As expected, the Alabama Crimson Tide are the top-ranked team in the preseason AP poll, released Saturday morning. Alabama is followed by Ohio State, Oregon, and Stanford, with Georgia rounding out the top five. South Carolina, Texas A&M, Louisville, Clemson, and Florida start the season in the Top 10.
|2||Ohio State (1)||0-0||1,365||NR|
|Others Receiving Votes: Michigan State 95, Baylor 92, Virginia Tech 86, Miami (FL) 85, Arizona State 53, Kansas State 43, Fresno State 36, Vanderbilt 19, Washington 17, Northern Illinois 16, Mississippi 11, Utah State 8, Georgia Tech 6, North Carolina 3, Arizona 3, Cincinnati 3, Penn State 2, Brigham Young 1|
Alabama received 58 of 60 first-place votes. Matching 2009 Florida for highest percentage of 1st place votes received in preseason poll.— AP Top 25 (@AP_Top25) August 17, 2013
Elsewhere in fun facts:
This is the fourth time in AP poll history that Alabama has been the preseason No. 1 choice. Also in 1966, 1978 and 2010.— Cecil Hurt (@CecilHurt) August 17, 2013
Bama No. 1 in an AP poll for the 6th straight season. Since AP began in 1936, only Miami (1986-92) has also done that.— Brad Edwards (@JBradEdwards) August 17, 2013
AP Top 25 poll by league: SEC 6, B1G & Pac 12 5 each, Big 12 4, ACC 2, AAC 1, MWC 1, Notre Dame— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) August 17, 2013
Alabama finished the 2012 season as the unanimous leader of the Associated Press poll, which has not been a part of the BCS for nearly a decade. In 2003, the BCS formula kept USC, the top team in the final AP poll of the regular season, out of the national championship game to the great chagrin of AP voters. The next season, with three undefeated teams stoking further BCS controversy, the Associated Press removed its poll from BCS consideration.
There are plenty of questions for the nation's top teams to answer. The Ohio State Buckeyes, who start the season ranked second after finishing 2012 at #3, have coach Urban Meyer and quarterback Braxton Miller, but also have to handle the indefinite suspension of running back Carlos Hyde and replace six starters in the defensive front seven.
The Oregon Ducks, who finished second in the final 2012 poll, are third in this year's preseason rankings. The Ducks return almost everyone of consequence from last year's squad, including quarterback Marcus Mariota, but will be breaking in first-time head coach Mark Helfrich after former coach Chip Kelly left for the NFL.
Georgia might have the nation's best offense, but have holes to fill across the defense, including the incomparable Jarvis Jones. Stanford has 80 career starts returning on the offensive line and Kevin Hogan under center, but will need to find a replacement for Stepfan Taylor's 332 carries, as well as the top three receivers on the 2012 Rose Bowl champion.
Even mighty Alabama has holes to fill. The Tide lose two top 11 draft picks and a former Outland Trophy winner on the offensive line, cornerback Dee Milliner and safety Robert Lester from the defensive secondary, and two starters on the defensive line. At Alabama, though, there is a never-ending string of five-star prospects ready to fill the holes.
And for your reference, a comparison of the nearly identical Coaches and AP polls:
|1||Alabama (58)||Alabama (58)|
|2||Ohio St. (3)||Ohio State (1)|
|6||Texas A&M (1)||South Carolina|
|7||South Carolina||Texas A&M|
|11||Notre Dame||Florida State|
|14||Oklahoma St.||Notre Dame|
|19||Boise St.||Boise State|
|25||Oregon St.||Oregon State|