20 Sep

The Lede: Tide Roll to the Top of Preseason AP Poll

For the second consecutive year, Alabama enters the season as the Associated Press’ top-ranked team. The Crimson Tide received 52 of 61 first-place votes, and a total of 1,513 points. Ohio State comes in second, receiving 1,414 points and three first-place votes.

Nick Saban’s squad also topped the preseason coaches’ poll and is heavily-favored in Vegas to win the National Championship. While all the hype is warranted, if you believe in trends, Bama just received an unlucky honor. Over the past 12 seasons, none of the teams ranked no. 1 in the preseason AP poll have gone on to win the National Championship. USC (2004) was the last preseason no. 1 to win the National Championship. Takeaway: Trends can be a lot of fun to follow, and should be considered in certain circumstances. This is not one of those instances, however. This isn’t a coach vs. coach trend, or even team vs. team trend; it’s the AP getting unlucky when picking a National Champion out of a field of 128 in the preseason. Bama was one second away from ending the AP’s drought last season when they lost to Clemson in a thrilling National Championship game. The Tide are back just as strong as ever: SEC Offensive Player of the Year Jalen Hurts has improved as a passer and is ready to take the Alabama offense to the next level. While a lot of defensive talent moved onto the NFL, the cupboards are perpetually stocked in Tuscaloosa and history has confirmed that doubting a Saban-coached Bama defense is foolish. Since 2009, the Tide D has always been in the top four in points allowed, which includes three first-place finishes. Despite Ohio State coming in at no. 2, Florida State has the best chance to prevent Bama from avenging its heartbreaking National Championship defeat. But it would take a Deshaun Watson-like effort from Deondre Francois, and relying on that kind of performance is unreasonable. There’s a good chance the AP’s drought ends here.

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Matt McEwan

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