Once again, Alabama is in the top spot in college football.
The Crimson Tide are loaded for another run at the national title in the minds of college football coaches who voted them to their lofty perch in Thursday's preseason Amway Top 25 poll.
This is the fifth straight year that Alabama has entered the season in the top spot, and while that may look like the coaches have rubber-stamped the Crimson Tide to that position, head coach Nick Saban has a team that is loaded with talent and he has proven his worth as one of the game's all-time best coaches.
Amway Coaches Poll
3. Ohio State
9. Penn State
11. Notre Dame
12. Michigan State
15. Southern California
17. Virginia Tech
18. Mississippi State
19. Florida State
20. West Virginia
22. Boise State
23. Central Florida
25. Oklahoma State
Clemson, Ohio State and Georgia follow at Nos. 2, 3 and 4, respectively, and if those teams maintain their spots at the end of the season, they would conceivably join Alabama in college football's version of the Final Four: the College Football Playoff.
However, it would be highly unlikely for the season to play out just the way the coaches predicted.
If Alabama wasn't such a dominant team, there might be a boatload of criticism from any one of the contending schools, saying their team should be ranked at the top. That's not the case this year, but Clemson's Orange and White pointed out that the Tigers have consistently exceeded expectations:
Georgia made it all the way to overtime of the national championship game last year, and the Bulldogs have a powerful quarterback-running back combination in Jake Fromm and D'Andre Swift. Seth Emerson of The Athletic points out that the Bulldogs have not seen this kind of respect in a decade:
USA Today college football writer Paul Myerberg pointed out that the Southeastern Conference, the Big Ten and the Big 12 were all receiving quite a bit of respect from the coaches:
Michigan is the fifth of five Big Ten schools in the poll, as they are behind Ohio State, Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan State. The Wolverines face a brutal schedule, and it may be tough for Michigan to maintain its position, as Zach Shaw of CBS points out:
UCF had an undefeated team last year and the Knights and issued a well-publicized challenge to Alabama at the end of the season.
The Knights are ranked 23rd in the Amway poll and are clearly unhappy.