|Phil Sears / Associated Press|
|Jimbo Fisher's Seminoles appear to be a clear favorite to defend their national championship.|
Defending national champion Florida State was ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press' preseason poll, which was released Sunday.
The AP poll is voted on by sportswriters. FSU, which returns Heisman-winning quarterback Jameis Winston and 12 other starters, also was No. 1 in the preseason coaches' poll -- which was released July 31 -- and an unanimous selection as the No. 1 team in the CFB 24/7 Top 25 Power Rankings, which was released Thursday.
While there will be fans exorcised by the relative low ranking -- or outright omission -- of their favorite team, what is important to remember is that the AP poll is for entertainment purposes only: It has zero bearing on the makeup of the four teams that will be selected for the playoff.
Alabama, Oklahoma and Oregon complete the preseason top four. Ohio State is fifth.
Florida State is one of three ACC schools in the top 25. The SEC leads the way with eight teams, including five of the top 13. The Pac-12 is second among conferences with six. The Big Ten has four and the Big 12 three, and there is one independent (Notre Dame).
The first weekend of the season has three games involving two teams in the top 25: Clemson-Georgia, South Carolina-Texas A&M and LSU-Wisconsin.
The last time a team ranked No. 1 in the preseason in the AP poll followed through by winning the national title was USC, in 2004.
The entire order of the AP poll:
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.