The Crimson Tide took the top spot in the USA Today coaches preseason poll, which was released today.
Alabama finished the 2012 season as a unanimous No. 1 in the poll after beating Notre Dame 42-14 in the BCS National Championship Game.
Going for an unprecedented third straight national title, the Crimson Tide received 58 first-place votes. Since the poll era began in 1936, a program has finished first in either of the major polls in consecutive years 12 times, but nobody has done it three years in a row.
Ohio State, which went 12-0 last season but didn’t participate in a bowl because of NCAA sanctions, is No. 2, and received three first-place votes. Oregon is No. 3 in the poll. Stanford and Georgia round out the Top 5. Five of the top 10 are from the Southeastern Conference.
The poll includes a voting panel of 62 Football Bowl Subdivision coaches, who are determined by the American Football Coaches Association by random draw. According to USA Today, coaches must agree beforehand to be included in the draw.
The Associated Press preseason poll will be released later.
The coaches poll, which has been conducted since 1950, counts for one-third of the Bowl Championship Series formula, which decides which two teams will play in the national title game. The Harris poll, which does not have preseason rankings, counts for one-third. Computer rankings count for the remaining third.
The AP poll has awarded a national title since 1936 but does not count toward the BCS formula.
This marks the third time Alabama has gone for a third national title in a row. Alabama placed third in the 1966 polls after having won two straight. In 1980, the Tide followed two straight titles with a No. 6 finish.
USA Today preseason coaches Top 25
1. Alabama (58)
2. Ohio State (3)
6. Texas A&M (1)
7. South Carolina
11. Notre Dame
12. Florida State
14. Oklahoma State
19. Boise State
20. Texas Christian
24. Southern California
25. Oregon State