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Big Names Top Associated Press Football List

Alabama Crimson Tide football stadium

The Associated Press AP College Football poll was announced on Monday, and the name at the top of the list was not a big surprise.

The Alabama Crimson Tide enter the season as the top-ranked team in the country for the fourth time in the last six seasons.

Alabama is the defending national champion, and it is the sixth title under head coach Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide will have to replace a number of key starters from a season ago, but they also have the top-ranked recruiting class for this season.

Alabama received 47 of the 63 first-place votes and were one of just five teams to receive a first-place vote. Outside of Alabama, the other four names in the top five are teams that are perennial contenders for the College Football Playoff title.

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Oklahoma and Clemson were next on the list, and each of those schools received six first-place votes. The Sooners finished with 15 more total points than the Tigers, but both were still well behind Alabama.

Ohio State and Georgia were the final two teams inside of the top-five on the pre-season poll, with the Buckeyes finishing in the fourth spot. Georgia was not a member of the College Football Playoff a season ago, while the teams inside the top-four all were.

Alabama was not the top-ranked team in the 2020 pre-season poll as that honor belonged to the Clemson Tigers. The Crimson Tide will be looking to become just the 12th team to start the season ranked number 1 and finish the season off with a title.

Oklahoma holds the record with 10 first-place finishes on the AP Preseason College Football poll, but Alabama is gaining ground. The Crimson Tide have now earned this honor eight times, which is tied with Ohio State for the second-most all-time.

Surprising Teams Make the Poll

It is no surprise to see some of the biggest college football programs in the AP Top 25, but there were some interesting teams as well. There has been a recent push from some schools outside of the Power 5, and a handful of these teams are now in the pre-season poll.

Coastal Carolina and Louisiana-Lafeyette both play college football in the Sun Belt Conference, and they appear on the preseason Top 25 list. This is the first time that this conference has had any programs ranked in the pre-season poll, let alone two schools.

The Cincinnati Bearcats out of the American Athletic Conference enter the 2021 season with a top-10 ranking, and this team could challenge for a spot in the College Football Playoff. Louisville was the last team from a Group of 5 Conference to be ranked inside of the Top-10, and that came all the way back in 2012.

The Indiana Hoosiers were a big story during the 2020 college football season, and they are expected to be solid again in 2021. Indiana is the 17th ranked team in the AP Preseason Poll, the first time that the Hoosiers have been ranked in the pre-season since 1968.

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