NEW YORK (AP) — Alabama is No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll for the first time this season, replacing preseason No. 1 Clemson after the Tigers had a close call.
Alabama received 29 of 61 first-place votes Sunday from the media panel as the Tigers’ one-point victory at North Carolina gave the AP Top 25 presented by Regions Bank the first shake-up at the top this season. Clemson slipped to No. 2 and received 18 first-place votes.
The last time a No. 1 team won and dropped was Ohio State on Nov. 7, 2015, after the Buckeyes beat Minnesota 28-14 at home. The No. 1 team has won and dropped in the rankings 90 times since the AP poll started in 1936, including four times when there was a tie for No. 1.
No. 3 Georgia received four first-place votes. Ohio State moved up to No. 4 and received seven first-place votes. LSU was No. 5 and Oklahoma sixth. No. 7 Auburn received three first-place votes.
The last time five or more teams received first-place votes during the regular season was Nov. 1, 2015: No. 1 Ohio State (39); No. 2. Baylor (six); No. 3. Clemson (six); No. 4. LSU (five); No. 5. TCU (four); and No. 7. Alabama (one).
At the other end of the rankings, No. 24 SMU is ranked for the first time since the program received the so-called death penalty for NCAA rules violations in 1987 and did not compete for two seasons.
Alabama has now been ranked No. 1 at some point in each of the last 12 seasons, extending its own record. The second-longest streak belongs to Miami, which had a string of seven consecutive seasons with an appearance at No. 1 from 1986-92.
This is the 119th time Alabama has been No. 1, most of any school in poll history, and the 88th time it has been top-ranked under coach Nick Saban since he took over in 2007. Only Ohio State, Oklahoma, Notre Dame and Southern California have more total appearances at No. 1 than Alabama has under Saban.