No surprise: Alabama No. 1 in AP poll
August, 17, 2013
By Sam Khan Jr. | ESPN.com
When the Associated Press Top 25 dropped Saturday morning, there was no surprise at the top: Alabama was a clear-cut No. 1.
The reigning BCS champions, which have won three of the past four titles, are the preseason No. 1 team in both major polls for the first time since 2010. The Crimson Tide received 58 of 60 possible first-place votes in the AP poll. Ohio State was a distant No. 2 in the rankings.
The Tide were also a landslide No. 1 in the coaches' poll earlier this month. The path to the BCS title will go through Tuscaloosa, Ala., if the rankings are any indication.
The top 5 was identical to that in the coaches' poll, with Oregon, Stanford and Georgia following the Tide and Buckeyes. The SEC is well represented in the rankings, with six teams filling out the Top 25 and two in the top 5. South Carolina is sixth, Texas A&M comes in at No. 7, and Florida is 10th, giving the conference five teams in the top 10, just as it had when the coaches' poll debuted earlier this month.
LSU is the other SEC team in the top 25, coming in at No. 12.
The polls are clear evidence of the national perception of the SEC and its strength in football. With almost half the conference in the top 25, the league has the most teams -- by far -- in the top 10 and the most overall in the Top 25. The Big Ten and Pac-12 each have five teams, and the Big 12 has four, though none higher than Oklahoma State at No. 13.
Fifth-ranked Georgia comes in as a dark horse title contender after coming mere yards within winning the SEC championship game against Alabama a year ago. South Carolina, which is coming off an 11-2 season, figures to challenge Georgia for the SEC East and a berth in the league's title game this year, as will Florida.
Texas A&M must find out the fate of quarterback Johnny Manziel, but if he is available to play, there is every reason to believe that the Aggies will be a serious factor in the SEC. LSU, which finished second in the SEC West a year ago, fills out what looks to once again be arguably the toughest division in college football.
History might not be on Alabama's side when it comes to starting No. 1. The last team to be a preseason No. 1 and finish the season there was USC in 2004. Florida State also did it in 1999. According to ESPN Stats & Info, five teams since 1990 have garnered at least 50 first-place votes in the preseason AP poll. None have gone on to win the national title.
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Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35