Jablonski: Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia easy picks for top 3 in AP poll

Buckeyes start season at No. 2

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

I’m voting in the Associated Press top-25 football poll for the third straight year. It’s an honor to be one of 63 voters from around the country and one of three from Ohio.

Being an AP voter is also a good way to build your ego and crush it at the same time. Fans love you if you have their team ranked higher than other voters or hate you for the opposite reason. I imagine it’s like being a football official, except the disgust is thrown at you in direct messages on Twitter instead of in your face from the stands.

This year, Alabama, Ohio State and Georgia topped my poll, and 41 other voters ranked them in that same order.

The preseason poll released Monday has Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, Clemson and Notre Dame, Ohio State’s first opponent on Sept. 3, in the top five. Alabama received 54 of 63 first-place votes and is the preseason No. 1 team for the second straight season and ninth time overall.

Ohio State received six first-place votes. Defending national champion Georgia received three.

Texas A&M, Utah, Michigan, Oklahoma and Baylor round out the top 10.

Here are some other notes on the preseason poll:

• Utah, which finished 10-4 last season and lost 48-45 to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl, ranked as high as fourth. I was one of six voters to put it there.

• The top 25 also includes No. 13 North Carolina State, which is ranked in the preseason for the first time since 2003. I ranked the Wolfpack 14th.

• No. 17 Pittsburgh earned a preseason ranking for the first time since 2010. I ranked the Panthers ninth. No other voter had them that high.

• Kentucky is No. 20. It had not been ranked in the preseason poll since 1978. I ranked the Wildcats 18th.

• Wake Forest is No. 22. It’s the first time since 2008 it has had a preseason ranking. I was one of 26 voters who did not rank the Demon Deacons.

• Cincinnati, which ranked fourth in the final poll last season, will begin this season at No. 23. I ranked the Bearcats 22nd.

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