Coaches Poll Has Tide No. 1 Preseason

So far, Alabama is doing better in post-season polls than in pre-season polls under Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban. Saban's Bama teams have won three of the last four national football championships, but when the annual Coaches Poll was announced Thursday the Tide was number one for only the second time in four years.

Alabama has won the national championship the past two years and also took the title in 2009. On Thursday, USA Today announced the Crimson Tide is number one in its pre-season poll.

Expect Bama Coach Nick Saban to be underwhelmed by this news as he prepares to greet his 2013 team today. Alabama begins practice Friday with 105 players as Saban begins his seventh year in Tuscaloosa. The Tide opens the season Aug. 31 against Virginia Tech at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Alabama returns seven defensive starters and six offensive starters from last year's 13-1 team that defeated Georgia for the Southeastern Conference championship and Notre Dame for the BCS National Championship. Bama is a pretty easy pick for number one as Saban has built a dynasty, a team that has gone 61-7 in the past five seasons.

Alabama's last appearance atop the preseason coaches poll was in 2010 and it did not end well, a 10-3 season and the only one in the past four in which Bama did not win the national title.

Bama has been ranked in a national best 81 consecutive USA Today Coaches Polls, including the last 33 in the top five.

Alabama had 58 of the 62 first place votes and 1545 points. Ohio State was second in the poll with three first place votes and 1427 points. Bama's margin of 118 poll points on the second-ranked Buckeyes is the largest preseason lead for a number one team since 2005.

Ohio State was followed by Oregon third, Stanford fourth, and Georgia fifth. The SEC has six teams ranked, all in the top 13 – Texas A&M sixth, South Carolina seventh, Florida 10th, and LSU 13th.

Notre Dame, number one going into last year's BCS National Championship Game, opens up at No. 11.

Bama's opening opponent, Virginia Tech, received votes that would have ranked the Hokies 30th in the nation.

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