Alabama tops Ohio State, Georgia in preseason AP Top 25

Another college football preseason poll has Alabama as the No. 1 team in the country.

On the heels of last week’s coaches poll, the preseason Associated Press Top 25 was unveiled on Monday with the Crimson Tide topping the rankings ahead of No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Georgia. Alabama lost to Georgia in the national championship game last season but returns Heisman winner Bryce Young at quarterback and potential No. 1 pick Will Anderson off the edge.

Ohio State had the nation’s best offense in 2021 but did not win the Big Ten for the first time since 2016 following a loss to rival Michigan. OSU is expected to be just as good, if not better, on offense in 2022 and brought in Jim Knowles from Oklahoma State to overhaul a disappointing defense. Georgia, meanwhile, lost 15 players to the NFL draft but still has one of the most-talented rosters in college football.

Alabama received 54 of the 63 first-place votes while Ohio State received six and Georgia received three.

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (9) sets up to throw a pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Florida, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Clemson at No. 4 after down season

Behind those three teams is Clemson at No. 4. The Tigers won 10 games last fall but their six-year ACC championship streak came to an end due to massive struggles on offense. But with one of the nation’s top defenses returning, Clemson is expected to get back in the College Football Playoff chase this season.

Next are Notre Dame at No. 5 and Texas A&M at No. 6. The Irish are entering their first season with Marcus Freeman as head coach following Brian Kelly’s departure to LSU. Texas A&M is in its fifth season under Jimbo Fisher and is still trying to push past Alabama in the SEC West. The Aggies upset the Crimson Tide in 2021 but the team’s 8-4 record was considered a disappointment.

Rounding out the top 10 are defending Pac-12 champion Utah at No. 7, defending Big Ten champion Michigan at No. 8, Oklahoma at No. 9 and defending Big 12 champion Baylor at No. 10.

Notably, Oklahoma is in the top 10 after both its Big 12 title streak was snapped and after Lincoln Riley left for USC. Speaking of USC, the Trojans are ranked No. 14 after going 4-8 last year. With the arrival of Riley, QB Caleb Williams and WR Jordan Addison, USC is one of the most-hyped teams in the country.

Ahead of USC is Oregon at No. 11, Oklahoma State at No. 12 and NC State at No. 13. Oregon saw its coach Mario Cristobal leave for Miami and subsequently hired Dan Lanning, who coached Georgia’s national championship-winning defense. Oklahoma State was in the CFP hunt into the month of December last year while NC State returns QB Devin Leary and a loaded defense.

Further down the list are Miami at No. 16 and defending ACC champion Pittsburgh at No. 17. Later are three consecutive SEC teams — Arkansas, Kentucky and Ole Miss — at 19 through 21.

Cincinnati, the first Group of Five program to ever reach the College Football Playoff, is ranked No. 23, one spot ahead of fellow AAC (and future Big 12) member Houston.

Rounding out the rankings at No. 25 is BYU.

Below is the full Top 25 and other teams who received votes.

  1. Alabama

  2. Ohio State

  3. Georgia

  4. Clemson

  5. Notre Dame

  6. Texas A&M

  7. Utah

  8. Michigan

  9. Oklahoma

  10. Baylor

  11. Oregon

  12. Oklahoma State

  13. NC State

  14. USC

  15. Michigan State

  16. Miami

  17. Pittsburgh

  18. Wisconsin

  19. Arkansas

  20. Kentucky

  21. Ole Miss

  22. Wake Forest

  23. Cincinnati

  24. Houston

  25. BYU

Others receiving votes: Tennessee 180, Texas 164, Iowa 163, Penn State 160, LSU 55, Fresno State 32, Minnesota 31, UCF 27, Purdue 17, Mississippi State 15, Auburn 15, Florida 14, Kansas State 14, North Carolina 9, Boise State 5, Air Force 4, Appalachian State 4, South Carolina 2, UCLA 2, San Diego State 2, Utah State 2, Nebraska 1