LSU, the defending national champion, checks in at No. 6 this week after losing star quarterback Joe Burrow to graduation.
Alabama is No. 3, Georgia No. 4 and Oklahoma No. 5.
The AP allowed all teams to be considered for the preseason poll, but only teams playing this fall will be eligible once games begin.
Ohio State director of athletics Gene Smith expressed hope for the Buckeyes playing later in the school year.
If there is a spring season, the AP may conduct a poll then as well.
Big Ten teams joining Ohio State in the AP poll this week and only this week are No. 7 Penn State, No. 12 Wisconsin, No. 16 Michigan, No. 19 Minnesota and No. 24 Iowa.
Indiana and Northwestern also received votes.
The Big Ten’s six teams in the preseason poll are only topped by the SEC’s seven.
The Cincinnati Bearcats, whose American Athletic Conference still plans to play football this fall, are No. 20 in the preseason AP poll. This is their first appearance in the preseason AP poll.
They finished No. 21 last season, their third under head coach Luke Fickell, a former Ohio State player and long-time assistant at OSU.
UC announced Monday it will begin the season at home against Austin Peay on Sept. 19. They will not host fans at Nippert Stadium at the beginning of the season but did not close the door to allowing spectators later in the year depending on the spread of COVID-19.