Roster talent rankings: College football teams with the best players in 2018

Unlike its basketball counterpart, college football has not been a sport that favors Cinderella stories. Teams exceed expectations and surprise us every season, but when it comes time to crown a champion, the schools that are in position to win it all are the ones who have recruited four- and five-star players at a high level over a five-year window.

In the College Football Playoff era, 11 of the 16 available spots have been awarded to four teams: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma. Each of these programs has recruited at or near the top of their conference and average at top-15 recruiting class in the College Football Playoff era. Additionally, the teams occupying the other five playoff bids of the era (Georgia, Florida State, Oregon, Washington and Michigan State) all fall in the top 25 of our rolling talent rankings.  

Now that 2018 National Signing Day is in the books, those 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 2018.

These rankings are raw: They don't take player attrition, player development, transfers or other factors into consideration -- our partners at 247Sports cover that with Team Talent Composite, which is updated each August as rosters are finalized. Our goal here today is to use a snapshot of recruiting success over five cycles to establish some tiers heading into next season.

TeamConferenceFive-year average20142015201620172018

Alabama

SEC

2.2

1

1

1

1

7

Ohio State

Big Ten

3.6

3

7

4

2

2

Georgia

SEC

5.0

8

6

7

3

1

Florida State

ACC

5.2

4

3

2

6

11

USC

Pac-12

5.6

10

2

8

4

4

LSU

SEC

6.4

2

5

3

7

15

Auburn

SEC

9.0

6

9

9

9

12

Clemson

ACC

11.6

18

8

10

16

6

Notre Dame

INDIE

12.0

11

13

15

11

10

Tennessee

SEC

12.4

7

4

14

17

20

Texas A&M

SEC

12.8

5

11

19

12

17

Texas

Big 12

13.4

17

10

11

26

3

Oklahoma

Big 12

13.4

14

15

21

8

9

Florida

SEC

13.4

9

21

13

10

14

Penn State

Big Ten

15.6

24

14

20

15

5

Miami

ACC

16.2

12

26

22

13

8

UCLA

Pac-12

16.2

19

12

12

20

18

Michigan

Big Ten

17.8

20

38

5

5

21

Ole Miss

SEC

19.8

15

17

6

30

31

Oregon

Pac-12

20.0

21

16

28

19

16

South Carolina

SEC

20.2

16

19

26

21

19

Stanford

Pac-12

21.2

13

24

16

14

39

Washington

Pac-12

25.6

37

27

29

22

13

Michigan State

Big Ten

26.6

25

22

18

36

32

Mississippi State

SEC

27.0

35

18

31

24

27

Where the recent national champions (since 2010) rank: Alabama (2.2), Clemson (11.6), Ohio State (3.6), Florida State (5.2), Auburn (9.0)

Elite recruiting, no CFP appearances: USC (5.6), LSU (6.4), Auburn (9.0), Notre Dame (12.0)

Just outside the top 25: Nebraska (27.2), Arizona State (28.6), North Carolina (28.6), Virginia Tech (29.2), Baylor (29.8)

CBS Sports Writer

Chip Patterson has spent his young career covering college sports from the Old North State. He's been writing and talking about football and basketball for CBS Sports since 2010. You may have heard him... Full Bio

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