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Longhorns Debut at No. 15 in AP Poll

Updated: Saturday, August 17 2013, 03:36 PM CDT

Alabama will begin this season the way it ended the last two - No. 1.

Nick Saban's two-time defending national champions are top-ranked in The Associated Press preseason college football poll, with the Crimson Tide trying to become the first team to win three straight national titles.

Much like the BCS championship game against Notre Dame, the vote was an Alabama landslide. The Tide received 58 of 60 first-place votes from the media panel Saturday to easily outdistance No. 2 Ohio State. Alabama matched Florida in 2009 for the highest percentage of first-place votes received in the 63-year history of the preseason rankings.

The Buckeyes received one first-place vote.

Oregon is No. 3, followed by Stanford and Georgia, which received the other first-place vote.

Notre Dame, coming off a 42-14 loss in the BCS championship game to Alabama, is No. 14.

Alabama won its record ninth AP national championship last season, third BCS title in the last four years under Saban, and became the first team to win back-to-back BCS championships.

The Tide is AP preseason No. 1 for the fourth time, and first since 2010. Alabama was ranked No. 2 in the preseason poll each of the last two seasons. The only time has Alabama started and finished No. 1 was 1978, when Bear Bryant led the Crimson Tide to the fourth of its five national championships with him as coach.

Now Saban's Tide is trying to accomplish something Bear's boys never could. Twice Alabama won back-to-back championships under Bryant, but couldn't get the third.

Saban is hoping senior stars such as quarterback AJ McCarron, linebacker C.J. Mosley, defensive end Ed Stinson and guard Anthony Steen have enough memories of what went wrong for the 2010 Alabama team to avoid it happening in 2013.

"You're in a position here where we have a lot of players that really haven't lost much," Saban said earlier this week. "They have to really want to be good for the sake of being good.

Alabama is 49-5 over the past four seasons, with three of those losses coming in `10.

"Most other teams are out there saying we've got something to prove," Saban said. "Well, this team has something to prove. It's a lot more difficult not to be a little bit complacent, not to keep the same accountability to being successful that's necessary. You've got to challenge yourself every day. You've got to challenge each other."

Since the poll started in 1936, 10 times has a school has won consecutive AP championships.

The Tide's task: complete the hat trick.

Alabama will also be trying to run the Southeastern Conference's streak of national championships to eight. For the second straight year, half the top 10 teams to start the season are from the SEC. Joining Alabama and Georgia are South Carolina at No. 6, Texas A&M at No. 7 and Florida at No. 10.

The Tide and Aggies meet Sept. 14 in College Station, Texas. A&M and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel handed Alabama its only loss last year. Whether Manziel will be eligible for the rematch remains in question while the NCAA investigates the Aggies' quarterback. ESPN has reported Manziel is under investigation for being paid to sign autographs.

No. 8 Clemson and No. 9 Louisville, led by two other Heisman-contender quarterbacks, round out the top 10. Tajh Boyd and Clemson take on Georgia at home in Week 1 and are the favorites to win the Atlantic Coast Conference. Teddy Bridgewater and the Cardinals are the heavy favorites to get back to the BCS for the second straight year out of the newly renamed American Athletic Conference.

McCarron also makes most of the preseason Heisman contender lists. He passed for 2,933 yards and 30 touchdowns with only three interceptions last season. Now in his third season as a starter, McCarron is the face of the Tide.

"Last year there were other people on the offense that had a lot of leadership qualities about them. So it really wasn't quite as important for (McCarron) to always be that guy, even though his position lends itself to that," Saban said. "I think that's a role he can be very good at and it will be important for our team that he is good at it."

The second 10 in the preseason rankings starts with No. 11 Florida State. No. 12 LSU gives the SEC six teams in the rankings, more than any other conference. The Big Ten and Pac-12 both have five.

The Big 12 has four teams ranked, all between Nos. 13-20, starting with Oklahoma State. Texas is No. 15, Oklahoma is No. 16 and TCU is No. 20.

Michigan is No. 17 and Big Ten rival Nebraska is No. 18.

