Crimson Tide Begin 2010 Season With Top Spot In AP Poll

August 21, 200 – By Scott

As the 2010 College Football season approaches, the AP poll is out and to no surprise, defending national champion Alabama will begin the season as the top-ranked team. This will mark the first time since 1978 the Crimson Tide will begin the season as the top-ranked team in The Associated Press preseason poll. Alabama received 54 of 60 first-place votes from the media and 1,491 points.

They were clearly ahead of Ohio State who will begin the season as the No. 2 team in NCAA football. The Buckeyes received three first-place votes and have not been ranked lower than 11th in the last eight preseason polls.

The last time Alabama was ranked as the preseason top team was when Bear Bryant was the head coach. The Tide began that season and ended it as the No.1 team in the nation which was the first of two straight national championships for Alabama.

As Alabama looks to repeat on last year’s success, they will rely heavily on an offense that is led by Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram. Also returning are his sidekick, Trent Richardson and quarterback Greg McElroy. They return most of their stars on offense as they begin their quest to become the first program to win back-to-back titles three times. The Oklahoma Sooners and Nebraska Cornhuskers have done it twice. But head coach Nick Saban realizes that this is a totally different year.

“What was accomplished by last year’s team has nothing to do with this year’s team. The players have to understand that,” said Saban, who in three seasons has fully restored Alabama’s status as an elite program. “This team has to develop an image, an identity of its own by its performance. What was accomplished last year is just a standard for somebody else to top.

While the Tide return most of their starting offensive unit, the defense on the other hand is facing a major turnover. Alabama lost All-Americans Terrence Cody, Rolando McClain and Javier Arenas as well as six other starters. Now, many five-star recruits will be asked to step in and Saban knows that all they lack is the experience.

“We have confidence in our defensive players. I think it’s more a matter of knowledge and experience and maturity that the defense is going to have to develop,” Saban said.

Boise State will begin the season as the No. 3 team in the nation and look for another undefeated season. They will face the No.10 Virginia Tech Hokies on Labor Day in the first big game of the season. The Broncos are followed by Florida and Texas to round out the preseason top 5. The rest of the top 10 includes TCU, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa and Virginia Tech.

Along with their preseason No. 1 ranking, Alabama will also be favored by College Football sportsbooks as the favorite to win the 2011 BCS National Championship. Boise State has their odds set at 8/1.

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