The defending champions once again will start the 2018 season on the top line of the Associated Press Top 25 — but the Big Ten has more teams at the top than any other conference.
Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa holds up the championship trophy after defeating Georgia in January.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge
As expected, Alabama will be No. 1 to begin the year in the preseason poll, which the AP released Monday. The Crimson Tide is followed by Clemson at No. 2 and Georgia at No. 3.
A host of Big Ten teams — five in all — cracked the top 15. Wisconsin starts the season ranked No. 4, followed by Ohio State at No. 5, Penn State at No. 10, Michigan State at No. 11, and Michigan at No. 14. According to the AP, Ohio State is making its 30th consecutive appearance in the preseason rankings. the third-longest streak in history.
The Big Ten’s five in the top 15 led all conferences. The Southeastern Conference claimed three in the top 10, as Auburn is No. 9, and the Pac-12 had three in the top 15 with Washington at No. 6, Stanford ranked 13th, and Southern California at No. 15.
Oklahoma was the highest-ranked team from the Big 12 at No. 7.
The Wolverines will begin their season Sept. 1 at Notre Dame, which clocked in at No. 12.
Oregon, Bowling Green’s season-opening opponent, starts the season at No. 24. The Ducks and Falcons play Sept. 1 in Eugene.
Miami, which will visit Toledo on Sept. 15, is in the top 10 at No. 8. On the same day, Ohio State will play Texas Christian, which begins the season at No. 16.
Central Florida debuted as the highest ranked Group of Five team in the poll. Coming off an undefeated season and a victory against Auburn in the Peach Bowl, UCF is ranked 21st. The Knights are followed by Boise State at No. 22.
No other Group of Five school cracked the top 25 but Florida Atlantic received 38 points in the voting, which was good enough for 30th overall.
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