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After the spring football season went off relatively smoothly for most Ohio State and other college programs, we’ve seen a slew of projections when it comes to the top 25 teams heading into this fall. We even went out and performed the exercise ourselves.

Well, our mothership, national USA TODAY Sports also did the same, with Erick Smith in the driver’s seat for the exercise.

We don’t have to tell you that Ohio State is pretty high on this projection, as it has been with almost every single one we’ve seen, but where are the Buckeyes after the recent update. In the first way-too-early projection by Smith has OSU at No. 5 behind Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Clemson.

But now that has changed a wee bit. Let’s get to where Smith has Ohio State after all the fun of spring and beyond, and what he says about the Buckeyes in 2021.

NEXT … USA TODAY’s ranking of Ohio State football for 2021

No. 3 – Ohio State (up two spots from previous)

Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; against the Ohio State Buckeyes players huddle up before the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Hard Rock Stadium. Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

What Smith Says

“When the final whistle blew on spring practice, the question of who takes over at quarterback for Justin Fields remained unanswered. C.J. Stroud, Jack Miller and incoming freshman Kyle McCord all had an opportunity to showcase their skills. The competition will continue in the fall. The surprise decision of wide receiver Chris Olave to return will only help whomever wins the starting role. He will team with Garrett Wilson to form one of the best pass-catching tandems in the country. Key losses along both lines can be filled as the Buckeyes have stockpiled enough pieces to remain the class of the Big Ten, although they might be pushed more than usual.”

NEXT … The complete USA TODAY Top 25

USA TODAY post-spring CFB Top 25

1. Alabama

2. Oklahoma

3. Ohio State

4. Clemson

5. Georgia

6. Iowa State

7. Cincinnati

8. Texas A&M

9. Notre Dame

10. Florida

11. LSU

12. North Carolina

13. Wisconsin

14. Oregon

15. Iowa

16. Penn State

17. Indiana

18. Miami (FL)

19. USC

20. Arizona State

21. Oklahoma State

22. Texas

23. Coastal Carolina

24. Washington

25. Louisiana-Lafayette