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Alabama tops preseason AP poll for the third year in a row

Though it seems like Alabama tops the preseason AP Top 25 every year, the Crimson Tide have only checked in as the preseason No. 1 four times in the past nine years. Two of those four preseason No. 1s were in 2016 and '17, and the Tide added another bullet point to their list of historical accomplishments in the Nick Saban era on Monday.

Alabama earned 42 of the 61 available first-place votes in Monday's 2018 preseason poll, making the Crimson Tide just the second program to ever earn three consecutive preseason No. 1s, joining Oklahoma from 1985 through '87.

Alabama checked in ahead of Clemson, Georgia, Wisconsin and Ohio State, who rounded out the top five. Ohio State is two spots lower than it is preseason Coaches' Poll, which makes since given AP voters had more time to consider Urban Meyer's ongoing administrative leave.

Of course, the AP poll is fully just a recreational activity these days, given that we now live in the College Football Playoff era. As such, I've laid out each of the previous four CFP seasons, organized by the preseason Top 4 and where the actual Top 4 were in the preseason poll.

2014

CFP Seeds

Preseason AP Rank

1. Alabama

No. 2

2. Oregon

No. 3

3. Florida State

No. 1

4. Ohio State

No. 5

2015

CFP Seeds

Preseason AP Rank

1. Clemson

No. 12

2. Alabama

No. 3

3. Michigan State

No. 5

4. Oklahoma

No. 19

2016

CFP Seeds

Preseason AP Rank

1. Alabama

No. 1

2. Clemson

No. 2

3. Ohio State

No. 6

4. Washington

No. 14

2017

CFP Seeds

Preseason AP Rank

1. Clemson

No. 5

2. Oklahoma

No. 7

3. Georgia

No. 15

4. Alabama

No. 1

Defending national champion(*) UCF is the highest ranked Group of 5 team at No. 21, followed closely by No. 22 Boise State.

No. 14 Michigan, No. 17 West Virginia, No. 19 Florida State, No. 23 Texas and No. 24 Oregon all joined the AP Top 25 after finishing 2017 unranked.

The full poll:

1. Alabama -- 1,505 total points (42 first-place votes)
2. Clemson -- 1,476 (18)
3. Georgia -- 1,350
4. Wisconsin -- 1,271 (1)
5. Ohio State -- 1,256
6. Washington -- 1,215
7. Oklahoma -- 1,173
8. Miami -- 1,027
9. Auburn -- 1,013
10. Penn State -- 1,012
11. Michigan State -- 877
12. Notre Dame -- 804
13. Stanford -- 778
14. Michigan -- 773
15. USC -- 543
16. TCU -- 533
17. West Virginia -- 511
18. Mississippi State -- 450
19. Florida State -- 384
20. Virginia Tech -- 351
21. UCF -- 312
22. Boise State -- 292
23. Texas -- 216
24. Oregon -- 148
25. LSU -- 106