ShareThis Page
Penn State ranked 6th in AP poll to start season; Alabama No. 1 |

Penn State ranked 6th in AP poll to start season; Alabama No. 1

The Associated Press
| Monday, August 21, 2017 1:36 p.m

Penn State will open this college football season with its best ranking since 1999.

The Nittany Lions are ranked sixth in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, announced Monday. It’s the best preseason ranking since the Lions were No. 3 in ’99.

No surprise about the No. 1 team.

The Alabama Crimson Tide became the first program in 12 years to take the top spot in the AP poll two straight years and will start the season ranked in the top five for the ninth consecutive time.

Coach Nick Saban’s program has become the surest thing in sports these days. The Tide does not always win the national championship — just half the time over the last eight years — but is always in contention. Since 2008, only once has Alabama lost more than one game before bowl season.

The Crimson Tide received 52 of 61 first-place votes from media members in the poll released Monday. Ohio State was No. 2, edging No. 3 Florida State and preventing the first 1 vs. 2 opening game since the preseason poll began in 1950. Alabama opens the season against the Seminoles on Sept. 2 in Atlanta, just the fourth opener involving top-five teams and the first pitting teams ranked in the preseason top three.

Southern California, which finished last season on a nine-game winning streak and No. 3 in the country, starts at No. 4. Defending national champion Clemson begins the post-Deshaun Watson era at No. 5. Florida State received four first-place votes, Ohio State got three and USC two.

The one bit of bad news for Alabama? The Tide have failed to win the national championship the three previous times it was preseason No. 1 under Saban. The last team to start and finish No. 1 was USC in 2004, and the Trojans were ranked No. 1 the following season — the last team to do it before this year.


Alabama’s remarkable run under Saban has the Crimson Tide climbing toward all sorts of AP poll milestones. This is the sixth time the Tide have been preseason No. 1, tied for fifth most.

10 — Oklahoma (1956, 1957, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1985, 1986, 1987, 2003, 2011)

8 — Ohio State (1958, 1966, 1969, 1970, 1980, 1998, 2006, 2015)

7 — Southern California (1963, 1973, 1979, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2012)

6 — Alabama (1966, 1978, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2017)

6 — Florida State (1988, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1999, 2014)

6 — Nebraska (1965, 1972, 1976, 1983, 1996, 2000)

Alabama’s streak of nine straight top-five preseason rankings is second only to Florida State, which had a run of 11 straight seasons starting in the top five under former coach Bobby Bowden.

WE’RE NO. 2!

Ohio State is No. 2 in the preseason poll for the eighth time, one behind Oklahoma for most times starting the season second. The Buckeyes also extended the longest current streak of years appearing in the preseason Top 25 to 29. Penn State has the record at 34 from 1968-2002.


— No. 8 Washington has its best preseason ranking since it was No. 4 in 1997.

— No. 9 Wisconsin has its best preseason ranking since it was No. 7 in 2007.

— No. 19 South Florida is ranked in preseason for second time. The Bulls started No. 19 in 2008.

— No. 24 Washington State is ranked in preseason for fifth time. The last time was 2002 when the Cougars were No. 11.


Alabama is the only SEC team in the top 10, but the SEC still leads the way with six teams in the Top 25. Auburn is No. 12 and LSU is right behind at 13. SEC East rivals Georgia (No. 15) and Florida (No. 17) follow and Tennessee is No. 25.

The standings:

SEC — 6

ACC — 5

Big 12 — 5

Big Ten — 4

Pac-12 — 4

American — 1


With Miami at No. 18 and South Florida at No. 19, the state of Florida has four teams ranked in the preseason poll for the first time.


The goal of the preseason Top 25 is not necessarily to predict the outcome of the season as much as it is to give a snapshot of consensus heading into it. The voters take an educated guess and then go where results take them. Still, comparing the preseason poll with the final rankings in previous years can give some idea of how much change to expect. The AP analyzed the last 10 seasons of polls (2007-16), comparing the preseason rankings with the final Top 25. On average:

— 15.4 teams (61.6 percent total) started the season ranked and finished the season ranked. Those teams finished an average of 6.34 places (higher or lower) from where they were ranked in the preseason.

— 8.0 teams (80 percent total) that started the season ranked in the top 10 finished the season in the Top 25.

— 5.4 teams (54 percent total) that started the season ranked in the top 10 finished ranked in the top 10.

— 1.9 teams that started the season unranked finished ranked in the top 10.

Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Penn State defensive end Torrence Brown pumps up the crowd before a play against Michigan State on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, at Beaver Stadium in University Park. Penn State won 45-12.
Categories: PennState
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.