No. 1 Alabama tops preseason AP Top 25 for 3rd straight season

Alabama will begin its quest for a second consecutive national championship with a rare three-peat.

The Crimson Tide is just the second team to be ranked No. 1 in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 poll for three straight seasons. Alabama received 42 out of 61 first-place votes.

No. 2 Clemson received 18 first-place votes. Georgia is No. 3 and Wisconsin is fourth. The Badgers received one first-place vote. Ohio State was ranked No. 5.

The preseason AP poll started in 1950 and since then only Oklahoma from 1985-87 had started No. 1 in three straight years until now.

Ring up another milestone for coach Nick Saban’s Tide dynasty. Alabama has won five national championships since 2009 and now has been No. 1 to start the season five times under Saban. Last season was the first time Saban’s team started and finished the season No. 1.

The Tide enter this season with a question at quarterback, but there appears to be two good answers from which Saban has to choose: Tua Tagovailoa won the College Football Playoff championship game for Alabama with a second-half comeback and overtime touchdown pass. Jalen Hurts has led the Tide to the national title game in each of his two seasons as a starter.

Whoever is quarterback, Alabama’s offense should be potent with running back Damien Harris working behind a powerful line anchored by tackle Jonah Williams.

The Tide’s always tough defense will have all new starters in the secondary, but defensive end Raekwon Davis and linebackers Mack Wilson and Dylan Moses are primed to be Alabama’s next All-Americans.

The machine never stops in Tuscaloosa. One again, everybody is chasing Alabama.

AP TOP 25

1. Alabama (42)

2. Clemson (18)

3. Georgia

4. Wisconsin (1)

5. Ohio State

6. Washington

7. Oklahoma

8. Miami

9. Auburn

10. Penn State

11. Michigan State

12. Notre Dame

13. Stanford

14. Michigan

15. USC

16. TCU

17. West Virginia

18. Mississippi State

19. Florida State

20. Virginia Tech

21. UCF

22. Boise State

23. Texas

24. Oregon

25. LSU

Other teams that received votes in the initial poll were South Carolina (96), Florida (68), Utah (60), Oklahoma St. (51), FAU (38), Arizona (28), NC State (22), Texas A&M (21), Boston College (18), Northwestern (13), Kansas St. (10), Iowa St. (8), Houston (6), Memphis (3), Troy (2), Iowa (2), Kentucky (1), Arkansas St. (1), Fresno St. (1).

NO. 1 AT BEING NO. 1

The AP poll began in 1936 and Alabama is approaching the top of a very storied list:

Ohio State — 105 weeks at No. 1

Alabama — 104

Oklahoma — 101

Notre Dame — 98

Southern California — 91

Florida State — 72

Nebraska — 70

PRESEASON FAVORITES

This is Alabama’s seventh time overall being a preseason No. 1, matching USC for fourth most.

Oklahoma — 10 preseason No. 1 rankings

Ohio State — 8

Alabama — 7

USC — 7

Florida State 6

Nebraska — 6

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