Alabama No. 1 in preseason AP poll
by Marq Burnett
mburnett@annistonstar.com
Aug 17, 2013 | 21934 views |  0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Nick Saban and Alabama will begin this season the way it ended the last two — No. 1. (AP photo)
Nick Saban and Alabama will begin this season the way it ended the last two — No. 1. (AP photo)
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TUSCALOOSA -- Alabama will open the season as the No. 1 team in the Associated Press preseason poll, which was released today.

Alabama received 58 of the possible 60 first-place votes, with Ohio State and Georgia each receiving one first-place vote. The Buckeyes are No. 2 in the poll, while the Bulldogs are No. 5.

Oregon and Stanford complete the top five, ranked No. 3 and No. 4, respectively.

“We can’t have complacency, we can’t be satisfied with where we are,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said Saturday following a scrimmage by the Crimson Tide.

“No matter what any poll says or anything, this team hasn’t done anything to create their own identity. They need to be focused on what they want to be, what they can accomplish and what they’re willing to do to accomplish it.”

The Crimson Tide grabbed the top spot in the preseason USA Today coaches poll as well, receiving 58 of 62 possible votes.

Alabama is the AP preseason No. 1 for the fourth time. In other years, Alabama finished 10th in 2010, first in 1978 and third in 1966.

In 2010, Alabama was preseason No. 1 in both polls, but ended the year with three losses.

The Tide was No. 5 in the AP poll entering its 2009 national championship season and No. 2 in each of the past two seasons. Alabama's preseason ranking in the AP poll has been no lower than fifth since 2009.

The AP poll has no bearing on a team's BCS ranking. The coaches' poll and Harris poll, which does not release a preseason edition, represent two-thirds of the BCS equation.

Southern California opened last year as the No. 1 team in the preseason AP poll, but stumbled to a 7-6 finish. The Trojans were the last team to open and close the season at No. 1 in the AP poll when they did it in 2004.

The Tide is two weeks away from opening the season against Virginia Tech in the Georgia Dome.

AP Top 25

The Top Twenty Five teams in The Associated Press expanded preseason college football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, 2102 records, points based on 25 points for a first place vote through one point for a 25th place vote, final ranking, record vs. top 25 teams at time of game, record of opponents played, and extra points:

1. Alabama (58) 13-1 1,498 1 5-1 83-66 Two-time defending champ

2. Ohio St. (1) 12-0 1,365 3 3-0 73-68 25th consec. preseason rk

3. Oregon 12-1 1,335 2 4-1 90-62 Helfrich replaces Kelly

4. Stanford 12-2 1,294 7 5-1 103-65 Highest preseason rank

5. Georgia (1) 12-2 1,249 t5 2-2 98-68 Top tailback duo in SEC

6. South Carolina 11-2 1,154 8 3-2 95-57 Highest preseason rank

7. Texas A&M 11-2 1,104 t5 4-2 101-52 Manziel had a busy summer

8. Clemson 11-2 1,083 11 1-2 84-68 ACC preseason favorite

9. Louisville 11-2 1,042 13 1-0 70-76 Highest preseason rank

10. Florida 11-2 894 9 4-2 109-44 Need a balanced offense

11. Florida St. 12-2 845 10 2-1 86-75 Lost 11 in the NFL draft

12. LSU 10-3 802 14 3-3 95-56 Opens vs. TCU Arlington

13. Oklahoma St. 8-5 755 NR 1-3 86-67 RB Jeremy Smith gets turn

14. Notre Dame 12-1 748 4 4-1 87-56 QB Rees gets 2nd chance

15. Texas 9-4 677 19 2-3 86-68 Best team since 2009?

16. Oklahoma 10-3 579 15 2-3 92-60 Looking for improved D

17. Michigan 8-5 531 24 0-4 95-59 QB Gardner now in charge

18. Nebraska 10-4 382 25 0-2 99-67 Prolific offense, shaky D

19. Boise St. 11-2 328 18 0-1 66-85 Stays in MWC, is favorite

20. TCU 7-6 323 NR 2-3 81-71 QB Pachall returns

21. UCLA 9-5 286 NR 3-2 93-73 Embraced fast-break game

22. Northwestern 10-3 199 NR 0-0 74-76 2001 last preseason rank

23. Wisconsin 8-6 185 NR 1-3 100-64 Gary Anderson takes over

24. Southern Cal 7-6 134 NR 0-4 89-66 Who replaces Barkley?

25. Oregon St. 9-4 129 20 2-2 89-65 17 starters returning

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.

