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Alabama Headlines Preseason AP Top 25

Unsurprisingly, A.J. McCarron and the three-peat hunting Alabama Crimson Tide have topped the preseason AP poll.

Unsurprisingly, A.J. McCarron and the three-peat hunting Alabama Crimson Tide have topped the preseason AP poll.

The Alabama Crimson Tide will enter the 2013 College Football season with a No. 1 ranking from the Associated Press.

The defending BCS champions received 58 of a possible 60 first place votes to finish first in the AP Top 25 poll, which was released this past Saturday.

The poll makes it a hat trick of first place finishes for the Tide, who had already been selected No. 1 in the USA Today coach’s poll and continues to be the favorite with bookmakers.

The result, while unsurprising, is a clear indication of how the season is expected to play out. Alabama, returning scores of talent on both sides of the football, will be looking to secure a third straight national championship and a fourth crystal football in five years.

As predicted, the Ohio State Buckeyes will begin the new season at No. 2. Urban Meyer’s team finished last season with an impeccable 12-0 record, but NCAA sanctions prevented the team playing for a Big Ten championship or the national title.

The Buckeyes were one of only two teams to receive a first place nomination from the AP voters. According to CBSSports.com, Bob Asmussen of the Champaign News-Gazette voted for OSU believing that “someone has to beat the SEC at some point” and asking “why not the Buckeyes?”

The other team to receive a first place vote was the Georgia Bulldogs. Glenn Guilbeau, an LSU beat writer, believes that the pressure of hunting a third straight title will get to the Tide, leaving them susceptible to defeat. With Georgia largely believed to be the SEC’s best team after Alabama, and playing in a different division, the Bulldogs could well pull off an upset. They nearly did last year.

The argument for Georgia topping Alabama is a strong one, providing the Bulldogs can get to the SEC championship game. That in itself will be a tough challenge, and one other AP voters perhaps think the team incapable of. The Bulldogs are No. 5 on the preseason list.

AP_Top_25_preseasonThe Pac-12 pairing of the Oregon Ducks and Stanford Cardinal will begin the season with a No. 3 and No. 4 ranking respectively. The two North Division teams are favorites for the Pac-12 title this season, but either could be facing a quick descent down the rankings if a change of plan doesn’t go according to plan. Oregon’s need to adjust to a new head coach could be more telling than anybody currently believes.

Predictably, the SEC has a large say in the AP’s preseason rankings. In addition to Alabama and Georgia, the South Carolina Gamecocks (No. 6), Texas A&M Aggies (No. 7) and Florida Gators (No. 10) all feature in the Top 10. The LSU Tigers sit at No. 12.

The remainder of the Top 10 is filled out by ACC favorites, the Clemson Tigers (No. 8) and the Louisville Cardinals (No. 9), favorites to win the newly branded American Athletic Conference.

The Big 12 is notable by its absence from the Top 10. However, four of the conference’s schools do feature in the Top 20. The Oklahoma State Cowboys (No. 13), Texas Longhorns (No. 15), Oklahoma Sooners (No. 16) and TCU Horned Frogs (No. 20) are all within eight places of each other; a testament to how close the conference is expected to be this season. In fact, the Big 12 may be one of the most interesting of all of the conferences in College Football this season.

In addition to OSU, the Big Ten is also represented by the Michigan Wolverines (No. 17) and Nebraska Cornhuskers (No. 18), while the Northwestern Wildcats (No. 22) are surprisingly preferred over the Wisconsin Badgers (No. 23), who will be looking for a fourth straight Big Ten title.

The Boise State Broncos (No. 19) are the only non-power conference to be given the nod by the AP voters. The school is a heavy favorite with bookmakers to win the Mountain West Conference title this season.

The remaining schools to make the Top 25 include: the Florida State Seminoles (No. 11), Notre Dame Fighting Irish (No. 14), UCLA Bruins (No. 21), USC Trojans (No. 24), and the Oregon State Beavers (No. 25).

According to leading sportsbook Bovada, from a betting perspective the Top 10 reads as follows:

Click here for more Football Futures from Bovada.

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