Aug 23, 2022 - Sports

AP football poll: Alabama's reign continues

Data: AP; Table: Axios Visuals
Data: AP; Table: Axios Visuals

Alabama fell just short of its perennial championship goal with its loss to Georgia in January's College Football Playoff title game. But the Tide are back in familiar territory days ahead of the 2022 season: on top.

State of play: For the second straight year and ninth overall, Alabama is ranked No. 1 in the AP preseason poll. Only Oklahoma (10 times) has topped that poll more often since the AP's first such rankings in 1950.

  • Two of the nation's top players, QB Bryce Young and LB Will Anderson Jr. — the reigning Heisman and Bronko Nagurski Trophy (best defender) winners, respectively — are back in Tuscaloosa.
  • Then there's Nick Saban, whose résumé since taking over the Tide in 2007 reads like a typo: six national titles, a 183-25 record and 13 consecutive top-three AP preseason rankings.

The big picture: The SEC leads the way with six ranked teams, including three of the top six. Next are the ACC (five), Big Ten (four), Big 12 (three), Pac-12 (three), American (two), and Independents (two).

  • Welcome back: No. 20 Kentucky has its first preseason ranking since 1978. Also returning after long absences are No. 13 NC State (2003), No. 22 Wake Forest (2008), and No. 17 Pittsburgh (2010).
  • Ain't no Sunshine (State): For the first time since 1974, both Florida and Florida State are unranked in the preseason poll. If not for No. 16 Miami, the state would be shut out entirely.

What's next: The season begins this Saturday with an abbreviated "Week 0" slate before the majority of FBS teams kick off their campaigns next weekend.

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