Alabama atop AP college football poll to start 2022 season

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Alabama is back on top of the college football world — at least for now.

The Associated Press released its preseason college football rankings on Monday, and lo and behold, the Crimson Tide was ranked No. 1. The school received 54 first-place votes.

Bryce Young, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, is back under center for Alabama. The team also got two key transfers in wide receivers Jermaine Burton and Tyler Harrell. Linebacker Will Anderson and safety Jordan Battle are also returning to the defense.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban speaks with the media during NCAA college football media day on Aug. 7, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
(AP Photo/Vasha Hunt, File)

It’s the sixth time in the Nick Saban era that Alabama starts the season as the No. 1-ranked team. Alabama started the season No. 1 last season but ended the year with two losses, including in the College Football Championship against Georgia.

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FILE - Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (9) during warm ups before the start of an NCAA college football game against Auburn Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in Auburn, Ala.

FILE – Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (9) during warm ups before the start of an NCAA college football game against Auburn Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in Auburn, Ala.
(AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)

Ohio State and Georgia were ranked No. 2 and 3. 

Ohio State finished last season 11-2 but start the season against No. 5 Notre Dame on Sept. 3. While the offense lost Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave to the pros, C.J. Stroud and Jaxon Smith-Njigba are back on the offense.

Georgia, the defending national champions, is likely to have Stetson Bennett back under center with Adonai Mitchell entering his sophomore season. The team also returns tight end Brock Bowers, defensive lineman Jalen Carter, linebacker Nolan Smith and cornerback Kelee Ringo.

Clemson (No. 4) and Notre Dame (No. 5) round out of the top five in the poll. The Tigers finished 10-3 overall and ended the 2021 season with a win in the Cheez-It Bowl over Iowa State. The Fighting Irish were 11-2 and lost in the Fiesta Bowl to Oklahoma State.

Only Alabama, Ohio State and Georgia received first-place votes.

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Here’s a list of the top 25.

1). Alabama

2). Ohio State

3). Georgia

4). Clemson

5). Notre Dame

6). Texas A&M

7). Utah

8). Michigan

9). Oklahoma

10). Baylor

11). Oregon

12). Oklahoma State

13). N.C. State

14). USC

15). Michigan State

16). Miami (FL)

17). Pittsburgh

18). Wisconsin

19). Arkansas

20). Kentucky

21). Ole Miss

22). Wake Forest

Sam Hartman #10 of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons looks to pass against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl at TIAA Bank Field on Dec. 31, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida.

Sam Hartman #10 of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons looks to pass against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl at TIAA Bank Field on Dec. 31, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida.
(Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

23). Cincinnati

24). Houston

25). BYU

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.