AP Preseason Poll 2017: Complete College Football Rankings Released

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2017

TUSCALOOSA, AL - APRIL 22: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide watches his team warm up at Bryant-Denny Stadium on April 22, 2017 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
Michael Chang/Getty Images

For the second straight season and third in the last five, Alabama is the preseason No. 1 team in the country.

The Crimson Tide received 52 of the Associated Press' 61 first-place votes, putting them 99 points ahead of No. 2 Ohio State. Florida State, USC and Clemson round out the Top Five.  

Here is a look at how the entire poll played out:


2. Ohio State

3. Florida State

4. USC

5. Clemson

6. Penn State

7. Oklahoma

8. Washington

9. Wisconsin

10. Oklahoma State

11. Michigan

12. Auburn

13. LSU

14. Stanford

15. Georgia

16. Louisville

17. Florida

18. Miami (FL)

19. South Florida

20. Kansas State

21. Virginia Tech

22. West Virginia

23. Texas

24. Washington State

25. Tennessee

Alabama came within one touchdown of being a wire-to-wire No. 1 team a year ago before falling to Clemson in one of the best national title games in college football history. The Tide lost a number of elite starters on defense, but they return quarterback Jalen Hurts, who could be a Heisman contender and will be relied upon in a leadership role early in the season.

"I want to learn. I don't want to waste a failure," Alabama head coach Nick Saban told reporters at SEC media days. "What could we have done better? Because everybody's hurt by the fact that they lost, especially the way we lost that particular game on the last play of the game, but it wasn't the last play. It's what led up to the last play. And I think our players realize that."

Ohio State made the College Football Playoff last season despite a nearly broken passing game, something it hopes to fix with the hiring of offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson. J.T. Barrett enters his senior season as one of the most dynamic rushing quarterbacks in the nation but with major questions about his throwing ability. Barrett has tended to put up solid numbers against weak competition before falling apart on the big stage.

"His accuracy and his energy level is incredible," Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said, per Ryan Ginn of Land of 10. "He's got complete ownership of everything going on in that offense. He's a very accurate player."

USC won't have any questions at quarterback, with Sam Darnold considered an early Heisman favorite after a breakout freshman season. Darnold threw for 3,086 yards and 31 touchdowns against nine interceptions, leading the Trojans to nine straight wins to close the season.

"I think I've prepared my whole life for this, but at the same time I never knew it was going to get like this," Darnold told reporters at Pac-12 media days. "This opportunity doesn't come around all that often so you have really got to take advantage of it. I think that's kind of been the storyline throughout my whole football career is just taking advantage of opportunities when they are given to me. I'm not trying to blow this one." 

Florida State and Clemson appear to be the two favorites in the ACC, though the latter will have a lot of work to do replacing offensive stars. The Tigers lost Deshaun Watson, Wayne Gallman and Mike Williams to the NFL this April, leaving them without their leading passer, rusher and receiver from 2016. Their defense returns a stellar group that might be the nation's best, but Jimbo Fisher's Florida State team is arguably more well rounded.

The Seminoles will get their first crack at showing the nation how they stack up when they play Alabama in their opening contest.


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