Alabama, Ohio State top 2016 College Football Future Power Rankings

Alabama leads the ESPN College Football Future Power Rankings, but Clemson and Michigan are looking to close the gap. ESPN Illustration

Welcome back, Alabama. After being overtaken by Ohio State for the top spot in 2015, the Tide have returned as the No. 1 team in the College Football Future Power Rankings.

First, a refresher: FPR is a projection of a program's strength over the next three years, not just the 2016 season. An eight-person panel of ESPN reporters and analysts -- Heather Dinich, Brad Edwards, Travis Haney, Sharon Katz, Tom Luginbill, Ted Miller, Adam Rittenberg and Mark Schlabach -- graded teams based on five criteria, which were weighed differently to account for their impact on overall sustained success. The criteria: coaching (27 percent of the formula), current talent (27 percent), recruiting (20 percent), title path (16 percent) and program foundation (10 percent).

One team you won't find is Baylor. The Bears climbed from No. 24 in 2013 to 19th in 2014 and then reached 14th in 2015. But the program plummeted in these rankings after the university and athletic department become engulfed in a scandal involving the handling of sexual assault cases.

Beginning with the reigning national champions, here is the top 25 of the 2016 College Football Future Power Rankings: