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College Football Preseason AP Top 25 Released As Season Approaches

College Football is officially here and we already get a great game coming on Saturday night. The AP Top 25 is now here so let the debates begin.

Alabama holds the record for the most all-time appearances at No. 1 in the AP Top 25 Poll (118) and is the only program to appear in every College Football Playoff since inception.  The AP Top 25 Poll is not quite significant as it once was — voters used to single-handedly decide the national champion — and has lost a bit of its glamour since the Playoff rankings began with a selection committee determining the pecking order in 2014. Yet, they didn’t make it to No. 1 this time.

25 – Stanford
24 – Nebraska
23 – Washington State
22 – Syracuse
21 – Iowa State
20 – Iowa
19 – Wisconsin
18 – Michigan State
17 – UCF
16 – Auburn
15 – Penn State
14 – Utah
13 – Washington
12 – Texas A&M
11 – Oregon
10 – Texas
9 – Notre Dame
8 – Florida
7 – Michigan
6 – LSU

5 – Ohio State Buckeyes

Source (247Sports) – The Buckeyes have appeared in the AP Poll a nation-leading 903 times in program history, 53 more times than the next closest program — you guessed it, Michigan. But there’s something interesting about this year’s loaded team — Ryan Day is leading the show with a Georgia transfer under center and enters the season as the Big Ten’s projected runner-up. Despite beating the Wolverines seven consecutive years, the Buckeyes opened as underdogs in this year’s regular-season finale and may lose another game somewhere, per ESPN’s FPI. That’s more than enough bulletin board material to go around in Columbus for a squad with several future NFL picks ready to shine.

4 – Oklahoma Sooners

Source (247Sports) – Everyone points to Lincoln Riley’s eye-popping success with consecutive Heisman winners and the immediate impact potential of former Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts, but let’s look at the other side of the football for a second. If the Sooners show a pulse defensively, that’ll be an improvement on last season’s horrid numbers. First-year coordinator Alex Grinch inherits a unit with 10 returning starters, so the bodies are there. Oklahoma’s primary competition in the Big 12 is Texas and Iowa State, but TCU and Oklahoma State could have a say in the top-tier of the race as well. Riley is 24-4 over two seasons as coach, really impressive after following a legend in Bob Stoops.

3 – Georgia Bulldogs

Source (247Sports) – Will this be the year Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs finally upend Alabama and hand Nick Saban the first loss of his career against a former assistant? It’s hard to believe the six-time national champion has been so dominant against his protégés, but it’s true. From top to bottom, this could be Smart’s best team thus far in Athens, considering he’s got a two-year starter and All-American candidate returning at quarterback in Jake Fromm who is performing behind the SEC’s most talented offensive line. The Bulldogs host Notre Dame and battle several other Top 25 foes during the regular season, but voters feel they’ll have the team to get it done and return to Atlanta.

2 – Alabama Crimson Tide

Source (247Sports) – You won’t like Saban when he’s angry. The adage attached to Bruce Banner before he morphs into Hulk matches Alabama’s narrative nicely this season. Here’s a team, arguably the most talented in college football, coming off their worst loss in more than a decade with unfinished business dangling at the end of a stick. By the way, a Heisman finalist at quarterback returns coming off a record-breaking season for an offense blessed with arguably its most athletic collection of wideouts in program history. The season truly begins for the Crimson Tide against the SEC East champion a few months from now before another berth in the Playoff. Unless something goes haywire from now until then, Alabama is an odds-on lock to reach the final four.

1 – Clemson Tigers

Source (247Sports) – This is Clemson’s 12th appearance at No. 1, most of which have come under Dabo Swinney. The Tigers are battling history this fall, however. In the past 15 years, only two AP preseason No. 1s have won the national title and we haven’t seen a back-to-back winner since Alabama in 2011-12. Considering Clemson has the easiest schedule among teams ranked inside the Top 10, the chances are overwhelmingly good the Tigers get back to the Playoff with Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne leading the show. That NFL-driven defensive front will look different this fall, but there’s elite-level players that will step up to fill holes, including potential ACC Defensive Player of the Year Xavier Thomas.

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