Preseason Coaches Poll: Alabama, Clemson start on top to open 2016

The preseason Coaches Poll was released on Thursday, kicking off the first debates of the 2016 season.

To no surprise, Alabama and Clemson -- the two teams that played in last season's College Football Playoff National Championship -- were No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. The Tide pulled in 55 first-place votes with Clemson getting seven such votes.

No. 4 Florida State and No. 10 Tennessee were the only other teams receiving first-place votes. (For the record, as George Schroeder of USA Today points out, coach Butch Jones does not have a vote.) The Vols, riding a wave of high offseason expectations, were predicted by the media to win the SEC East division earlier this summer. Meanwhile, Florida State hosts Clemson on Oct. 29 in what could be the game of the season.

Other notable teams include No. 5 Ohio State over No. 8 Michigan, No. 13 Houston (hoping to crash the playoff as a Group of Five team) and No. 21 Baylor, which is moving forward from a sexual assault scandal without coach Art Briles.

Here's how the Coaches Poll top 25 looks from top to bottom.

1. Alabama (55)
2. Clemson (7)
3. Oklahoma
4. Florida State (1)
5. Ohio State
6. LSU
7. Stanford
8. Michigan
9. Notre Dame
10. Tennessee (1)
11. Michigan State
12. Ole Miss
13. Houston
14. TCU
15. Iowa
16. Georgia
17. USC
18. Washington
19. Oklahoma State
20. North Carolina
21. Baylor
22. Oregon
23. Louisville
24. UCLA
25. Florida

For those interested in how the top 25 broke down by conference, here's how the voting went.

SEC: 6
Pac-12: 5
Big Ten: 4
Big 12: 4
ACC: 4
American 1:
Independent: 1

Other teams to receive votes were Miami (120), Wisconsin (82), Utah (73), Boise State (73), Washington State (47), Texas A&M (37), Texas (34), Arkansas (34), Northwestern (31) and Navy (30). Clearly, the Hurricanes were the closest team to making the cut.

Who was too high? Too low? Sound off in the comment section below.

CBS Sports Writer

Ben Kercheval joined CBS Sports in 2016 and has been covering college football since 2010. Before CBS, Ben worked at Bleacher Report, UPROXX Sports and NBC Sports. As a long-suffering North Texas graduate,... Full Bio

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