It was no surprise Sunday when Ohio State opened at No. 1 in the first Associated Press college football poll.
On January 12, 2015, the Buckeyes closed their one-loss season by crushing the Oregon Ducks, 42-20, in the first College Football Playoff National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. That all changed on Sunday.
Over the past decade, four teams received at least 95 percent of the first-place votes in the preseason poll: Southern California in 2007, Florida in 2009, Alabama in 2013, and Florida State previous year.
Eight Southeastern Conference teams (Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, LSU at No. 14, Mississippi at No. 17, Arkansas at No. 18, Missouri at No. 24 and Tennessee at No. 25) made the top 25, leading the poll.
Only twice has a team remained No. 1 the entire season with Florida State University in 1999 and USC in 2004.
The Volunteers registered at No. 25 in both the Amway and AP polls. This season, they’ll start in the top five, as well. Baylor and Michigan State round out the top five.
The Tide has claimed three of the last six national championships and owns an 84-11 record across the last seven seasons under head coach Nick Saban.
Oklahoma has been ranked in the AP preseason poll 57 times, second only to Ohio State (62 times).
Their Big Ten schedule is littered with favorable matchups, as they play at Illinois and Rutgers, and with Penn State coming to Columbus, Ohio.
NOTE: After the national title game, Bill Landis and I took a road trip from Dallas all the way back to Ohio State, stopping at a ton of places to write big-picture recruiting stories. As is the case with the Amway/USA Today Coaches poll released in late July, it’s the first time that the Yellow Jackets have been ranked in the preseason since 2010. Having two teams from the Big 12 ranked in the top four schools (TCU Horned Frogs and Baylor Bears) will certainly excite fans of that conference as well.
The Associated Press rankings started in 1936, but the preseason poll didn’t debut until 1950. Sarkisian also apparently disparaged several of the Trojans’ Pac-12 rivals and ended his comments with a profane version of USC’s “Fight On” slogan.
Finley was in a four-way race for the job with Tommy Stuart, Alex Ogle and freshman Brett Rypien.