The Associated Press preseason Top 25 was released on Monday, with very few surprises at the top of the rankings.
Alabama enters the 2022 season as the nation’s top team, as Nick Saban and Co. look to once again be at the front of the national title discussion. After defeating Georgia in December’s SEC Championship game, the Crimson Tide lost the rematch to the Bulldogs in January’s national title game.
Ohio State entered the season as the No. 2 team in the country, as the Buckeyes return All-Big Ten quarterback C.J. Stroud and a bevy of offensive weapons including sophomore running back TreVeyon Henderson and All-American wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
Defending champion Georgia enters the year at No. 3 as the Bulldogs return a talented roster, but a defense that must replace most of its production from its top-ranked unit a season ago.
Clemson lands at No. 4 after experiencing its worst season in nearly a decade in 2021 behind a woeful offense and inconsistent quarterback play from D.J. Uiagalelei. The Tigers should have an excellent defense in 2022, and a five-star quarterback in Cade Klubnik waits in the wings should “D.J. U” struggle once again.
Notre Dame rounds out the top five as the Irish will be led by defensive coordinator-turned-head coach Marcus Freeman on a full-time basis in 2022. Freeman coached the first game of his career in January’s Fiesta Bowl, where the Irish blew a 28–14 halftime lead to fall to Oklahoma State 37–35. A talented team returns to South Bend, with sophomore quarterback Tyler Buchner taking over the reigns of the offense after splitting time with Wisconsin graduate-transfer Jack Coan in 2021.
Full Rankings (First place votes in parentheses)
1. Alabama (54)
2. Ohio State (6)
3. Georgia (3)
5. Notre Dame
6. Texas A&M
12. Oklahoma State
13. North Carolina State
15. Michigan State
16. Miami (FL)
21. Ole Miss
22. Wake Forest
Others receiving votes: Tennessee 180, Texas 164, Iowa 163, Penn State 160, LSU 55, Fresno State 32, Minnesota 31, UCF 27, Purdue 17, Mississippi State 15, Auburn 15, Florida 14, Kansas State 14, North Carolina 9, Boise State 5, Air Force 4, Appalachian State 4, South Carolina 2, UCLA 2, San Diego State 2, Utah State 2, Nebraska 1
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