The Crimson Tide received 61 of 65 first-place votes from the coaches, with three going to No. 2 Clemson and one to Ohio State.
The Georgia Bulldogs, who won the SEC last year and faced Alabama in the national championship game, appear at No. 4 in the poll, followed by defending Big 12 champion Oklahoma. Pac-12 preseason favorite Washington debuts at No. 6, and Wisconsin, Miami, Penn State and Auburn round out the top 10.
The Big Ten has five teams in the top 14 of the poll with Michigan State at No. 12 and Michigan at No. 14. The Big 12 has only one top-15 team in Oklahoma, but No. 16 TCU, No. 20 West Virginia, No. 21 Texas and No. 25 Oklahoma State all made the rankings.
The UCF Knights, the lone FBS unbeaten from 2017 that declared itself the national champion after its Peach Bowl win over Auburn, comes in at No. 23.
Four teams that won 10 games in 2017 and appeared in the final coaches poll -- Northwestern, Memphis, South Florida and NC State -- all dropped out of the preseason poll, although each received some votes.
The 65 coach voters in this year's poll include Ohio State's Meyer, Alabama's Nick Saban, Clemson's Dabo Swinney, Georgia's Kirby Smart, Washington's Chris Petersen, Texas' Tom Herman, Penn State's James Franklin, TCU's Gary Patterson and Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy.