NEW YORK (WCBI/AP/ESPN) –Alabama is No. 1 in the USA Today preseason coaches’ poll.
The Crimson Tide were an overwhelming choice, receiving 58 of 62 first-place votes. Ohio State was second and received three first-place votes. Oregon is No. 3, Stanford is 4, Georgia is five and No. 6 Texas A&M received the other first-place vote.
Half the top 10 is from the Southeastern Conference, which has won the last seven national championships, including three in the last four years by Alabama.
South Carolina is No. 7 and Florida is No. 10. No. 8 Clemson and No. 9 Louisville round out the top 10. No. 13 LSU gives the SEC six teams in the top 25.
Notre Dame, which lost the BCS title game 42-14 to Alabama last season, is No. 11.
The Crimson Tide have 12 starters returning from last season’s title team, including senior quarterback AJ McCarron, who has been under center for each of the last two championship squads.
McCarron will operate behind a revamped offensive line that will feature junior left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio, who has been projected as a early first-round pick in next year’s NFL draft. Alabama also boasts a pair of talented sophomores in wide receiver Amari Cooper and running back T.J. Yeldon.
Alabama once again figures to have a strong defense anchored by linebackers C.J. Mosley and Adrian Hubbard.
After opening their season on Aug. 31 against Virginia Tech, the Crimson Tide will face a major test in their second game on Sept. 14, when they travel to College Station to take on Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and the sixth-ranked Aggies.
Florida State is No. 12 in the poll, which was released Thursday, while Oklahoma State and Texas round out the top 15.
Oklahoma is 16th, followed by Michigan, Nebraska, Boise State, TCU, UCLA, Northwestern and Wisconsin. USC and Oregon State complete the top 25.
|1. Alabama (58)||13-1||1,545||1|
|2. Ohio State (3)||12-0||1,427||NR|
|6. Texas A&M (1)||11-2||1,215||5|
|7. South Carolina||11-2||1,136||7|
|11. Notre Dame||12-1||872||3|
|12. Florida State||12-2||844||8|
|14. Oklahoma State||8-5||726||NR|
|19. Boise State||11-2||420||14|
|24. Southern Cal||7-6||165||NR|
|25. Oregon State||9-4||135||19|
Others receiving votes: Kansas State 113; Miami (Fla.) 101; Michigan State 89; Baylor 80; Virginia Tech 65; Fresno State 62; Arizona State 51; Ole Miss 32; Vanderbilt 29; Utah State 23; Brigham Young 20; North Carolina 19; Northern Illinois 19; Tulsa 9; Ohio 8; San Jose State 8; Arizona 5; Cincinnati 3; East Carolina 3; Kent State 3; Mississippi State 3; Washington 3; Central Florida 2; Arkansas 1; Arkansas State 1; Rutgers 1; Tennessee 1; Toledo 1.