Alabama will begin its quest for a third straight college football national championship as the top-ranked team in the country.
The Crimson Tide, coming off a 13-1 season and a dominating win over Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship Game, earned all but two of the 60 first-place votes and a total of 1,498 points from the Associated Press' nationwide media panel to easily outdistance Ohio State for the top spot.
Ohio State, which picked up one No. 1 vote and 1,365 points in the balloting, finished last season undefeated in 12 games in Urban Meyer's first year. The Buckeyes were ineligible for postseason play while serving NCAA sanctions for violations under Jim Tressel.
Oregon, Stanford and Georgia round out the top five. Georgia garnered the other first-place vote. South Carolina, Texas A&M, Clemson, Louisville and Florida complete the top 10.
The second 10 consists of Florida State, LSU, Oklahoma State, Notre Dame, Texas, Oklahoma, Michigan, Nebraska, Boise State and TCU.
UCLA, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Southern California and Oregon State are the last five teams ranked.
The AP poll is very similar to the USA Today Coaches' poll, which was released earlier this month. The same 25 teams are in each poll, with only a few rankings different.
As usual, the SEC heads the conference tally with six teams ranked -- all within the top 12. The powerhouse league has won the last seven AP national titles.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 each have five ranked teams, while the Big 12 has four. Two ACC teams are ranked, while the lone team from the new American Athletic Conference is Louisville. The AAC features former members of the Big East.