If the headline sounds familiar, there’s a reason.
In addition to being a near unanimous preseason No. 1 team in this year’s USA Today coaches poll, Alabama received all but two first-place votes in this year’s preseason Associated Press top 25 poll. To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Tide are overwhelming favorites to get back to the BCS championship game, the final one before the start of College Football Playoff.
It’s the fourth time Alabama has been voted a preseason No. 1 team by the AP. However, only three times in the past 31 years have the AP preseason No. 1 team won a national title (Florida State in 1993 and ’99; USC in 2004).
Ohio State, the team many feel will challenge for a BCS title in 2013, received a No. 2 ranking with one first-place vote. Pac-12 North foes Oregon and Stanford come in a No. 3 and No. 4, and Georgia rounds out the top five with the final first-place vote. South Carolina comes in at No. 6, Texas A&M — currently with Johnny Manziel — ranks at No. 7, Clemson at No. 8, BCS title dark horse Louisville checks in at No. 9, and the Florida Gators finish out at No. 10.
The SEC leads all conferences with six teams in the poll, five of which are in the top 10. The Big Ten and Pac-12 have five teams each, with the Big 12 placing four teams. The ACC has two representatives, while the AAC and Mountain West each have one. And if you’re getting a sense of déjà vu, you’re not (completely) crazy. Nineteen of the teams featured in the AP and USA Today poll are in the exact same spots.
Below is the full top 25 poll with first-place votes in parentheses.
1. Alabama (58)
2. Ohio State (1)
5. Georgia (1)
6. South Carolina
7. Texas A&M
11. Florida State
13. Oklahoma State
14. Notre Dame
19. Boise State
25. Oregon State
Others receiving votes: Michigan St. 95, Baylor 92, Virginia Tech 86, Miami 85, Arizona St. 53, Kansas St. 43, Fresno St. 36, Vanderbilt 19, Washington 17, Northern Illinois 16, Mississippi 11, Utah St. 8, Georgia Tech 6, Arizona 3, Cincinnati 3, North Carolina 3, Penn St. 2, BYU 1.
Some other notes from this year’s preseason poll:
— Alabama’s 58 first-place votes match Florida in 2009 for the highest percentage in poll history.
— In the past five years, four AP preseason No. 1 teams finished 10th or lower.
— Alabama is No. 1 in an AP poll for the sixth straight year. Since the poll began in 1936, only Miami (1986-92) has accomplished that feat.
— This is the seventh time that Ohio State has been named the No. 2 preseason team in the AP poll.
— Oklahoma State’s No. 13 preseason rank is the lowest a Big 12 team has been ranked to the start the season in conference history. Says something about how wide open the conference looks to be this year.
— Stanford (No. 4), South Carolina (No. 6) and Louisville (No. 9) have their highest AP preseason rankings in history.