College football rankings 2017: Alabama’s preseason No. 1 in the AP and across the board

August is almost over, and the air has that new-season smell to it. And with a new season coming, we need new rankings to argue about. In fact, before we even get to the actual teams in the rankings, the argument about preseason rankings is existential: Do we even need the standings in August at all?

Whichever side you fall on in that debate, the preseason rankings are indeed here, now that the AP Poll has officially joined the mix. It will likely come as no surprise that Alabama is dominantly No. 1 across the board.

Beyond the Tide are usual suspects like Florida State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Clemson, and Penn State in various orders. The AP Poll has FSU No. 3, making Bama-FSU the biggest opening game in sport history. That’s largely because they’re the most known quantities in what is a very uncertain sport. Go with what you know, and bluebloods who contended for Playoff spots last season are as good a bet as any.

College football preseason rankings 2017

Rank AP Poll Coaches S&P+ Sagarin
Rank AP Poll Coaches S&P+ Sagarin
1 Alabama Alabama Alabama Alabama
2 Ohio State Ohio State Florida State Ohio State
3 Florida State Florida State Ohio State Florida State
4 USC USC LSU Oklahoma
5 Clemson Clemson Oklahoma Auburn
6 Penn State Penn State Clemson Clemson
7 Oklahoma Washington USC LSU
8 Washington Oklahoma Auburn Washington
9 Wisconsin Michigan Penn State Wisconsin
10 Oklahoma State Wisconsin Michigan Penn State
11 Michigan Oklahoma State Wisconsin Oklahoma State
12 Auburn LSU Stanford USC
13 LSU Auburn Louisville Michigan
14 Stanford Stanford Florida Stanford
15 Georgia Georgia Notre Dame Miami
16 Louisville Florida Washington Arkansas
17 Florida Louisville Texas Notre Dame
18 Miami Miami Miami Georgia
19 USF Kansas State TCU Louisville
20 Kansas State West Virginia Oklahoma State Kansas State
21 Virginia Tech South Florida Georgia Texas A&M
22 West Virginia Virginia Tech Texas A&M Virginia Tech
23 Texas Texas Ole Miss Florida
24 Washington State Tennessee Virginia Tech Utah
25 Tennessee Utah Tennessee Northwestern

The four rankings used here

The Associated Press Top 25: The longest-running and best-respected human poll. Didn’t have any official bearing on the latter years of the BCS and doesn’t have any official bearing on the Playoff. During the season the AP Poll can be expected early afternoon on Sundays during the regular season.

The USA Today Coaches Poll: Formerly part of the BCS and now just a poll. It tends to react more cautiously than the AP’s. Though polling athletic departments to rank other athletic departments is dubious, we still want multiple human polls in here, and this is the other big one. This poll typically rolls in around noon on Sundays during the regular seasons.

Bill Connelly’s S&P+ ratings: SB Nation’s favored advanced stat. An important thing to keep in mind: It will probably look different than the human polls, but that’s because it isn’t a human poll! It’s a measure of efficiency derived from play-by-play and drive data from every FBS game. It’s designed to predict which teams would win upcoming games, not award teams for impressive wins.

The Sagarin rating: A long-running computer ranking, similar to Connelly’s.

The College Football Playoff Top 25? Not yet. The Committee’s rankings, much like its BCS predecessor, won’t be with us until October.

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