College football coaches voting on the USA Today preseason poll threw their own little roadblock on the Florida State vs. Alabama game on Sept. 2 in Atlanta being a match-up vs. the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the nation.
Instead, the 65 panelists shoehorned Ohio State into the No. 2 spot between the top-ranked Crimson Tide and the No. 3 Seminoles in the first major poll of the season released on Thursday.
Alabama, which lost to Clemson on the final play of the 2016 national championship game, received 49 of the 65 first-place votes and 85 more overall points than the Buckeyes, who got five first-place votes.
FSU trailed Ohio State by 78 points and got four first-place votes. The remaining seven first-place votes went to the defending national champion Tigers, who were ranked fifth, behind Southern California.
Penn State, Washington, Oklahoma, Michigan and Wisconsin, in order, rounded out the top-10. Georgia is 15th, Florida 16th and Miami 18th.
Michigan’s ranking means the Gators will play a team ranked in the top-10 of one of the two major polls to open their season for the first time since facing No. 10 Miami in 1987.
The Hurricanes were also the last top-10 team FSU has opened the season against, in 2005 when UM was ranked ninth in the preseason AP poll. The ‘Noles have never faced the No. 1-ranked team in an opening game.
The Associated Press poll will be released later this month.
Four of the top-10 teams in the USA Today poll are from the Big Ten, with Alabama the only one from the SEC and FSU and Clemson carrying the ACC banner. However, no other Big Ten team appeared in the ranking.
Overall, the top-25 was balanced among the Power Five conferences. The SEC led with six teams, the ACC and Big 12 had five each and the Big Ten and Pac-12 four team.