Despite what many others would have you believe, college football — and Ohio State football specifically — is the best time of the year. And while the Buckeyes won’t be running out of the tunnel in the venerable “Horseshoe” for another few months, the game of college football is a year-round speculative and newsworthy one.
To that end, we’re sure to see many, many more early top 25 opinions between now and when we first see the games come to television and streaming devices near you, and we’re sure to put a few out there ourselves.
In fact, our mothership, USA TODAY, has its latest top 25 look after spring ball, and you can bet Ohio State is up among the adult table at the front of the room once again.
But where? What about Ohio State’s Big Ten brethren, and other blue-bloods we normally see at or near the top of the sport? Here’s a look at USA TODAY’s Erick Smith and his post-spring college football top 25 in least to greatest order.
Nov 23, 2019; Columbia, MO, USA; A general view of a Tennessee Volunteers helmet during the second half against the Missouri Tigers at Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field. Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 28, 2021; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins placekickers Luke Akers (99), Nicholas Barr-Mira (2), Ari Libenson (96), and RJ Lopez (93) pose during the game against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors at Rose Bowl. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
No. 22 (-2)
Oct. 27, 2018; Columbia, MO, USA; A general view of a Kentucky Wildcats helmet during the game against the Missouri Tigers at Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field. Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
No. 24 (+1)
Nov. 21, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers defensive lineman Deslin Alexandre (5) and defensive lineman Rashad Weaver (17), and wide receiver Will Gipson (14) celebrate after defeating the Virginia Tech Hokies at Heinz Field. Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
AUBURN, AL – AUGUST 30: Arkansas Razorbacks mascot Big Red flexes during the game against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan Hare Stadium on August 30, 2014, in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
No. 19 (+2)
Dec 28, 2019; Arlington, Texas, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin celebrates with wide receiver Jahan Dotson (5) and quarterback Sean Clifford (14) after a touchdown during the second quarter against the Memphis Tigers at AT&T Stadium. Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
No. 20 (No Change)
Oct. 30, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Cougars wide receiver KeSean Carter (20) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Southern Methodist Mustangs at TDECU Stadium. Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
No. 16 (-3)
Michigan State Spartans quarterback Payton Thorne (10) runs the ball against the Maryland Terrapins during first half action Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, at Spartan Stadium. Credit: USA TODAY Sports Network
No. 17 (-1)
Nov 6, 2021; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; Wake Forest Demon Deacons quarterback Sam Hartman (10) looks to pass in the fourth quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
No. 15 (-2)
Oct. 30, 2021; Stillwater; Oklahoma State Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy looks up at the scoreboard during the fourth quarter against Kansas Jayhawks at Boone Pickens Stadium. Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports
No. 12 (-4)
Dec 19, 2020; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers offensive lineman Jon Dietzen (67) and Wisconsin Badgers fullback Mason Stokke (34) celebrate Wisconsin’s first touchdown in the game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers during the first half at Camp Randall Stadium. Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports
No. 11 (-4)
Dec 6, 2019; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks mascot Puddles poses with a rose during the Pac-12 Conference championship game against the Utah Utes at Levi’s Stadium. Oregon defeated Utah 37-15 to earn a Rose Bowl berth. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
No. 18 (+4)
Nov 27, 2021; Stanford, California, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman stands on the sideline during the second quarter against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium. Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
No. 9 (-4)
Oct. 30, 2021; Waco, Texas, USA; Baylor Bears quarterback Gerry Bohanon (11) celebrates a 31-24 win over the Texas Longhorns during an NCAA football game at McLane Stadium. Stephen Spillman-USA TODAY Sports
No. 14 (+2)
Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras (7) stands with teammates tight end Bryce Schulte (48) and defensive back Riley Moss (33) after an NCAA college football game in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl against Kentucky, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. Credit: USA TODAY Sports Network
No. 10 (-1)
Nov 13, 2021; Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA; A North Carolina State Wolfpack helmet seen on the sideline during the second half against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Truist Field. Credit: William Howard-USA TODAY Sports
Oct. 30, 2021; Provo, Utah, USA; Brigham Young Cougars running back Tyler Allgeier (25) runs in for a fourth-quarter touchdown against the Virginia Cavaliers at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
No. 13 (+4)
Sep 4, 2021; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies running back Devon Achane (6) celebrates his touchdown in the third quarter against the Kent State Golden Flashes at Kyle Field. Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports
No. 5 (-3)
MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – DECEMBER 31: J.J. McCarthy #9 of the Michigan Wolverines in action against the Georgia Bulldogs in the Capital One Orange Bowl for the College Football Playoff semifinal game at Hard Rock Stadium on December 31, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
No. 8 (+1)
Dec 3, 2021; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Utah Utes quarterback Cameron Rising (7) celebrates against the Oregon Ducks in the second half during the 2021 Pac-12 Championship Game at Allegiant Stadium. Utah defeated Oregon 38-10. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
No. 7 (+1)
Nov 7, 2020; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney signals to his players in the second quarter against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium. Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
No. 4 (-1)
Sep 4, 2021; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners’ placekicker Gabe Brkic (47) celebrates with teammates during the second half against the Tulane Green Wave at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
No. 5 (+1)
Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) hands off to running back TreVeyon Henderson (32) during the first quarter of the NCAA football game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. Credit: USA TODAY Sports Network
No. 2 (-1)
Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart holds the National Championship trophy after defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2022 CFP college football national championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
No. 3 (+1)
Oct. 23, 2021; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) celebrates after a touchdown against the Tennessee Volunteers during the second half at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
No. 1 (No Change)
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