The Associated Press released its preseason college football top 25 on Monday, unsurprisingly with Clemson and Alabama looking down at everyone else. Here’s a quick look.
2. Alabama (14-1): It’s the first time since 2015 that the Crimson Tide has not been ranked No. 1 to start the season.
3. Georgia (11-3): Ranked No. 3 to start the season for the second straight year, the Bulldogs have loads of returning starters (except at wide receiver).
4. Oklahoma (12-2): Sooners quarterbacks have won two straight Heisman Trophies. Can Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts become the third?
5. Ohio State: (12-2): Ryan Day begins his first full season as Buckeyes coach. The last Ohio State coach to be ranked so high to start his first season? Woody Hayes in 1951 (No. 3).
6. LSU (10-3): The Tigers are one of the nation’s deepest teams, but it still might not be enough to unseat Alabama in the SEC West.
7. Michigan (8-5): Wolverines Coach Jim Harbaugh is 0-4 against Ohio State, losing by 29, three, 11 and 23 points. A fifth such loss this season wouldn’t be good.
8. Florida (10-3): The Gators are ranked in the preseason top 10 for the first time since 2010, Urban Meyer’s last season in Gainesville.
9. Notre Dame (12-1): The Fighting Irish have to travel to Georgia, Michigan and Stanford this season.
10. Texas (10-4): The last time the Longhorns were ranked in the preseason top 10 (2010), they finished 5-7.
11. Oregon (9-4): Quarterback Justin Herbert spurned the NFL to return to Eugene. Defensive improvement is needed, however.
12. Texas A&M (9-4): The Aggies have road games this season at Clemson, Georgia and LSU. Brutal.
13. Washington (10-4): At 32-9 over the past three seasons, the Huskies have been the most consistent team during the Pac-12′s down cycle.
14. Utah (9-5): It’s just the third time the Utes have been ranked in the preseason top 25.
15. Penn State (9-4): The young Nittany Lions might be a year away from returning to title contention.
16. Auburn (8-5): In any other conference, the Tigers likely would be title contenders. In the loaded SEC West, they’re looking up at three other teams.
17. Central Florida (13-0): The Golden Knights’ last regular season loss was in November 2016.
18. Michigan State (7-6): The Spartans closed last season 1-3, scoring exactly six points in each of the losses.
19. Wisconsin (8-5): The Badgers hope last year’s injuries and inexperience on defense are behind them.
20. Iowa (8-5): The Hawkeyes have been ranked in the preseason six previous times under Coach Kirk Ferentz. They finished the season ranked higher all six times.
21. Iowa State (8-5): The Cyclones have earned a preseason ranking exactly once before, in 1978.
22. Syracuse (10-3): Coming off their first season with double-digit victories in 18 years, the Orange earned its first preseason ranking since 1998.
23. Washington State (11-2): Mike Leach brought in Gage Gubrud as a graduate-transfer quarterback from Eastern Washington. In 2016, Gubrud threw for 475 yards in EWU’s upset of the Cougars.
24. Nebraska (4-8): Scott Frost’s debut season at his alma mater started dismally (0-6) but ended strong (4-2, the two losses coming by a combined eight points).
25. Stanford (9-4): The Cardinal is ranked in the AP preseason top 25 for the ninth straight season.
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