Alabama tops all in coaches top 25

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS - TOM MUR­PHY

FAYET­TEVILLE — SEC stan­dard bearer Alabama sits atop the pre­sea­son USA To­day coaches top 25 poll re­leased Thurs­day, but there’s a big gap be­tween the Crim­son Tide and the rest of the SEC.

No. 12 LSU is the next-high­est rated SEC team in the poll, which is voted on by 65 coaches, in­clud­ing Univer­sity of Arkansas, Fayet­teville, Coach Bret Bielema and six other SEC coaches. The other SEC teams in the poll are No. 13 Auburn, No. 15 Ge­or­gia, No. 16 Florida and No. 24 Ten­nessee.

Arkansas is the 23rd team among those re­ceiv­ing votes with 22 points, be­hind Texas A&M (46) from the SEC and just ahead of Mis­sis­sippi State (19).

The SEC leads the Power 5 con­fer­ences with six ranked teams, but it is the first time since 1991 that the con­fer­ence has only one team ranked in the coaches’ top 10.

Alabama had 49 first-place votes, while No. 2 Ohio State

had 5, No. 3 Florida State had 4 and No. 5 Clem­son, the de­fend­ing Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off cham­pion, had 7.

The Big Ten has four teams in the poll, all in the top 10: the No. 2 Buck­eyes, No. 6 Penn State, No. 9 Michi­gan and No. 10 Wis­con­sin.

The At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence and the Big 12 have five teams each in the top 25.

Arkansas has games against three teams in the poll: Alabama, LSU and Auburn. The Ra­zor­backs’ Week 2 op­po­nent, TCU, is third among teams re­ceiv­ing votes.

The Crim­son Tide, who have won four na­tional cham­pi­onships un­der Coach Nick Sa­ban, was not the pre­sea­son No. 1 in the coaches poll for any of those ti­tle sea­sons. Alabama also was pre­sea­son No. 1 last sea­son when it lost to Clem­son in the cham­pi­onship game.

No. 22 South Florida of the Amer­i­can Ath­letic Con­fer­ence is the lone ranked rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Group of Five leagues.

Pre­sea­son coaches poll

The pre­sea­son USA To­day coaches top 25 foot­ball poll, with first-place votes in paren­the­ses, fi­nal 2016 records, to­tal points based on 25 points for first place through one point for 25th, and last sea­son’s fi­nal rank­ing: OTH­ERS RE­CEIV­ING VOTES Wash­ing­ton State 99, Colorado 72, TCU 58, Boise State 49, Notre Dame 49, Texas A&M 46, Pitts­burgh 45, N.C. State 39, Ore­gon 37, North­west­ern 25, Ne­braska 23, Mem­phis 22, Arkansas 22, Mis­sis­sippi State 19, San Diego State 18, Ap­palachian State 11, BYU 10, Ge­or­gia Tech 10, Tulsa 10, Wy­oming 9, Western Michi­gan 8, Tem­ple 8, North Carolina 8, Hous­ton 7, Troy 6, Min­nesota 6, Iowa 5, Louisiana Tech 4, Syra­cuse 3, Ari­zona 2, Army 1, Colorado State 1, Michi­gan State 1, Mary­land 1, Toledo 1, UCLA 1.

Sa­ban

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