Big Al, mascot of the Alabama Crimson Tide, runs out on the field during pregame prior to facing the Vanderbilt Commodores at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 8, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
McLean, VA (Sports Network) - Alabama will try for a third straight national
championship this autumn and will start the 2013 season as the top-ranked team
in the USA Today coaches' poll.
The Crimson Tide, coming off a 13-1 season and a dominating win over Notre
Dame in the BCS National Championship Game, received 58 of the 62 first-place
votes and a total of 1,545 points from a nationwide panel of coaches to easily
outdistance Ohio State for the top spot.
Ohio State, which picked up three first-place votes, was 12-0 last year in
Urban Meyer's first season, but the Buckeyes were not bowl-eligible while
serving NCAA sanctions for violations under Jim Tressel.
The remainder of the preseason top 10 features Oregon, Stanford, Georgia,
Texas A&M, South Carolina, Clemson, Louisville and Florida. Texas A&M, with
Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel returning, earned the last
Notre Dame starts the second 10 and is followed by Florida State, LSU,
Oklahoma State, Texas, Oklahoma, Michigan, Nebraska, Boise State and TCU.
The last five teams ranked are UCLA, Northwestern, Wisconsin, USC and Oregon
As usual, the SEC heads the conference tally with six teams ranked -- all
within the top 13. The league has won the last seven BCS titles.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 each have five ranked teams, while the Big 12 has four.
Two ACC teams are ranked, while the lone team from the new American Athletic
Conference is Louisville.
The Sports Network