AP Preseason College Football Poll: Alabama No. 1

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By RALPH D. RUSSO AP College Football Writer

With two of the best players in the country leading the way, Alabama is No. 1 in The Associated Press preseason college football poll for the second straight season and ninth time overall.

Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young, national defensive player of year Will Anderson Jr. and the Crimson Tide received 54 of 63 first-place votes and 1,566 points in the Top 25 presented by Regions Bank released on Monday.

Auburn didn’t make the poll, but had a total of 15 votes, the same as Mississippi State and one more than Florida.

Ohio State is No. 2 with six first-place votes (1,506 points) from the media panel and defending national champion Georgia is third with three first-place votes (1,455 points).

Clemson is No. 4. Notre Dame rounds out the top five, setting up a tantalizing opener at Ohio State on Sept. 3.

The Tide’s preseason No. 1 ranking is the seventh in 15 years under coach Nick Saban. Since the preseason rankings started in 1950, only Oklahoma with 10 has been No. 1 in the initial poll more often than Alabama.

The Crimson Tide started last season No. 1 and finished ranked No. 2 after losing the national championship game to the Southeastern Conference rival Bulldogs.

Alabama has been in the preseason top five in each of last 14 seasons and in the preseason top three in 13 straight. The Tide’s 31st preseason top-five ranking this year matches Ohio State for the most in poll history.

Turning preseason No. 1 into a national championship has proved tricky throughout history, even for Alabama.

The Crimson Tide has gone on to win the national championship after starting No. 1 just once under Saban and twice overall.

Since the AP preseason began in 1950, there have been 11 preseason No. 1 teams that also finished the season top ranked. Alabama was the last to do it (2017).

NOTABLE LEFTOUTS

— LSU with new coach Brian Kelly will start the season unranked for the first time 2000, Saban’s first of five seasons as coach of the Tigers.

— Florida and Florida State are both unranked to start the season, which has not happened since 1974.

AP PRESEASON COLLEGE FOOTBALL POLL (SEC TEAMS IN BOLD)

  1. Alabama (54) 
  2. Ohio State (6)
  3. Georgia (3)
  4. Clemson
  5. Notre Dame
  6. Texas A&M
  7. Utah
  8. Michigan
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Baylor
  11. Oregon
  12. Oklahoma State
  13. North Carolina State
  14. USC
  15. Michigan State
  16. Miami (FL)
  17. Pittsburgh
  18. Wisconsin
  19. Arkansas
  20. Kentucky
  21. Ole Miss
  22. Wake Forest
  23. Cincinnati
  24. Houston
  25. BYU

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Categories: Alabama, National Sports