The teams that finished in the top two positions in the 2018 college football season will start the 2019 season in the same way, according to the Coaches Poll, which was released Thursday.
Defending national champion Clemson will begin the season ranked No. 1, while national runner-up Alabama will start the season in the No. 2 spot. Clemson took home 59 first-place votes, while Alabama garnered the other six first-place votes.
Clemson defeated the Crimson Tide 44-16 in the College Football Playoff National Championship game in Santa Clara, California, to finish the season with a perfect 15-0 record, becoming the first team to win 15 games in a season since the 1800s. Alabama finished last season with a 14-1 mark.
It is the first time in program history that Clemson has been ranked No. 1 in the preseason Coaches Poll.
Georgia, which Alabama defeated in the SEC Championship Game, is ranked third, while LSU and Florida also represent the SEC in the top 10, coming in at No. 6 and No. 8, respectively.
The other SEC team ranked in the preseason top 25 is Auburn, which comes in at No. 16. The Tigers finished last season with a disappointing 8-5 record, including a 3-5 record in the SEC.
Alabama and Auburn will both open their seasons Saturday, Aug. 31, with Alabama taking on Duke in the Chick-fil-A Classic in Atlanta, and Auburn facing Oregon in the Advocare Classic in Arlington, Texas.
Preseason Coaches Poll (first-place votes in parenthesis)
1. Clemson (59)
2. Alabama (6)
5. Ohio State
11. Texas A&M
Others receiving votes: Nebraska, 152; Boise State, 118; Mississippi State, 111; Miami (Florida) 94; Army, 91; Kentucky, 79; Virginia Tech, 64; TCU, 63; USC, 47; Utah State, 32; Fresno State, 32; Virginia, 30; Cincinnati, 25; West Virginia, 24; Memphis, 24; Oklahoma State, 20; South Carolina, 15; NC State, 12; Duke, 10; Boston College, 5; Florida State, 4; Baylor, 4; Appalachian State, 4; North Texas, 3; Houston, 3; UCLA, 2; Temple, 2; Arizona State, 2; Troy, 1; Tennessee, 1; Ole Miss, 1; and Minnesota, 1.