Yet another day, yet another post-spring top 25, but not yet another top 20 ranking for the Cards.
2015 record: 8-5, 5-3 ACC
Returning starters: 9 offense, 8 defense, 0 special teams
Post-spring outlook: After winning six of their last seven games in 2015, the Cardinals are flying high heading into the offseason. Another reason for optimism: quarterback Lamar Jackson's rapid improvement. After becoming only the third player in FBS history to run and pass for more than 200 yards in a bowl game (Texas' Vince Young and Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel were the others), Jackson threw for 519 yards with eight touchdowns (against the No. 2 defense) in the spring game. He has plenty of skill players coming back around him, but the Cardinals will have to improve an offensive line that ranked next-to-last in sacks allowed (44) last season. Top pass rushers Trevon Young (fractured hip) and Devonte Fields (shoulder surgery) missed spring practices.
I'll go ahead and note here before someone else does that Tobijah Hughley is still on the team, and therefore not a "key loss." The other four, yeah, you got 80 percent.
Alabama is No. 1 in the rankings, Clemson No. 2, Florida State No. 4, Houston No. 18, North Carolina No. 19 and Miami No. 24.