College football is not a sport of Cinderella stories.
While teams at the bottom of Power Five conferences one year, and the occasional Group of Five program, may get their day in the sun with an opportunity to jump into a New Year's Six bowl game, the modern era of college football crowns national champions that have rosters littered with former four-star and five-star prospects.
Recruiting matters, but one strong cycle is not enough to win big. Clemson's 2016-17 title, for example, came as a result of several strong classes in a row -- from junior Deshaun Watson and his classmates to sophomore Christian Wilkins to true freshman Dexter Lawrence. All three players were highly rated prospects in top-20 classes, and even the hyper-talented Tigers didn't have the recruiting rankings of the two previous College Football Playoff National Champions (Alabama, Ohio State).
Now that 2017 National Signing Day is well in the books, our rolling talent rankings (a five-year average of the 247Sports Composite team rankings) can be updated to give a preview of the most talented teams in college football for 2017.
These rankings are raw: They don't take player attrition, player development, transfers or other factors into consideration. Instead, our goal is to use a snapshot of recruiting success over five cycles to establish some tiers heading into next season.
|Ohio State||Big Ten||3.6||2||3||7||4||2|
|Penn State||Big Ten||21.2||33||24||14||20||15|
Here's where your last 10 national champions rank on this list: Clemson (No. 12), Alabama (No. 1), Ohio State (No. 2), Florida State (No. 4), Auburn (No. 7), Florida (No. 10), LSU (No. 3)
Perhaps underperforming relative to their talent: Georgia (No. 5), Notre Dame (No. 8), Texas A&M (No. 9), Tennessee (No. 11), UCLA (No. 13)