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Alabama, Clemson top preseason AP Top 25

They'll start the way they finished. Alabama and Clemson finished the 2015 season ranked 1st and 2nd in the AP Top 25, and neither's status has changed in the 2016 preseason Top 25, released Sunday morning.

Today's ranking could have been the kiss of death for Nick Saban and the Tide, though. No preseason No. 1 has finished the season in that same spot in 11 years. Clemson's No. 2 ranking (with 16 first-place votes) is the program's highest preseason ranking ever.

Last season's Tide team started the season ranked third; 2014 champion Ohio State started fifth.

Today's ranking marks the ninth straight season Alabama will take the field as a No. 1 team, furthering the Tide's AP poll record.

Oklahoma checked in at No. 3. Bob Stoops's crew usually fares better when it's overlooked; the last four times the Sooners started in the AP top 4 saw them finish unranked twice, No. 15 once, No. 16 another time.

The full rankings:

  1. Alabama -- 1,469 total points (33 first-place votes)
  2. Clemson -- 1,443 (16)
  3. Oklahoma -- 1,352 (4)
  4. Florida State -- 1,325 (5)
  5. LSU -- 1,269 (1)
  6. Ohio State -- 1,224 (1)
  7. Michigan -- 1,147 (1)
  8. Stanford -- 1,029
  9. Tennessee -- 1,021
  10. Notre Dame -- 1,006
  11. Ole Miss -- 718
  12. Michigan State -- 710
  13. TCU -- 707
  14. Washington -- 651
  15. Houston -- 644
  16. UCLA -- 496
  17. Iowa -- 484
  18. Georgia -- 448
  19. Louisville -- 447
  20. USC -- 344
  21. Oklahoma State -- 316
  22. North Carolina -- 283
  23. Baylor -- 280
  24. Oregon -- 218
  25. Florida -- 180