AP Preseason Poll 2019: Complete College Football Rankings Released

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2019

Clemson's Trevor Lawrence (16) scrambles out of the backfield during Clemson's annual Orange and White NCAA college football spring scrimmage Saturday, April 6, 2019, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
Richard Shiro/Associated Press

For the first time since 2015, Alabama is not the No. 1 team in the country in the preseason Associated Press poll. 

That distinction instead is given to defending champion Clemson, which edged out the No. 2 Crimson Tide. Georgia, Oklahoma and Ohio State round out the Top Five.

Here's how the entire poll played out:

1. Clemson

2. Alabama

3. Georgia

4. Oklahoma

5. Ohio State

6. LSU

7. Michigan

8. Florida

9. Notre Dame

10. Texas

11. Oregon

12. Texas A&M

13. Washington

14. Utah

15. Penn State

16. Auburn

17. UCF

18. Michigan State

19. Wisconsin

20. Iowa

21. Iowa State

22. Syracuse

23. Washington State

24. Nebraska

25. Stanford

Clemson already was named the preseason No. 1 in the Coaches' poll for the first time in school history. The Tigers are coming off a historic 15-0 season that culminated in a 44-16 beatdown of Alabama to win their second national title in three years. They return one of the best offenses in the nation led by Trevor Lawrence, a Heisman contender who is considered perhaps the most can't-miss NFL quarterback prospect of this generation.

"Our program has won 15 in a row. People want to talk about streaks. This team ain't won one. They ain't won a game. Haven't played a game, haven't won a game. There is no carryover," coach Dabo Swinney told reporters. "But I think the best part of our program has been the buy-in of that year after year after year after year. And that's allowed us to be very consistent and be one of the more consistent teams in the country.

"So we start over. We don't assume anything. We've got to be unbelievable teachers this year."

Alabama had opened each of the last three seasons holding the No. 1 moniker, and this drop down to No. 2 arguably represents a shift in the sport. The Tide return a cabal of elite players and had the No. 1 recruiting class in the country, but they're something of a redemption story after laying an egg against Clemson.

Tua Tagovailoa, who could be next year's No. 1 overall pick, will be looking to bounce back after finishing his season on a sour note. After playing nearly flawless football during the regular season, Tagovailoa was benched in the fourth quarter of the Tide's SEC Championship Game win over Georgia and struggled until garbage time against Clemson. Four of his six interceptions on the season came in the two biggest games of the year.

"Towards the end of the season, we turned the ball over a little bit more offensively than what we had in the first half of the season," Alabama coach Nick Saban told reporters. "And I'm sure that he wants to make sure that the decision making that led to some of those things are something that he can improve on.

"I think that, you know, we'd like for him to learn. Tua is a great competitor so he's going to try to make a great play every play. And sometimes those things have worked out extremely well. And other times they've led to some disasters. So having a little better judgment about when to say when can be an asset from a health standpoint as well as eliminate the negative play standpoint."

Alabama's top competitor in the SEC will again be Georgia, which will look to rebound from losing its last two games of last season. Ohio State is the Big Ten favorite but will have a new star under center (Justin Fields) and on the sidelines (Ryan Day), while a familiar face from Alabama (Jalen Hurts) will look to become the latest quarterback to ascend to greatness under Lincoln Riley. 

We have an awesome edition of Stick to Football former NFL running back Clinton Portis, discussing the AP Top 25 (7:00) and more.