AP poll board

Bob Asmussen, Champaign (Ill.) News-Gazette; Greg Auman, Tampa Bay Times; Eric Avidon, The MetroWest Daily News, Framingham, Mass.; Brent Axe, The Post-Standard, Syracuse, N.Y.; Mike Barber, Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch; Steve Batterson, Quad City (Iowa) Times; Kirk Bohls, Austin (Texas) American-Statesman; Patrick Brown, Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times Free Press;

Ryan Brown, WJOX-FM, Birmingham; Jimmy Burch, Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram; Donovan Campbell, WSVN Miami; Christian Caple, The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash.; Robert Cessna, Bryan-College Station (Texas) Eagle; John Clay, Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader; Chadd Cripe, The Idaho Statesman, Boise; Charles Davis, FOX Sports;

Pete DiPrimio, The Fort Wayne (Ind.) News-Sentinel; Rustin Dodd, The Kansas City (Mo.) Star; Seth Emerson, The Macon (Ga.) Telegraph/Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer; Chris Fowler, ESPN; Joe Giglio, The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.; Anthony Gimino, Tucson (Ariz.) Citizen; Tim Griffin, San Antonio Express-News; Mike Griffith, mlive.com, Grand Rapids, Mich.;

Glenn Guilbeau, Gannett News Services Louisiana; Harold Gutmann, The Herald-Sun of Durham (N.C.); Rich Hammond, Orange County Register, Santa Ana, Calif.; Eric Hansen, The South Bend (Ind.) Tribune; Chris Harris, WSMV-TV, Nashville, Tenn.; Gary Horowitz, Statesman Journal, Salem, Ore.; Ed Johnson, Albuquerque (N.M.) Journal; Jon Johnson, Dothan Eagle;

Hugh Kellenberger, The Clarion Ledger, Jackson, Miss.; Josh Kendall, The State, Columbia, S.C.; Doug Lesmerises, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland; Rob Long, WJFK-105.7 Baltimore; Dave Matter, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Matt McCoy, 610 WTVN Radio, Columbus, Ohio; Sam McKewon, Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald; Tom Mulhern, Wisconsin State Journal, Madison;

Tom Murphy, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock; Chris Murray, Reno (Nev.) Gazette-Journal; Scott Nulph, Laramie (Wyo.) Bommerang; Scott Rabalais, The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.; Bill Rabinowitz, The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch; Dave Reardon, Honolulu Star-Advertiser; Kyle Ringo, Daily Camera, Boulder, Colo.; Nate Sandell, 1500 ESPN Twin Cities/KSTP AM, St. Paul, Minn.;

Keith Sargeant, Asbury Park (N.J.) Press; Drew Sharp, Detroit Free Press; John Shinn, The Norman (Okla.) Transcript; John Silver, The Journal Inquirer, Manchester, Conn.; Gary Smits, Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville; Mike Sorensen, Deseret News, Salt Lake City; Andy Staples, SI.com; Mitch Vingle, The Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette;

John Mitchell, The Philadelphia Inquirer; Sam Werner, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Jon Wilner, San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News; Scott Wolf, Los Angeles Daily News; Adam Zucker, CBS Sports Network.

Ballot breakdown

Too low. Too high. Should be in. Should be out.

The Associated Press preseason college football poll is out and the one certainty about the rankings is that outside of fans of No. 1 Alabama, everybody will have a complaint.

