Defending champion Alabama will enter this season where it finished last season – atop the Associated Press rankings. The Crimson Tide are No. 1 in the preseason media poll that was announced Sunday. The last four defending national champions have been preseason No 1.
Clemson, the team that Alabama defeated, 45-40, in the College Football Playoff title game, will start the season ranked No. 2. It’s the highest preseason ranking for the Tigers. Oklahoma, the team Clemson defeated in the CFP semifinal, ranked No. 3.
Seven different teams received No. 1 votes in the balloting of media representatives. That’s the most since 1998 when eight teams got first place votes. Alabama had 33 first-place votes, Clemson had 16 with Oklahoma (four), Florida State (five), LSU (one), Ohio State (one) and Michigan (one) also receiving such votes.
Alabama has been the AP final poll champion 10 times, more than any other school. Notre Dame is second with eight.
Ohio State, which was the defending national champion, went into last season ranked No. 1. Interestingly, last season Alabama won the title in the College Football Playoff but never reached the top of the AP poll during the year.
The last team to go wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in the AP poll was USC in 2004. The Trojans take on the Crimson Tide on Sept. 3 in Arlington, Texas.
Alabama holds the record for most consecutive weeks (69) ranked in the top 10. That’s an active streak so the Crimson Tide have now extended that record to 70 with its preseason ranking.
Associated Press Preseason Poll
4. Florida State
6. Ohio State
10. Notre Dame
11. Ole Miss
12. Michigan State
21. Oklahoma State
22. North Carolina