March 22 2018

Alabama No. 1 in preseason poll

March 22 2018, 03:59 | Van Peters

Alabama has owned the SEC since Nick Saban became coach. Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama has owned the SEC since Nick Saban became coach.		 Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The game is being billed as the "Greatest Opener of All Time", because it marks the first season opener between two teams ranked in the top three.

Florida State's 2017 schedule features five opponents ranked in the preseason poll, including No. 1 Alabama in the season opener on September 2 at Atlanta's brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

As one of the top four teams in the nation, USC is considered a favorite to make the College Football Playoff this year. Florida State, which starts out at No. 3, gets its chance a week from Saturday.

Clemson beat Alabama for the national championship, so that's why they are ahead of Penn State homie.

Receiving votes: Northwestern (25), Nebraska (4), Michigan State (1).

The Badgers have a good shot of bringing an undefeated record into their November 18 home game against MI. Alabama-Florida State is the deserving headliner, but Michigan-Florida, West Virginia-Virginia Tech, and Tennessee-Georgia Tech are among the other games with important national implications.

UT is one of six SEC programs (the most for any conference) among this year's top AP 25 but only Alabama, the preseason No. 1, is among the top 10.

Cornerbacks - Tavarus McFadden, junior, Florida State; Jaire Alexander, junior, Louisville.

The early favorites also begin the new season as the top club in the Coaches Poll.

Florida, Miami and USF were the Nos. Since 2008, only once has Alabama lost more than one game before bowl season.

- No. 6 Penn State has its best preseason ranking since it was No. 3 in 1999.

A year ago the Wildcats went 1-3 against those teams, defeating only Texas. Alabama was selected as the preseason No. 1-ranked team with 52 first-place votes.

No. 9 Wisconsin, in its third season under former Bret Bielema assistant Paul Chryst, has its highest preseason ranking since it was No. 7 in 2007, Bielema's second season as head coach of the Badgers. It's the first time State has finished with more votes than its three in-state rivals since the 2015 preseason poll, when the Pack earned four poll points while the other three teams were shut out. The Big 12 also had five teams.

No. 12 Auburn will open the season against Georgia Southern on September 2 at 6:30 p.m. central time at Jordan-Hare Stadium. South Florida 20. Kansas State 21.

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