Boise State is No. 19, the only team from a BCS non-automatic qualifying conference to make the preseason rankings.

The final five are No. 21 UCLA from the Pac-12; No. 22 Northwestern and No. 23 Wisconsin from the Big Ten; last year's preseason No. 1 Southern California is No. 24; and Oregon State from the Pac-12 at No. 25.

-AP

Longhorns Debut at No. 15 in AP Poll


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WORLD SERIES

Friday - Game 3

Kansas City 3, San Francisco 2

(Royals lead series 2-1)

Saturday - Game 4

Kansas City (Vargas 11-10) at San Francisco (Vogelsong 8-13), 8:07 p.m.

TOP 25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Friday's Game

(6) Oregon 59, California 41

Saturday's Games

No. 1 Mississippi State at Kentucky, 3:30 p.m.

No. 3 Mississippi at No. 24 LSU, 7:15 p.m.

No. 4 Alabama at Tennessee, 7:30 p.m.

No. 5 Auburn vs. South Carolina, 7:30 p.m.

No. 8 Michigan State vs. Michigan, 3:30 p.m.

No. 10 TCU vs. Texas Tech, 3:30 p.m.

No. 11 Kansas State vs. Texas, Noon

No. 13 Ohio State at Penn State, 8 p.m.

No. 14 Arizona State at Washington, 10:45 p.m.

No. 15 Arizona at Washington State, 5 p.m.

No. 16 Nebraska vs. Rutgers, Noon

No. 19 Utah vs. No. 20 Southern Cal, 10 p.m.

No. 21 Clemson vs. Syracuse, 7 p.m.

No. 22 West Virginia at Oklahoma State, 3:30 p.m.

No. 23 Marshall vs. FAU, 3:30 p.m.

No. 25 UCLA at Colorado, 2 p.m.

NHL

Friday's Games

Dallas 3, New Jersey 2, SO

Tampa Bay 4, Winnipeg 2

Colorado 7, Vancouver 3

Edmonton 6, Carolina 3

Anaheim 4, Columbus 1

Saturday's Games

Buffalo at San Jose, 4 p.m.

Boston at Toronto, 7 p.m.

N.Y. Rangers at Montreal, 7 p.m.

New Jersey at Ottawa, 7 p.m.

Dallas at N.Y. Islanders, 7 p.m.

Detroit at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.

Chicago at St. Louis, 8 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Nashville, 8 p.m.

Tampa Bay at Minnesota, 8 p.m.

Florida at Arizona, 9 p.m.

Washington at Calgary, 10 p.m.

MLS

Friday's Games

Chicago 2, Houston 1

Saturday's Games

Los Angeles at Seattle FC, 3 p.m.

D.C. United at Montreal, 4 p.m.

Toronto FC at New England, 7:30 p.m.

Portland at FC Dallas, 8:30 p.m.

Colorado at Vancouver, 10 p.m.

NFL

Friday-Saturday

No games scheduled

Sunday's Games

Detroit vs. Atlanta at London, 9:30 a.m.

St. Louis at Kansas City, 1 p.m.

Houston at Tennessee, 1 p.m.

Minnesota at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.

Seattle at Carolina, 1 p.m.

Baltimore at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.

Miami at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.

Chicago at New England, 1 p.m.

Buffalo at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m.

Philadelphia at Arizona, 4:05 p.m.

Oakland at Cleveland, 4:25 p.m.

Indianapolis at Pittsburgh, 4:25 p.m.

Green Bay at New Orleans, 8:30 p.m.

Open: N.Y. Giants, San Francisco

Monday's Game

Washington at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.

NBA PRESEASON

Friday's Games

Dallas 117, Orlando 92

Toronto 83, New York 80

Minnesota 113, Chicago 112

Miami 104, Memphis 98

Houston 96, San Antonio 87

Phoenix 105, Utah 100

Sacramento 93, L.A. Lakers 92

Golden State 119, Denver 112

Portland 99, L-A Clippers 89

Saturday

No games scheduled

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KEYE-TV Sports Team


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