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By RALPH D. RUSSO
AP College Football Writer Another college football season will start with everyone chasing the Tide.
Alabama is No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 preseason poll for fourth time in the past six seasons.
Coming off its sixth national championship under Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide enters the season loaded with poten- tial replacements for the record-breakers and NFL draft picks who have moved on, including Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith.
Alabama received 47 of 63 first-place votes from the panel of sports writers and broadcasters in the poll presented by Regions Bank. Oklahoma is No. 2, just ahead of No. 3 Clemson (each received six first-place votes).
Ohio State, which lost to the Tide in last season’s championship game, is No. 4 after receiving a first-place vote. Georgia received three first-place votes and rounds out the top five.
Last year’s Tide staked a claim as the greatest team of the Saban dynasty. Alabama went 13-0, facing 11 Southeastern Conference teams and playoff show- downs with Notre Dame and Ohio State.
Since the AP started the preseason poll in 1950, only 11 teams that started No. 1 also ended the sea- son as No. 1. Alabama was the last do it, in 2017, the middle season of three straight in which the Crimson Tide took the preseason top spot. Alabama finished second in 2016 and ’18.
— Alabama is now tied with Ohio State for the second-most preseason No. 1 rankings with eight. Oklahoma has the most with 10.
— Only two teams have gone wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in the country during a season. Southern California was the last in 2004, with Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart. The first was undefeated Florida State in 1999, possibly the best team of the Bobby Bowden era. Bowden died earlier this month at 91.
— No. 8 Cincinnati of the American Athletic Conference is the first team from outside the Power Five leagues to be ranked in the preseason top 10 since Louisville started ninth in 2012. That was the Cardinals’ final season as a member of the AAC before joining the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The defending AAC champion Bearcats have the best preseason rank- ing for a non-Power Five or BCS conference team since Boise State was No. 5 to begin 2011. The Broncos out of the Mountain West finished that season No. 8.