football

Team rankings: Long way to go for 2016

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Editor's Note: The team rankings below were valid as of August 1, and do not reflect player commitments after that date.
National Signing Day for the class of 2016 is about 550 days away.
The vast majority of kids in the 2016 class aren't even thinking about committing right now.
Most of those that have committed will take visits to other schools, and some
will decommit.
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Throw in the fact that Rivals.com will re-rank class of 2016 prospects about a
half dozen times in those next 550 days, and you have pretty weak argument for
the relevance of looking at the 2016 team rankings. But college football is all
about spirited fans getting excited about the season, way too far in advance.
So we join that spirit to give you a very early look at which teams are off to a
great start in 2016.
Can the 'Canes stay on top?
The Miami Hurricanes are one of those teams where, if they simply take
care of business in their backyard, they will have a very highly ranked
recruiting class. The program's four highest-ranked commitments in the class of
2016 are from the Broward/Dade area, the main reason they are No. 1 in 2016.
The Hurricanes have not had a top five recruiting class since the class of 2008.
Last year's 2014 class spent much of the summer and fall in the top five but
ended up No. 12 after Signing Day.
Miami hasn't threatened the top five in the class of 2015, though there is still
a long way to go.
Perhaps 2016 will be the year the Canes net a top-five class.
Is Baylor for real?
Baylor's highest finish in the Rivals.com team rankings was No. 31 in
the class of 2013. However, the Bears are not strangers to solid starts. In June
2013, the program's 2014 class climbed as high as No. 10. For the current class
of 2015, BU hit No. 13 in April but has since fallen to No. 38.
But No. 2 is a new level for the Bears. Though its early, it looks like Baylor
could parlay its BCS run on the field into its best recruiting class ever.
Alabama still reigns
We are still in an unprecedented era of recruiting domination by the Crimson
Tide. They have a huge lead in the 2015 team rankings. If that translates into
the Rivals.com National Recruiting Title, it will mark the seventh time in the
last eight classes that Alabama has earned the final No. 1 spot.
For next year's class, Alabama's 578 points come from just three commits. It's
hard to imagine the Tide not being a major factor once again.
James Franklin and Penn State start hot again
Wednesday's commitment from 2016 Rivals100 defensive end Shane Simmons
showed James Franklin's recruiting prowess. In the days leading up to
Simmons' announcement, Florida State seemed to be the popular prediction,
but Penn State won out -- vaulting them into the early top 10 for the 2016
rankings.
Penn State's 2015 class is still the story. The Nittany Lions actually had the No. 1
class for a few hours on April 14 and have been no lower than sixth since then.
Penn State started out hot in 2015 and has stayed near the top. It will be
interesting to watch Franklin and staff try to do the same for their 2016 class.
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