Alabama, coming off its fourth national title in the past seven seasons, tops the preseason poll for the third time, receiving 55 first-place votes from the 64 FBS head coaches polled. Clemson, earning its highest preseason coaches' poll ranking by six spots, had seven first-place votes.
The other first-place votes went to No. 4 Florida State and No. 10 Tennessee, which is aiming for its first national title since 1998. The Vols enter the top 10 of the coaches' poll for the first time since Oct. 29, 2006.
Oklahoma comes in at No. 3 after winning the Big 12 and reaching the playoff behind quarterback Baker Mayfield, who returns this fall. The Ohio State Buckeyes, despite losing 12 players to the NFL draft, begin the season at No. 5.
Defending Big Ten champion Michigan State comes in at No. 11 after reaching the playoff semifinals last year.
The SEC led all conferences with six teams, followed by the Pac-12 with five and the Big Ten, Big 12 and ACC all with four. No. 13 Houston is the only Group of 5 team ranked following its record-setting 2015 season that ended with a Peach Bowl win against Florida State.