The defending national champion Buckeyes received all 61 first-place votes from the media panel in the rankings released Sunday.
The Buckeyes won the first College Football Playoff championship last season and are trying to become the 12th team to win consecutive AP titles since the poll began in 1936.
Preseason rankings date back to 1950. Since then, no team had received more than 97 percent of the first-place votes in a preseason poll.
In 2013, Alabama, which had won two straight championships, received 58 of 60 first-place votes, and defending champion Florida did the same in 2009. Neither finished the season No. 1.
This is the eighth time Ohio State has been named the AP preseason No. 1, but the Buckeyes have not won a national championship in any of the previous seven years it happened. They finished No. 2 in both 1998 and 2006 after being ranked No. 1 at the start of the year.
The Associated Press and ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report.