Alabama Tops 2017 Preseason AP College Football Poll
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Alabama leads the 2017 AP Preseason Top 25 College Football Poll. Yes, the Crimson Tide once again is starting at the top. Last season, Alabama lost to Clemson in the National Championship game on a last second touchdown in its only loss of the season (in the biggest game of the season).
What a finish to the season that was. Alabama will once again be a favorites for the National Championship, a title it has won four times since 2009, including just two years ago.
Surprisingly, Alabama is the only SEC school ranked in the Top 10, although the conference is well represented in the rest of the Top 25. Auburn is 12th, LSU is 13th, Georgia is 15th, Florida is 17th, and Tennessee is 25th.
Alabama opens the season in a terrific first weekend matchup, hosting #3 Florida State on September 2nd. The Seminoles were 10-3 last year, ending the campaign with a 33-32 victory over Michigan in the Orange Bowl. Florida State is looking to regain dominance in the ACC over Clemson. And speaking of the Tigers, even without QB DeShaun Watson, the AP voters see the defending champs as still one of the best. Clemson is ranked #5.
Ohio State is ranked #2. The Buckeyes are coming off an 11-2 season, but one that ended with a 31-0 blowout loss to Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl. Usually, OSU puts the hurt on other teams by such scores, so this could get ugly for Indiana. Ohio State opens on the road against the Hoosiers on August 31st, and will no doubt take out some frustration over that ignominious end to the 2016 season.
After Indiana, the Buckeyes will host the #7 Oklahoma Sooners. Last year, Oklahoma lost two of its first three, then reeled off 10 straight victories, ending with a 35-19 win over Auburn in the Sugar Bowl. The Sooners’ cross state rival Oklahoma State is #10 in the poll, and the next highest ranking Big 12 team. Other Big 12 Schools in the poll are #20 Kansas State, #22 West Virginia, and #23 Texas.
USC is ranked #4. Last season, the Trojans lost three of four to open the campaign, but won nine straight to close it out, including an exciting field goal as time expired 52-49 victory in the Rose Bowl over Penn State. USC has a difficult September schedule, opening at home against Western Michigan (unranked, but 13-1 last season). The Trojans will then host #14 Stanford and #23 Texas, then will play California on the road, and end the month at #24 Washington State. One Pac-12 team that USC will not play (unless its in the Pac-12 Championship game) is #8 Washington.
Two Big Ten schools, # 6 Penn State and #9 Wisconsin, round out the Top 10, while Michigan is #11. The rest of the Top 25 include three more ACC schools–#16 Louisville, #18 Miami, and #21 Virginia Tech–and #19 South Florida of the American Athletic Conference. The Division I college football season begins with five games on August 26th, including #19 South Florida at San Jose State and #14 Stanford hosting Rice.