RALPH D. RUSSO
AP College Football Writer
Ohio State is the first unanimous preseason No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll.
The defending national champion Buckeyes received all 61 first-place votes from the media panel in the rankings released Sunday.
TCU is No. 2, followed by Alabama, Baylor and Michigan State.
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.
The rest of this year’s preseason top 10 is Auburn, Oregon, Southern California, Georgia and Florida State.
2 — The last two times the Buckeyes opened the season at No. 1 (1998 and 2006), they finished No. 2.
6 — Pac 12 has six teams ranked in the preseason poll for the second straight year.
8 — It is the eighth time Ohio State is ranked No. 1 in preseason. Only Oklahoma has been rated the top preseason team more times, with 10.
8 — SEC has eight teams ranked for the third time, the most by any conference. SEC set the record in 2011 and had eight teams ranked last year.
10 — Ten times the preseason No. 1 has gone on to win the national title. Only twice, Florida State in 1999 and Southern California in 2004, has the top-ranked team in the preseason poll gone wire-to-wire as No. 1.
27 — Ohio State has appeared in the preseason poll for 27 consecutive years, the longest current streak and the fourth longest all-time. Oklahoma has the second longest current streak at 16 years.
You might have heard that TCU and Baylor shared the Big 12 championship last year. It was sort of a big deal. Well, the second-ranked Horned Frogs and No. 4 Bears are close again and both have their best preseason rankings.
— TCU’s previous best preseason ranking was No. 6 in 2010.
— Baylor’s previous best was No. 7 in 1957.
No. 3 Alabama is preseason top-five for the seventh consecutive season. It is the third longest streak of preseason top-five rankings in the history of the poll. Florida State did it 11 straight times from 1990-2000 and Oklahoma had eight straight preseason top-five rankings from 1974-81.
No. 5 Michigan State has its best preseason ranking since 1967 when it started No. 3.
No. 22 Arizona is ranked in the preseason for the first time since 1999. The Wildcats and rival Arizona State, ranked 15th, are both preseason ranked for just the fifth time (1974, ‘89, ‘98 and .99).