. Florida State
  23. LSU
  24. Texas
  25. South Carolina

Stanford underwent the largest jump, hopping up to No. 12 after debuting in the first rankings at No. 18. The return of Bryce Love, who is draft eligible, is the man reason for the Cardinal jumping up.

There will be plenty of other declarations that might shake up the rankings going forward. The 2018 season can't get here soon enough.