College football top 25 rankings: It gets better for Clemson post-spring, Florida and Texas rise

Is this on its way to being the best offseason ever for Clemson? The Tigers completed a productive spring. Dabo Swinney signed the largest contract in college football history. The NFL Draft spread the Clemson brand all over the league. The Tigers landed the No. 1 overall recruit in the Class of 2020.

Can it get better? You bet. The Tigers end the spring like they ended last season -- on top of the college football world and these top 25 rankings. This run of excellence may just be getting started for Swinney, who is 18 years younger than Nick Saban.

The spring did little to narrow the gap between the nation's top two teams. Within that, Clemson may have widened the gap on everyone else. Sure, Alabama isn't going anywhere, but is it possible that Clemson is just getting started?

Here's where our top 25 stands with 2019 spring practice in the books.

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1 Clemson Swinney's salary could buy Bulgaria. Trevor Lawrence is good enough to play in the NFL. Another round of game changers is about to populate the defensive line. It's the best time ever to be a Tiger. --15-0
2 Alabama The only sign of offseason weakness has been Saban's new hip. Even then, the football program's official website sent out a tweet showing Saban working (standing up) the day after surgery. Message: Saban and the Tide aren't going anywhere. --14-1
3 Georgia How do you wish to think of these Dawgs -- the team that had Bama down by two touchdowns in the SEC Championship Game or the team that was worn down by Texas in the Sugar Bowl? --11-3
4 Oklahoma Quarterback U welcomes Jalen Hurts, who showed flashes of improvement in the little time he played as a Bama backup. The defense has to get better under Alex Grinch ... doesn't it? --12-2
5 LSU Ed Orgeron seemingly has everything in place to make a run at the SEC West. No Devin White, but quarterback Joe Burrow has his top five receivers back. --10-3
6 Ohio State The moment Justin Fields became eligible, the Buckeyes had a chance to repeat as Big Ten champions ... and maybe more. --13-1
7 Florida The Gators were one of the most improved teams in the nation (4-7 to 10-3) in Dan Mullen's first season. Emory Jones at quarterback intrigues me ... if he can beat out Feleipe Franks. --10-3
8 Texas Is Texas back? When it starts winning championships, which may be this season. Tom Herman has is rolling in Year 3. The defense returns only two starters. --10-4
9 Michigan Shea Patterson's final season opens with the return of four offensive line starters. There are massive holes on defense with the loss of Chase Winovich, Rashan Gary and Devin Bush. --10-3
10 Oregon The last Pac-12 team to post consecutive top six recruiting classes might have been USC under Pete Carroll. Mario Cristobal is about to do that in 2019-20. --9-4
11 Notre Dame For the foreseeable future, the Irish are going to be playoff contenders. Brian Kelly suggested in a Yahoo story he may retire at Notre Dame. For now, the Irish could use more team speed on both sides of the ball. --12-1
12 Utah The Utes are the Pac-12 South favorites (maybe more) with key returners at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end and cornerback. --9-5
13 Wisconsin Call 2018 a hiccup. The Badgers should rebound and win the return of Heisman Trophy-contending tailback Jonathan Taylor. Four starters have to be replaced on the offensive line. This being Wisco, they will. --8-5
14 Texas A&M There are others who think this is the Aggies' breakout year. There are too many question marks, plus a brutal schedule (check out November!) to put the Ags in the top 10. Kellen Mond takes on added duties with the loss of single-season rushing leader and all-SEC tailback Trayveon Williams. --9-4
15 Washington The Jacob Eason era should pick up where the Jake Browning era ended. The former Georgia quarterback transferred when Jake Fromm began his ascension in 2017. Under Chris Petersen, the Huskies will always be a factor in the Pac-12. --10-4
16 UCF Josh Heupel deserves loads of credit for inheriting a winning streak that reached 25 games and managing the program through the gruesome loss of McKenzie Milton. Brandon Wimbush should be a nice replacement as Knights are the Group of Five New Year's Six favorite for third consecutive year. --12-1
17 Nebraska How do the Cornhuskers show up in the top 25 after a 4-8 season? Nebraska responded nicely under Scott Frost after an 0-6 start. Quarterback Adrian Martinez should take a giant leap forward. --4-8
18 Iowa State The Cyclones lose RB David Montgomery and WR Hakeem Butler, but QB Brock Purdy is set to become a breakout star. Matt Campbell's coaching ability will keep the Clones hovering around the top 25 all season. --8-5
19 Army West Point The Black Knights have double-digit wins in back-to-back seasons (21 total). That has never happened at Army. Coach Jeff Monken could write his ticket at a lot of places. He's sticking around to show us that academy football can be top 25 worthy. --11-2
20 Penn State The loss of Tommy Stevens to the dreaded transfer portal has to hurt. Stevens was in the running for quarterback job vacated by Trace McSorley. The Nittany Lions have to go to Michigan State and Ohio State. --9-4
21 Washington State Gardner Minshew and his mustache are gone. Eastern Washington transfer Gabe Gubrud will be the latest quarterback to become a star under Mike Leach. The Cougars will continue to play quality defense under Tracy Claeys. --11-2
22 Auburn Gus Malzahn is back to calling plays, which means the buck stops with him offensively. The Tigers backslid to a 8-5 record in the first season of Gus' seven-year, $49 million contract. Auburn will run the ball with authority while breaking in a new quarterback. --8-5
23 Minnesota P.J. Fleck is making real progress in Year 2 with the Gophers. He at least gets the Big Ten culture. Right tackle Daniel Faalee may be the biggest player in college football at 6-foot-9, 400 pounds. --7-6
24 Northwestern Clemson QB transfer Hunter Johnson arrives with a chance for the Wildcats to go back-to-back in the Big Ten West. Doubt them at your peril. --9-5
25 Iowa Pencil the Hawks in for something like 8-4. They always seem to be hovering around that record each year. In the suddenly formidable Big Ten West, Iowa plays at Nebraska, Wisconsin and Northwestern. Penn State and Michigan are also on the schedule. --9-4
CBS Sports Senior Writer

Dennis Dodd has covered college football for CBS Sports since it was CBS SportsLine in 1998. He is one of only seven media members to attend all 16 BCS title games and has chronicled conference realignment... Full Bio

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