The Crimson Tide received 52 of 61 first-place votes from media members. Ohio State was No. 2, edging No. 3 Florida State and preventing the first 1 vs. 2 opening game since the preseason poll began in 1950. Alabama opens the season against the Seminoles in Atlanta on Sept. 2, just the fourth opener involving top-five teams and the first pitting teams ranked in the preseason top three.
Southern California, which finished last season on a nine-game winning streak and No. 3 in the country, starts at No. 4. Defending national champion Clemson begins the post-Deshaun Watson era at No. 5. Florida State received four first-place votes, Ohio State got three and USC two.