Clemson is No. 1 in the USA Today preseason coaches’ poll for the first time, followed by Alabama at No. 2.
The defending champion Tigers received 59 of a possible 65 first-place votes and the Crimson Tide got the rest in the poll released Thursday. The Associated Press preseason Top 25 will be released Aug. 19.
Syracuse is ranked No. 22 after going 10-3 last season and being ranked No. 15 in the final coaches’ poll. The Orange are the only team from the ACC ranked other than Clemson.
Clemson beat Alabama 44-16 in the College Football Playoff championship game in January.
It was the fourth straight year the Tigers and Tide met in the playoff.
Clemson and Alabama have alternated winning the last four championships.
Georgia was No. 3 in the coaches’ poll, followed by Oklahoma and Ohio State. No. 6 LSU and No. 8 Florida gave the Southeastern Conference four top-10 teams.