AP college preseason poll familiar at the top, Sunny at the bottom

The top five of the Associated Press College Football Poll made me think of one of my favorite movies, “The Usual Suspects.”

It’s Alabama, Oklahoma, Clemson, Ohio State and Georgia, in that order.

I’m among the 47 of the 63 voters who put the 2021 national champion Tide at No. 1 … you know, Nick Saban doesn’t rebuild, he simply reloads. They went 13-0 last year for Bama’s sixth national crown under Saban.

The rest of the No. 1 votes were spread among the other four mentioned above. I deviated a bit, with Texas A&M at No. 4 and Iowa State at No. 6. The entire voting body has them at 6 and 7.

No. 8 Cincinnati of the American Athletic Conference might be a bit of a surprise to casual fans. But it gets really interesting further down the list:

The Sun Belt Conference never had even one team ranked in the preseason before today. Now it’s got two, with Coastal Carolina at No. 22 and Louisiana-Lafayette at No. 23.

That means something’s gotta give, right? One of the consequences in this case is no one from the Group of Five conference Hawaii fans care about, the Mountain West, came even close to a preseason ranking. I tabbed Boise State at No. 24, but only a couple of other voters also felt the Broncos worthy of the Top 25. Maybe it’s because head coach Bryan Harsin is gone, maybe it’s because after a 5-0 regular season in 2020 the perennial Mountain West kingpins lost to San Jose State in the conference championship game. A couple of voters expect big things from Nevada this fall and put the Wolf Pack on their ballot.

Hawaii’s season-opening opponent, UCLA on Aug. 28, got one vote. No one in the Top 25 is in action during Week Zero. The first really big game comes the following Saturday, when No. 3 Clemson and No. 5 Georgia open against each other in Charlotte on Sep. 4.

Can No. 14 Miami give Alabama a game, or at least a half? That will also be answered in Week 1 action. The first in-season poll comes out after the Louisville-Ole Miss Labor Day game, and we’ll be back here to break it down after each week’s voting.

Here’s how the complete panel of 63 voted: 1. Alabama (47), 2. Oklahoma (6), 3. Clemson (6), 4. Ohio State (1), 5. Georgia (3), 6. Texas A&M, 7. Iowa State, 8. Cincinnati, 9. Notre Dame, 10. North Carolina. 11. Oregon, 12. Wisconsin, 13. Florida, 14. Miami (FL), 15. USC. 16. LSU, 17. Indiana, 18. Iowa, 19. Penn State, 20. Washington, 21. Texas, 22. Coastal Carolina, 23. Louisiana-Lafayette, 24. Utah, 25. Arizona State.

Others receiving votes: Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, TCU, Liberty, Auburn, North Carolina State, Michigan, Northwestern, Boise State, Nevada, Brigham Young, Ball State, Houston, Boston College, UCF, West Virginia, UAB, Army, UCLA.

How I voted: 1. Alabama, 2. Oklahoma, 3. Ohio State, 4. Texas A&M, 5. Clemson, 6. Iowa State, 7. Georgia, 8. Cincinnati, 9. Oregon, 10. North Carolina, 11. Notre Dame, 12. LSU, 13. Miami (FL), 14. USC, 15. Florida, 16. Indiana, 17. Wisconsin, 18. Washington, 19. Texas, 20. Coastal Carolina, 21. Iowa, 22. Utah, 23. Louisiana-Lafayette, 24. Boise State, 25. TCU.


  1. H-Man September 4, 2021 6:43 pm

    No. 20 Washington Huskies just lost to the Montana Grizzlies, 13-7. Unranked UCLA beat No. 16 LSU, 38-27. No. 11 Oregon got a scare from Fresno St, winning 31-24. In a game involving two future Hawaii opponents, New Mexico St is leading San Diego St 10-7 early in the 3rd quarter. This is a big surprise for me. And Nevada is leading Cal 19-14 early in the 3rd.

  2. H-Man September 4, 2021 8:41 pm

    Another shocker. Well, maybe not a big shocker, but Nevada has taken the lead over Washington State with 14 seconds left in the game, 26-23. Utah State drove 80 yards in 3 minutes to score. That’s the final. Wazzu loses.

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