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Longhorns Debut at No. 15 in AP Poll

Updated: Saturday, August 17 2013, 04:36 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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Scores & Schedules

March 01, 2015 08:07 GMT

Latest scores; Upcoming games

NBA

Saturday's Game

Washington 99, Detroit 95

Atlanta 93, Miami 91

New York 103, Toronto 98

Memphis 101, Minnesota 97

Brooklyn 104, Dallas 94

San Antonio 101, Phoenix 74

Utah 82, Milwaukee 75

Sunday's Games

L.A. Clippers at Chicago, 1 p.m.

Cleveland at Houston, 3:30 p.m.

Charlotte at Orlando, 6 p.m.

Golden State at Boston, 6 p.m.

Philadelphia at Indiana, 6 p.m.

Portland at Sacramento, 6 p.m.

Oklahoma City at L.A. Lakers, 6:30 p.m.

New Orleans at Denver, 8 p.m.

NHL

Saturday's Games

Florida 5, Buffalo 3

Detroit 4, Nashville 3

Carolina 5, N.Y. Islanders 3

New Jersey 2, Columbus 0

Boston 4, Arizona 1

Montreal 4, Toronto 0

Philadelphia 4, N.Y. Rangers 2

Minnesota 3, Colorado 1

St. Louis 2, Edmonton 1

Ottawa 4, San Jose 2

Sunday's Games

Los Angeles at Winnipeg, 4 p.m.

Tampa Bay at Florida, 5 p.m.

Columbus at Pittsburgh, 5 p.m.

Toronto at Washington, 7 p.m.

Anaheim at Dallas, 8 p.m.

St. Louis at Vancouver, 10 p.m.

TOP-25 MEN'S BASKETBALL

Saturday's Games

( 1) Kentucky 84, (18) Arkansas 67

( 2) Virginia 69, Virginia Tech 57

BYU 73 ( 3) Gonzaga 70

( 4) Duke 73, Syracuse 54

( 6) Villanova 78m Xavier 66

( 7) Arizona 63, (13) Utah 57

( 8) Kansas 69, Texas 64

(11) Wichita State 74, (10) Northern Iowa 60

Kansas State 70, (12) Iowa State 69

(14) Maryland 66, Michigan 56

(15) North Carolina 73, Miami 64

(16) Oklahoma 67, TCU 60

(17) Louisville 81, Florida State 59

(19) Baylor 78, (20) West Virginia 66

Dayton 59, (22) VCU 55

(23) Butler 67, DePaul 53

Boise State 56, (24) San Diego State 46

Sunday's Games

( 5) Wisconsin vs. Michigan State, 4 p.m.

(21) SMU at UConn, 2 p.m.

(25) Providence vs. Marquette, 3:30 p.m.

TOP-25 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

Saturday's Games

( 1) UConn 87, Memphis 24

Iowa State 76, ( 3) Baylor 71

( 7) Oregon State 73, California 55

(14) Princeton 79, Brown 67

(18) Chattanooga 64, ETSU 42

(21) Florida Gulf Coast 78 Jacksonville 47

Sunday's Games

( 2) South Carolina at (13) Kentucky, 5 p.m.

( 4) Notre Dame at N.C. State, 2 p.m.

( 5) Maryland at (25) Northwestern, 1 p.m.

( 6) Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt, 5 p.m.

( 8) Louisville at Virginia, 1 p.m.

( 9) Florida State at Miami, 3 p.m.

(10) Arizona State vs. Colorado, 4 p.m.

(11) Mississippi State vs. Mississippi, 2 p.m.

(12) Texas A&M at LSU, 2 p.m.

(15) North Carolina at (16) Duke, 3 p.m.

(17) Iowa vs. Minnesota, 3 p.m.

(19) Stanford at Oregon, 4 p.m.

(20) Rutgers vs. Indiana, Noon

(22) George Washington vs. George Mason, 2 p.m.

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KEYE-TV Sports Team


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