AP Poll: Alabama, Ohio State headline first preseason rankings
By Zac Ellis
Bring on more polls! The Associated Press unveiled its preseason college football poll on Saturday, the latest rankings released to unofficially signal the countdown to kickoff. The USA Today Coaches’ Poll and SI.com’s preseason top 25 were released earlier this month.
Alabama claimed the No. 1 spot in the preseason poll with 58 of the 60 possible first-place votes (No. 2 Ohio State and No. 5 Georgia split the other two). Oregon, Stanford and Georgia rounded out the top five.
The full AP poll is below, with first-place votes in parentheses:
1. Alabama (58)
2. Ohio State (1)
5. Georgia (1)
6. South Carolina
7. Texas A&M
11. Florida State
13. Oklahoma State
14. Notre Dame
19. Boise State
25. Oregon State
Others receiving votes: Michigan St. 95, Baylor 92, Virginia Tech 86, Miami 85, Arizona St. 53, Kansas St. 43, Fresno St. 36, Vanderbilt 19, Washington 17, N. Illinois 16, Mississippi 11, Utah St. 8, Georgia Tech 6, Arizona 3, Cincinnati 3, North Carolina 3, Penn St. 2, BYU 1.
• Alabama is the preseason No. 1 for the fourth time in school history. The Crimson Tide’s 58 first-place votes matched Florida in 2009 for the highest percentage of first-place votes in the preseason poll’s history. Alabama, you might recall, has claimed three of the last four BCS titles and is vying to win its third straight, the first for any program. But history actually does not favor the Tide: Since the AP rankings began in 1950, only 10 of the 63 teams who began the season No. 1 went on to win the national championship. The most recent? USC in 2004.
• Much like the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, the SEC asserted its dominance with six teams in the AP Poll: Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Florida and LSU. Five of the AP’s top 10 were SEC teams, which were more than all but three conferences had in the entire poll. The Big Ten and Pac-12 each had five teams ranked, with the Big 12 landing four and the ACC two.
• The AP Poll mirrored the Coaches Poll by including three teams outside the Power Five conferences: Louisville (No. 9), Notre Dame (14) and Boise State (19). This was Louisville’s best preseason rankings in program history. The Cardinals and Broncos might become mainstays in the polls with their weak schedules: Neither team will play a game against another AP preseason top 25 team this season.
• The distribution of first-place votes is intriguing. It comes as no surprise that Alabama landed the vast majority of first-place love, but an AP voter actually gave Georgia one of the other two votes for the top spot. In SI.com’s preseason top 25, Georgia didn’t even crack the top 10, coming in at No. 12. SI’s staff put its stock elsewhere in the SEC, ranking South Carolina (No. 6) and Texas A&M (No. 3) ahead of the Bulldogs. The coaches failed to have as much faith in Georgia, as well, with sixth-ranked Texas A&M and No. 2 Ohio State receiving the other first-place votes in the Coaches’ Poll.
• Get ready for a battle at the top of the Pac-12 this season. Oregon (No. 3) and Stanford (No. 4) represent the highest-ranked conference duo in the poll.
• The AP Poll features the exact same 25 teams as the Coaches’ Poll, and 19 of them earned the same ranking. There are no changes in Nos. 15-25 between the two polls.
• Per Brett McMurphy of ESPN, this poll marked the first time since 1992 that the Big 12 failed to have a team ranked in the top 10 of the AP preseason poll. Oklahoma State (13) and Texas (15) were closest, with Oklahoma (16) and TCU (20) rounding out the league’s representation. Those four teams also missed the top 10 in the Coaches’ Poll, with No. 14 OSU grabbing the highest spot for the conference. Texas reached its peak with a No. 11 ranking in SI’s poll, but Oklahoma State — the favorite to win the Big 12 by some — didn’t even crack the staff’s top 25.