In the first AP Poll of the year, the Alabama Crimson Tide are ranked first in the nation, followed by familiar faces Oklahoma, Ohio State, Clemson and Georgia to round out the top five.

Coming off an undefeated national championship season, the Crimson Tide enter 2021 with a lot of new faces on the field. A new starting quarterback in Bryce Young as well as returning just one starter from last year's receiving core on top of adding a new offensive coordinator means Alabama will be a very different looking team from last season's championship squad.

The Crimson Tide kick off 2021 against 14th ranked Miami led by Heisman hopeful D'Eriq King. The Hurricanes are the first ranked team Alabama has opened their season against since third ranked Florida State in 2017 where the Tide emerged victorious 24-7.

Alabama v Florida State
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Though a preseason number one ranking is impressive, history is not on the Tide's side. Since the first release of the AP Poll in 1950, just 11 teams have started the season and finished it ranked number one with the last one being, none other, than Alabama in 2017.

As for the rest of the top 25, fellow SEC programs Texas A&M, Florida and LSU come in ranked 6th, 13th and 16th as well as Ole Miss and Auburn receiving votes.

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Texas A&M, a team that closed 2020 stronger than it opened, was vying for a playoff spot right up until the final week of last season, so seeing them ranked as highly as No. 6 is no surprise. The Aggies will be tasked with replacing four-year starter Kellen Mond at quarterback, but if former four-star Haynes King can live up to the hype, Texas A&M can certainly be one of the nation's top teams.

Florida, one of the most electric teams in the nation for most of 2020, saw an end of the season collapse which culminated in three straight losses to close the year; however, the Gators appear to have a lot of excellent pieces and could be a contender in the SEC. Like Texas A&M, Florida has a lot of production to replace, but will be replacing it will top-tier recruits who look ready to take over.

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Finally, LSU finished 2020 an abysmal 5-5, and after their likely starter for 2021, Myles Brennan, went down with a potential season-ending injury earlier this month, the outlook for the Tigers is not great. Though LSU features a lot of a talent on both sides of the ball, injuries could quickly derail a promising season.

The 2021 season is just around the corner and the SEC is shaping up to be an extremely strong conference once again. Alabama has a lot of great teams to beat if they want a chance to repeat as champions.

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