College football rankings: Alabama opens 2018 CBS Sports 129 at No. 1 for third straight year

For the third consecutive season, Alabama leads off the preseason edition of the CBS Sports 129 in the No. 1 spot. These college football rankings, which compile ballots from experts at CBS Sports and 247Sports to rank every FBS team in the country, allow us to step back and look at the sport's entire landscape as teams jockey for position both inside and outside the top 25 spots. 

While Alabama sits in its familiar spot at the top, they were not a unanimous No. 1 in our balloting. They are followed by Clemson, Georgia and Ohio State. The Buckeyes are making their fourth straight appearance in the top five of our preseason FBS rankings. 

Our experts seem have given Wisconsin a greater boost than some others, placing the Badgers in the No. 5 spot to open the season, but otherwise, the top of the board falls in line with what we've seen from around the country. Boise State is our top Group of Five team in the preseason rankings at No. 21, joined by UCF at No. 23.    

College football experts from CBS Sports and 247Sports contribute ballots each week, which are averaged together for our rankings. You can see the top 25 below and teams ranked 26-129 by clicking here.

RankTeam2017-18 Record2017-18 Finish
1 Alabama 13-1 1
2 Clemson 12-2 5
3 Georgia 13-2 2
4 Ohio State 12-2 6
5 Wisconsin 13-1 7
6 Washington 10-3 15
7 Oklahoma 12-2 3
8 Penn State 11-2 8
9 Auburn 10-4 10
10 Michigan State 10-3 17
11 Miami 10-3 12
12 Notre Dame 10-3 13
13 Michigan 8-5 34
14 Stanford 9-5 16
15 TCU 11-3 9
16 Mississippi State 9-4 21
17 USC 11-3 11
18 Florida State 7-6 54
19 Texas 7-6 40
20 West Virginia 7-6 44
21 Boise State 11-3 24
22 South Carolina 9-4 28
23 UCF 13-0 4
24 Oregon 7-6 41
25 Florida 4-7 79

New arrivals to the top 25

  • No. 13 Michigan (up 21 spots): The Wolverines have enough talent throughout the program to start every year in the top 20 of the rankings. It's where they finish the year that is of concern to Michigan fans heading into 2018. 
  • No. 18 Florida State (up 36 spots): A quick correction from our experts after confidence in the Seminoles faded throughout the season in 2017. 
  • No. 19 Texas (up 21 spots): Our team appears pretty bullish on the Big 12 in general with TCU, Texas and West Virginia all joining Oklahoma in the top 20. The Longhorns were a top 40 team a year ago that played like a top 10 team at times, and the thinking here seems to be that the next step is coming for Tom Herman and the Longhorns. 
  • No. 20 West Virginia (up 24 spots): A healthy Will Grier puts West Virginia back in the mix to challenge Oklahoma for the Big 12 title. 
  • No. 22 South Carolina (up six spots): Any early movement in the rankings for the Gamecocks will be determined early by a Week 2 meeting with Georgia. 
  • No. 24 Oregon (up  17 spots): Like West Virginia, Oregon gets a boost from having its proven starting quarterback healthy again. The Ducks could be dangerous with Justin Herbert in 2018. 
  • No. 25 Florida (up 54 spots): Jim McElwain's midseason dismissal and the Gators' late-season struggles had Florida's ranking on a week-by-week slide well outside the top 25. With Dan Mullen in place and several key offensive weapons back, things have been on the up for Florida since our last balloting for the CBS 129. 

Teams moving out: Oklahoma State, Northwestern, Memphis, South Florida, LSU, Virginia Tech, FAU

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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