By Ralph D. Russo
— Too low. Too high. Should be in. Should be out.
The Associated Press preseason college football poll is out and the one certainty about the rankings is that outside of fans of No. 1 Alabama, everybody will have a complaint.
Ripping the rankings is a tradition as old as the poll itself. In 1935, AP sports editor Alan J. Gould decided to rank the best teams in the land by himself and put it on the wire., mostly as a conversation starter. The story goes that after he ranked Minnesota, Princeton and Southern Methodist as co-No. 1s at the end of that season, Gopher fans hanged Gould in effigy.
The next year he started letting others vote.
Considering that the Crimson Tide have won three of the last four national titles, including the last two, Ohio State fans shouldn't be too steamed about being relegated to second — at least for now. Wait until the games begin on Aug. 29.
Five more things to know about the preseason Top 25:
1) 3, IT'S A MAGIC NUMBER. Ten times in major college football has a team won two straight national championships. None have three-peated. Alabama will try to become the first. The best finish in the AP poll by a team going for its third straight championship is second. Army was No. 2 in 1946 and Notre Dame also finished second in 1948. Southern California was the last back-to-back AP champion in 2003 and '04. With a chance to make a three straight, the Trojans and their two Heisman Trophy winners (Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush) lost 41-38 to Vince Young and Texas in an all-time classic at the Rose Bowl.
2) BEST. START. EVER. Three schools will start this season with their best preseason rankings: Stanford at No. 4, South Carolina at No. 6 and Louisville at No. 9. The previous best for the Cardinal was No. 7 in 2011, the Gamecocks were ninth last year and the Cardinals were 10th in 2007.
"We appreciate the respect for our football program," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "We don't take it as added pressure, we take it as recognition for what we've done before and the team we've assembled. But we still put the emphasis on our own expectations, our effort and our preparation for the season to come."
3) STREAKING. No. 2 Ohio State has been ranked in the preseason Top 25 each of the last 25 seasons, the longest current streak. The Buckeyes also have the most overall appearances in the AP preseason poll with 60. No. 16 Oklahoma is ranked again, but had a streak of preseason top-10 rankings snapped at 12 years.
4) START TO FINISH. The preseason rankings started in 1950, and since then only 10 teams have started No. 1 and won the national championship. The list: Tennessee in 1951; Michigan State in 1952; Oklahoma in 1967, '74, '75 and '85; Alabama in 1978; Florida State in 1993 and '99; and USC in 2004. The Seminoles in 1999 and Trojans on '04 are the only teams to go wire-to-wire as No. 1 from preseason to final poll.
5) IT'S BEEN A WHILE. Coming off a 10-3 season and its first bowl victory since 1949, No. 22 Northwestern is ranked in the preseason for the first time since 2001. UCLA is back in the preseason rankings for the first time since 2007, which was also the last time Alabama wasn't ranked in the preseason poll.