Ripping the rankings is a tradition as old as the poll itself. In 1935, AP sports editor Alan J. Gould decided to rank the best teams in the land by himself and put it on the wire., mostly as a conversation starter. The story goes that after he ranked Minnesota, Princeton and Southern Methodist as co-No. 1s at the end of that season, Gopher fans hanged Gould in effigy.

The next year he started letting others vote.

Considering that the Crimson Tide have won three of the last four national titles, including the last two, Ohio State fans shouldn't be too steamed about being relegated to second — at least for now. Wait until the games begin on Aug. 29.

Five more things to know about the preseason Top 25:

1) 3, IT'S A MAGIC NUMBER. Ten times in major college football has a team won two straight national championships. None have three-peated. Alabama will try to become the first. The best finish in the AP poll by a team going for its third straight championship is second. Army was No. 2 in 1946 and Notre Dame also finished second in 1948. Southern California was the last back-to-back AP champion in 2003 and '04. With a chance to make a three straight, the Trojans and their two Heisman Trophy winners (Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush) lost 41-38 to Vince Young and Texas in an all-time classic at the Rose Bowl.

2) BEST. START. EVER. Three schools will start this season with their best preseason rankings: Stanford at No. 4, South Carolina at No. 6 and Louisville at No. 9. The previous best for the Cardinal was No. 7 in 2011, the Gamecocks were ninth last year and the Cardinals were 10th in 2007.

3) STREAKING. No. 2 Ohio State has been ranked in the preseason Top 25 each of the last 25 seasons, the longest current streak. The Buckeyes also have the most overall appearances in the AP preseason poll with 60. No. 16 Oklahoma is ranked again, but had a streak of preseason top-10 rankings snapped at 12 years.

4) START TO FINISH. The preseason rankings started in 1950, and since then only 10 teams have started No. 1 and won the national championship. The list: Tennessee in 1951; Michigan State in 1952; Oklahoma in 1967, '74, '75 and '85; Alabama in 1978; Florida State in 1993 and '99; and USC in 2004. The Seminoles in 1999 and Trojans on '04 are the only teams to go wire-to-wire as No. 1 from preseason to final poll.

5) IT'S BEEN A WHILE. Coming off a 10-3 season and its first bowl victory since 1949, No. 22 Northwestern is ranked in the preseason for the first time since 2001. UCLA is back in the preseason rankings for the first time since 2007, which was also the last time Alabama wasn't ranked in the preseason poll.

--Associated Press.

Preseason AP No. 1 teams

2013—Alabama

2012—Southern Cal

2011—Oklahoma

2010—Alabama

2009—Florida

2008—Georgia

2007—Southern Cal

2006—Ohio St.

2005—Southern Cal

2004—Southern Cal-x

2003—Oklahoma

2002—Miami

2001—Florida

2000—Nebraska

1999—Florida St.-x

1998—Ohio St.

1997—Penn St.

1996—Nebraska

1995—Florida St.

1994—Florida

1993—Florida St.-x

1992—Miami

1991—Florida St.

1990—Miami

1989—Michigan

1988—Florida St.

1987—Oklahoma

1986—Oklahoma

1985—Oklahoma-x

1984—Auburn

1983—Nebraska

1982—Pittsburgh

1981—Michigan

1980—Ohio St.

1979—Southern Cal

1978—Alabama-x

1977—Oklahoma

1976—Nebraska

1975—Oklahoma-x

1974—Oklahoma-x

1973—Southern Cal

1972—Nebraska

1971—Notre Dame

1970—Ohio St.

1969—Ohio St.

1968—Purdue

1967—Notre Dame

1966—Alabama

1965—Nebraska

1964—Mississippi

1963—Southern Cal

1962—Ohio St.

1961—Iowa

1960—Syracuse

1959—LSU

1958—Ohio St.

1957—Oklahoma

1956—Oklahoma-x

1955—UCLA

1954—Notre Dame

1953—Notre Dame

1952—Michigan St.-x

1951—Tennessee-x

1950—Notre Dame

x-won national championship
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