As expected, Alabama, widely considered to no longer be the best program in college football, is ranked #2 behind the Clemson Tigers and Heisman favorite quarterback Trevor Lawrence in the initial AP poll of the season. It is the first time in school history that Clemson has been ranked at the top of the poll in the preseason, and they will undoubtedly get all of the requisite adulation.
Nipping at the Tide’s heels are the #3 Georgia Bulldogs. Buzz around Athens is that the Dawgs have a better team than the two previous editions, both of which pushed the Tide to the brink before succumbing to the backup QB, then the other backup QB. Rounding out the top 5 are the Oklahoma Sooners and Ohio State Buckeyes, both sporting transfer dual threat signal callers that have been mentioned as Heisman candidates.
Behind the Buckeyes are the LSU Tigers, who clearly see Alabama as their biggest rivals and might have the best defense in the country. Word out of Baton Rouge is that Joe Burrow is running it like Lamar Jackson and slinging it like Tom Brady. They’ll be a tough out.
Luckily the Tide will only have to face four of the top 16 teams in the country and two of the top six in order to qualify for the playoff. Still, getting back to the mountaintop isn’t going to be easy. Hopefully the players continue to do what is necessary to improve every day, and a few things break right in the end.