NEW ORLEANS — LSU is starting their 2019 season right where they left off.
The new AP Top 25 poll ranks the Tigers as the No. 6 team in the nation.
The Top 5 ahead of them are Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma and Ohio State, in that order.
LSU won 10 games last season and capped it with a Fiest Bowl win.
Even more is expected from the team this year with several key players returning for another year to join a talented rookie class.
The full TOP 25 is as follows:
- Ohio State
- Notre Dame
- Texas A&M
- Penn State
- Michigan State
- Iowa State
- Washington State
We're No. 1!
Clemson is the 23rd team to be preseason No. 1 and the first first-timer since Georgia in 2008. The Tigers will try to become the 12th team to start No. 1 and finish No. 1 since the preseason poll started in 1950. The last to do it was Alabama in 2017. Only two teams have gone wire-to-wire as No. 1: Florida State in 1999 and Southern California in 2004. Alabama has now been No. 2 to start the season nine times, matching Oklahoma for the most in AP poll history. Just as many teams (11) have started No. 2 and won the title as No. 1.
Ohio State is ranked in the preseason for the 31st consecutive season (1989-2019), the third best all-time streak behind only Penn State (34 years, 1968-2002) and Nebraska (33 years, 1970-2002). The Buckeyes have been ranked in 66 of 70 preseason polls, most of any school. The Buckeyes were unranked in 1966-67, 1979 and 1988.
No. 12 Texas A&M and South Carolina will each play the preseason top three. Only three times previously has a team had the entire preseason top three on its schedule:
— In 1968, Northwestern faced Purdue, USC and Notre Dame and went 0-3.
— In 1972, Minnesota faced Nebraska, Colorado and Ohio State and went 0-3.
— In 1975, Missouri faced Oklahoma, Alabama and Michigan and went 1-2, beating No. 2 Alabama to open the season.
Been a while
— No. 14 Utah has been a regular in the rankings for most of the last five seasons, but the Utes have not been ranked in the preseason since 2011 when they started No. 19. That was the season after coach Kyle Whittingham's team went unbeaten. In 2014, '15, and '16, the Utes finished the season ranked after starting unranked.
— No. 21 Iowa State is making its second appearance in the preseason poll. The Cyclones were No. 20 in 1978.
— No. 22 Syracuse is in the preseason Top 25 for the first time since 1998 when the Orange were No. 17.
— No. 24 Nebraska has not been ranked in the preseason since 2014, the program's longest drought since 1955-59. The ranking also ends a string of 32 straight polls in which Nebraska has not been ranked, dating back to the final one of the 2016 season. That is also the longest run of unranked teams the Huskers have had since the late '50s.
Big Ten — 7
SEC — 6
Pac 12 — 5
Big 12 — 3
ACC — 2
American — 1
Independent — 1
Ranked vs. Ranked
The first week of the season with a full schedule of games is lacking marquee matchups.
No. 16 Auburn faces No. 11 Oregon at the home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas. It's the only Week 1 game with two ranked teams. The first regular-season Top 25 will be released Sept. 3, the Tuesday after Labor Day. The rest of the regular-season rankings will be released on Sundays.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at https://podcastone.com/AP-Top-25-College-Football-Podcast
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25