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Alabama tops AP preseason football poll: FSU No. 4, UF No. 25

Florida State and Florida are in the preseason Associated Press top 25 football poll, which came out Sunday, with the Seminoles ranked fourth and the Gators 25th.

The last time FSU opened in the top five was in 2014, when it was the preseason No. 1. It's the 16th time FSU opens in the top five.

UF opens in the top 25 for the first time since 2013 (10th). It's the 36th time the Gators have been ranked to start a season.

Alabama earned the top spot for the first time since 2013, earning 33 of 61 first-place votes. The defending national champs seek to be the first team to open and close a season at No. 1 since USC in 2004. It's the fifth time the Crimson Tide opens at No. 1, the third time under coach Nick Saban.

Clemson (16 first-place votes) was second, followed by Oklahoma (four), FSU (five) and LSU (one) among the top five teams.

No. 6 Ohio State makes its 28th straight appearance in the preseason poll. Only Penn State (34) and Nebraska (33) had longer streaks.

Miami and USF got votes but failed to qualify for the top 25.

The top four spots are identical to the preseason coaches' poll, released this month.

The SEC led with six teams in the rankings followed by the Pac-12 (five) and the Big Ten, ACC and Big 12 (four each).

Notre Dame boots one, suspends another: Notre Dame kicked starting safety Max Redfield off the team and suspended reserve cornerback Devin Butler indefinitely after they were arrested in separate incidents over the weekend.

Coach Brian Kelly said in a statement that he met with the players and reviewed the evidence available.

"That process has only served to deepen my disappointment in the poor decisions made by these young men," Kelly said.

Butler, already out until October with a broken foot, was taken into custody early Saturday after a police officer said the player punched and slammed him to the ground outside a bar near campus. Officers had to use a stun gun to subdue Butler, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Redfield and four other players — running back Dexter Williams, linebacker Te'von Coney, wide receiver Kevin Stepherson Jr. and cornerback Ashton White — were arrested Friday night in Fulton County, about 35 miles south of South Bend, for speeding. The trooper who pulled them over found marijuana and a handgun in the car, police said.

The four other players arrested with Redfield face internal discipline, according to Kelly.

Redfield, who was expected to start this season, was sent home from the Fiesta Bowl last season for violating team rules.

Joey Knight's preseason top 25

During the vexing, stimulating, maddening and mildly addictive process of filling out an inaugural ballot in the Associated Press poll, voters typically lean on two factors: history and potential.

We can assess what a nucleus of returning players has achieved in the past, or what we believe a given team can achieve in the upcoming season.

As my first ballot of 2016 suggests, I gravitate toward the former: My top three teams all possess a proven quarterback, and that's why Clemson sits on top. Deshaun Watson, currently the college game's best at his position, is surrounded by versatile, veteran skill guys (a handful of whom hail from the bay area). And while the Tigers clearly have vacancies to fill on defense, their stockpile of talent is such that they replenish as well as anyone in America.

Joey Knight, Times staff writer

1. Clemson

2. Oklahoma

3. LSU

4. Alabama

5. FSU

6. Ohio State

7. TCU

8. Tennessee

9. Michigan

10. Louisville

11. Houston

12. Washington

13. Notre Dame

14. Georgia

15. UCLA

16. Washington State

17. Ole Miss

18. Stanford

19. Michigan State

20. Florida

21. Miami

22. Oregon

23. Iowa

24. Oklahoma State

25. Boise State

Alabama tops AP preseason football poll: FSU No. 4, UF No. 25 08/21/16 [Last modified: Sunday, August 21, 2016 11:43pm]
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