Alabama, Clemson top CBS Sports 128 preseason college football rankings

The CBS Sports 128 -- a weekly ranking of every team in college football -- is back with some familiar names atop of our preseason edition of the rankings ahead of the 2016 season.

Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma and Ohio State -- all top-five teams in the final CBS 128 of 2015 -- are joined by Florida State at the top of our preseason rankings. There wasn't much movement at the top, but there were some big leaps elsewhere in the rankings as a number of teams that finished 2015 with a whimper are getting some love to start this season.

With quarterback Josh Rosen expected to take a big step forward in his sophomore year, UCLA checked in at No. 10, up 25 spots from its 2015 finish. Washington, another surging team from the Pac-12, is up 26 spots at No. 18. Louisville (No. 20) and Miami (No. 24) moved up 27 and 26 spots, respectively, and that's just a quick look at the top 25.

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Clemson and Alabama compete again for our No. 1 ranking. CBS Sports Graphic

A few notes from outside the top 25:

  • South Florida (No. 30) was picked to lead its division and will get a crack at Florida State.
  • Southern Miss (No. 34) is ranked higher than its season-opening opponent, Kentucky (No. 74).
  • Appalachian State (No. 50) is the top-ranked team in the Sun Belt and will get a chance to create some magic in Boone, North Carolina, when Miami comes to town on Sept. 17. Georgia Southern, now led by Tyson Summers, is not far behind the Mountaineers at No. 54.

See, that's the thing about the 128. College football doesn't exist in a 25-team league. That little number next to a team's name, while a method of bragging for fans on Saturday, doesn't ultimately mean that much. Depending on the season, there really might not be that big of a difference between No. 13 and No. 30 or No. 14 and No. 41. By viewing the college football landscape through a 128-team lens, we can get a more accurate view of the movement and distribution of strength in the sport.


College football experts from CBS Sports -- and for the first time this year, partner 247Sports -- contribute ballots each week, which are averaged together for our rankings.
Preseason Rank Team 2015 Record Final 2015
Rank
1 Alabama 14-1 1
2 Clemson 14-1 2
3 Oklahoma 11-2 4
4 Florida State 10-3 15
5 Ohio State 12-1 5
6 LSU 9-3 17
7 Stanford 12-2 3
8 Notre Dame 10-3 11
9 Michigan 10-3 12
10 UCLA 8-5 35
11 Ole Miss 10-3 10
12 Tennessee 9-4 24
13 TCU 11-2 8
14 Houston 13-1 7
15 USC 8-6 28
16 Baylor 10-3 13
17 Michigan State 12-2 6
18 Washington 7-6 44
19 Georgia 10-3 30
20 Louisville 8-5 47
21 Iowa 12-2 9
22 Oklahoma State 10-3 16
23 North Carolina 11-3 14
24 Miami (FL) 8-5 50
25 Oregon 9-4 21

Check out the rest of the CBS Sports 128: Teams ranked 26-128

CBS Sports Writer

Chip Patterson has spent his young career covering college sports from the Old North State. He's been writing and talking about football and basketball for CBS Sports since 2010. You may have heard him... Full Bio

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