For the first time since 2015, a team not named Alabama is the preseason No. 1 in the Coaches Poll.

Defending national champion Clemson, which was No. 2 in the first poll a year ago, picked up 59 first-place votes to open No. 1. Alabama received six first-place votes and is No. 2.

Georgia, Oklahoma and Ohio State round out the top five. It’s also the first time Clemson is the preseason No. 1.

Rank School (First place votes) Points
1 Clemson (59) 1,619
2 Alabama (6) 1,566
3 Georgia 1,447
4 Oklahoma 1,415
5 Ohio State 1,368
6 LSU 1,218
7 Michigan 1,155
8 Florida 1,103
9 Notre Dame 1,100
10 Texas 1,038
11 Texas A&M 893
12 Washington 834
13 Oregon 787
14 Penn State 699
15 Utah 642
16 Auburn 606
17 Wisconsin 436
17 UCF 436
19 Iowa 343
20 Michigan State 313
21 Washington State 274
22 Syracuse 227
23 Stanford 200
24 Iowa State 169
25 Northwestern 161

The Crimson Tide have ranked in the top three of every preseason Coaches Poll going back to the 2010 season. In four of the previous five times Alabama didn’t open No. 1, it ended up winning the national title.

It’s the third time in four seasons that Alabama and Clemson hold the top two spots in the preseason Coaches Poll. But this year marks the first time it’s the Tigers and not ‘Bama at No. 1.

The Coaches Poll doesn’t have a connection to the College Football Playoff rankings, but the major polls have been solid at predicting the eventual semifinalists. For 2018, Alabama ranked No. 1 in the preseason, with Clemson second, Oklahoma fifth and Notre Dame at No. 11. In 2017, the Coaches Poll ranked the eventual CFP teams first (Alabama), fifth (Clemson), eighth (Oklahoma) and 15th (Georgia)

Nine of the 20 teams to make the CFP have ranked in the top four of the preseason Coaches Poll. However, Alabama has accounted for five of those; Clemson has accounted for two instances. A top-4 preseason team not named Alabama or Clemson hasn’t reached the CFP since the first year (Oregon and Florida State in 2014).

Here’s how it breaks down since the inaugural CFP for the 2014 season. Teams in bold were ranked in the top 4 in the preseason and reached the CFP.

Year Top 4 Preseason Coaches Poll CFP teams (Preseason rank)
2014 No. 1 Florida State
No. 2 Alabama
No. 3 Oklahoma
No. 4 Oregon 
Alabama (No. 2), Oregon (No. 4), Florida State (No. 1), Ohio State (No. 6)
2015 No. 1 Ohio State
No. 2 TCU
No. 3 Alabama
No. 4 Baylor
Clemson (No. 12), Alabama (No. 3), Michigan State (No. 6), Oklahoma (No. 19)
2016 No. 1 Alabama
No. 2 Clemson
No. 3 Oklahoma
No. 4 Florida State
Alabama (No. 1), Clemson (No. 2), Ohio State (No. 5), Washington (No. 18)
2017 No. 1 Alabama
No. 2 Ohio State
No. 3 Florida State
No. 4 USC
Clemson (No. 5), Oklahoma (No. 8), Georgia (No. 15), Alabama (No. 1)
2018 No. 1 Alabama
No. 2 Clemson

No. 3 Ohio State
No. 4 Georgia
Alabama (No. 1), Clemson (No. 2), Notre Dame (No. 11), Oklahoma (No. 5)

Last year, five of the preseason Top 10 teams ended ranked in the top 10, including the top three (though Clemson and Alabama switched Nos. 1 and 2). Here’s how last year’s Coaches Poll rankings changed week to week:

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