21 ranking in the preseason Amway Coaches Poll, released Thursday, is two spots lower than the program's highest preseason showing ever.
Alabama was picked No. 1 in the poll, garnering 49 first-place votes.
Leading the way in the poll was Alabama, followed by Ohio State at No. 2 and Florida State at No. 3. Four more firsts went to Florida State, which checks in at No. 3.
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For the second conecutive season, Alabama will start as the top-ranked team. Defending College Football Playoff champion Clemson was fifth.
The Big 12 and Atlantic Coast Conference each placed five teams in the poll. He will have a core of young talent on defense, including 10 returning starters and greater depth. In addition to the Buckeyes, Penn State opens at No. 6, followed by No. 9 MI and No. 10 Wisconsin.
A sure sign of college football's imminent arrival is the preseason top 25 polls.
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USC's only Pac-12 South foe to make the preseason ranking was Utah at No. 25.
Five of UT's opponents this season were also ranked among the initial top 25: No. 4 USC, No. 8 Oklahoma, No. 11 Oklahoma State, No. 19 Kansas State and No. 20 West Virginia.
The only other teams from the Pac-12 receiving votes were Washington State with 99, Colorado with 72, OR with 37, and Arizona and UCLA with 1 each.
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