College football returns this week and so does the 2019 preseason AP Poll. With the rankings finally out — and Clemson No. 1 — let’s take a look at some expectations for the 2019 season, and the historical significance of the AP Preseason Poll.

AP Poll: Everything you need to know about Monday’s preseason rankings

Who’s ranked in the 2019 preseason AP Poll?

Clemson took the top spot in the Top 25, with Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma and Ohio State following to make up the top 5.





1 Clemson 1540 1
2 Alabama 1496 2
3 Georgia 1403 7
4 Oklahoma 1331 4
5 Ohio State 1261 3
6 LSU 1199 6
7 Michigan 1164 14
8 Florida 1054 7
9 Notre Dame 1044 5
10 Texas 1005 9
11 Oregon 860 NR
12 Texas A&M 852 16
13 Washington 786 13
14 Utah 772 NR
15 Penn State 651 17
16 Auburn 578 NR
17 UCF 410 11
18 Michigan State 377 NR
19 Wisconsin 370 NR
20 Iowa 330 25
21 Iowa State 302 NR
22 Syracuse 209 15
23 Washington State 200 10
24 Nebraska 154 NR
25 Stanford 141 NR

What happened in last season’s preseason AP Poll?

Alabama opened at No. 1 and steadily stayed until Clemson, which opened at No. 2, denied them a second straight national title. The 2018 AP Preseason poll predicted the two teams that’d land in the national title game. 

It could not predict, however, the resurgence of programs like LSU and Florida, which began the 2018 season ranked No. 25 and unranked, respectively. Both teams ended the season inside the AP Top 10. 

The following is the list of last season’s AP Preseason Poll compared to its final ranking. Teams in bold improved on their preseason ranking:

No. 1 Alabama 14-1 No. 2
No. 2 Clemson 15-0 No. 1
No. 3 Georgia 11-3 No. 7 (t)
No. 4 Wisconsin 8-5 NR
No. 5 Ohio State 13-1 No. 3
No. 6 Washington 10-4 No. 13
No. 7 Oklahoma 12-2 No. 4
No. 8 Miami 7-6 NR
No. 9 Auburn 8-5 NR
No. 10 Penn State 9-4 No. 17
No. 11 Michigan State 7-6 NR
No. 12 Notre Dame 12-1 No. 5
No. 13 Stanford 9-4 NR
No. 14 Michigan 10-3 No. 14
No. 15 Southern California 5-7 NR
No. 16 TCU 7-6 NR
No. 17 West Virginia 8-4 No. 20
No. 18 Mississippi State 8-5 NR
No. 19 Florida State 5-7 NR
No. 20 Virginia Tech 6-7 NR
No. 21 UCF 12-1 No. 11
No. 22 Boise State 10-3 No. 23
No. 23 Texas 10-4 No. 9
No. 24 Oregon 9-4 NR
No. 25 LSU 10-3 No. 6

So how accurate is the AP Preseason poll?

61.9 percent of the 2018 preseason ranked teams ended the season within the Top 25. Wisconsin began last season ranked No. 4; Florida State sat comfortably at No. 19. Both programs did not make an appearance in the final AP Poll. 

MORE: Does college football’s preseason AP poll predict the final AP poll?

Historical preseason poll data

1999 Florida State was the first wire-to-wire national champion. The Seminoles held their No. 1 ranking starting with the preseason poll, all through the regular season and after the BCS title game win against Michael Vick and Virginia Tech. 

The list of preseason No. 1s to not finish the season ranked is small: 2012 Southern California and 1964 Ole Miss. The Trojans finished only 7-6, while the Rebels ended 5-5-1.

Since the AP Preseason Poll began in 1950, only 11 teams have been the preseason No. 1 and become that season’s national champion.

What we expected in Monday’s Preseason AP Poll

Here’s how we did:

Defending national champion Clemson and its star quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, will likely be No. 1. Alabama, which has played in the last four College Football Playoff title games, will likely be a strong second.

There are more questions starting with No. 3, as Clemson and Alabama earlier gobbled up all 65 first-place votes in the preseason Coaches Poll. Expect similar domination from those two in the AP Poll.

RANKINGS: Get the Coaches Poll and AP Poll here

Ohio State, the AP’s final No. 3 last season, begins the 2019 season in a more uncertain state. Urban Meyer stepped down after seven seasons as head coach, making room for Ryan Day. Meyer led the Buckeyes to two playoff appearances and a national championship. Former blue chip QB recruit Justin Fields transferred from Georgia.

With the loss of Heisman winner Kyler Murray, 2018’s final AP No. 4 Oklahoma has a big gap to fill at quarterback. The Sooners added senior Jalen Hurts, a quarterback transfer from Alabama.

Georgia, which is No. 3 in the preseason Coaches Poll, has a star QB in Jake Fromm. The junior led Georgia to the national title game in the 2017 season and to the Sugar Bowl last season. They finished 2018 tied with Florida at No. 7, but their weapons on offense make them a healthy candidate to also land a spot in the Top 5.


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