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No surprise, defending champion Alabama tops the preseason AP top 25 poll for a third-straight season. USC debuts at No. 15

No surprise, defending champion Alabama tops the preseason AP top 25 poll for a third-straight season. USC debuts at No. 15
Alabama coach Nick Saban leads his team onto the field before the College Football Playoff championship game against Georgia in Atlanta on Jan. 8. Alabama beat Georgia 26-23 in overtime. (David Goldman / Associated Press)

The Associated Press released its top 25 football rankings for the first time for the 2018 season, and it’s no surprise that the defending national champions opened at No. 1.

Alabama received 42 of the 61 first-place votes to claim the top spot. Clemson follows at No. 2, receiving 18 first-place votes, followed by Georgia, Wisconsin and Ohio State to round out the top five. Wisconsin received one first-place vote.

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USC debuts at No. 15, while other Pac-12 teams in the poll include Washington at No. 6, Stanford at No. 13 and Oregon at No. 24. Utah and Arizona also received votes.

USC will play Stanford on Sept. 8 and skips out on Washington and Oregon this season due to the Pac-12 scheduling rotation. Also on the Trojans’ schedule include No. 12 Notre Dame and No. 23 Texas.

UCLA will play at No. 7 Oklahoma on Sept. 8 and will welcome Washington and Stanford at the Rose Bowl later in the season.

Alabama is No. 1 in the AP preseason poll for the third-straight year, which is just the second time a team has achieved that since Oklahoma from 1985-87.

Since the poll debuted in 1936, Alabama could also cement itself as the team with the most weekly No. 1 rankings in the poll’s history. As of now it stands at 104 weeks, behind only Ohio State’s 105 weeks.

Here’s the list of the preseason top 25:

1. Alabama

2. Clemson

3. Georgia

4. Wisconsin

5. Ohio State

6. Washington

7. Oklahoma

8. Miami

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9. Auburn

10. Penn State

11. Michigan State

12. Notre Dame

13. Stanford

14. Michigan

15. USC

16. Texas Christian

17. West Viriginia

18. Mississippi State

19. Florida State

20. Virginia Tech

21. Central Florida

22. Boise State

23. Texas

24. Oregon

25. Louisiana State

The next poll will be released the Tuesday after Labor Day.

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