AP Preseason Poll 2018: Complete College Football Rankings Released

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2018

Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm (11) throws a pass during their NCAA college football training camp practice Friday, Aug. 3, 2018 in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore/Associated Press

The Associated Press released its first poll of the 2018 college football season Monday, with a number of familiar teams atop the rankings.

Below, we'll go through the poll and take a look at the teams that compose the top of the rankings.

            

Rankings

1. Alabama

2. Clemson

3. Georgia

4. Wisconsin

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

                  

Analysis

Butch Dill/Associated Press

There aren't many surprises atop the rankings, with all four of last year's playoff teams in the top seven.

Alabama, unsurprisingly, is No. 1 overall. Offensively, the Crimson Tide have two quarterbacks in Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts who are good enough to start for most teams and a deep group of running backs, led by Damien Harris and Najee Harris, who should pound the rock and wear down opposing defenses.

Defensively, the Crimson Tide lost a slew of starters, but as always, the team is loaded with young talent to replace the departing players. Bet against Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide at your own peril.

Clemson is loaded too, led by a defensive line that could be one of the best college football has seen in quite some time. Defensive ends Austin Bryant and Clelin Ferrell and defensive tackles Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence are all studs who should dominate most offensive lines.

As if that wasn't enough, the Tigers also return quarterback Kelly Bryant and many of their top weapons from the 2017 season. Last year was supposed to be something of a rebuilding year for Clemson after it lost a number of key players, including quarterback Deshaun Watson. Instead, the Tigers made the College Football Playoff.

They should be scary good in 2018.

Georgia lost its two best running backs and some talented players throughout the roster, but no matter. The Bulldogs are loaded once more, led by quarterback Jake Fromm, running back D'Andre Swift and a talented defense highlighted by cornerback Deandre Baker and defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter.

Ohio State's season will ultimately be defined by the ongoing Urban Meyer investigation, but on the field the Buckeyes once again have talent up and down the roster. Even in a tough Big Ten—Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan State and Michigan will all be good—they should be the class of the conference.

Oklahoma's season, meanwhile, will largely hinge on the quarterback battle between Kyler Murray and Austin Kendall and how Baker Mayfield's replacement fares. Whoever wins the job will be surrounded by talent, from a fantastic offensive line to playmakers like Rodney Anderson, Marquise Brown and CeeDee Lamb.

The Sooners will score points in bunches this season. As usual.

As for the other contenders, Washington should be the class of the Pac-12 this season, while Miami likely will be Clemson's tightest competition in the ACC. But don't be surprised if this year's playoff ends up looking very similar to last year's edition.

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