Clemson is No. 1 for 3rd time in AP poll; Utah State No. 22

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Clemson finished No. 1 in The Associated Press poll for the third time after routing Alabama in the national championship game.

The Tigers received all 61 first-place votes. The Crimson Tide, which was trying to become just the third team to go wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in the country, finished second. Clemson beat Alabama 44-16 in the College Football Playoff national championship Monday night. Clemson also finished No. 1 in 2016 and 1981.

The Tide did extend its streak of top-five appearances to 54 weeks, one short of Miami's record set from Oct. 8, 2000-Oct. 26, 2003.

Ohio State finished third. Oklahoma, which lost to Alabama in the Orange Bowl semifinal, was fourth. Notre Dame, which lost to Clemson in the Cotton Bowl semifinal, was fifth.

LSU was sixth and Southeastern Conference rivals Florida and Georgia were tied for seventh.

Texas was ninth, its best final ranking since 2009 when the Longhorns finished second after losing to Alabama in the BCS championship game.

No. 19 Army finished ranked for the first time since 1996 and had its best final ranking since 1958 when it was No. 3.

No. 10 Washington State finished as the highest-ranked Pac-12 team for the first time in the history of the conference. There were more Mountain West teams (three) than Pac-12 (two) in the last rankings.

UCF finished 11th after having its 25-game winning streak snapped in the Fiesta Bowl by LSU. No. 12 Kentucky finished with its highest ranking since 1977 when the Wildcats were No. 6. No. 15 Syracuse was last ranked in the final poll in 2001, when the Orange were 14th.

No. 21 Northwestern became the first team to start the season 1-3 and finished ranked since Miami did it in 1995.

AP Top 25

Pos Team Conference
1 Clemson ACC
2 Alabama SEC
3 Ohio State Big Ten
4 Oklahoma Big 12
5 Notre Dame Independent
7 Georgia SEC
7 Florida SEC
9 Texas Big 12
10 Washington State Pac 12
11 UCF American
12 Kentucky SEC
13 Washington Pac 12
14 Michigan Big Ten
15 Syracuse ACC
16 Texas A&M SEC
17 Penn State Big Ten
18 Fresno State Mountain West
19 Army Independent
20 West Virginia Big 12
21 Northwestern Big Ten
22 Utah State Mountain West
23 Boise State Mountain West
24 Cincinnati American
25 Iowa Big Ten


SEC — 6 teams (2, 7, 7, 8, 12, 16).

Big Ten — 5 (3, 14, 17, 21, 25).

Big 12 — 3 (4, 9, 20).

Mountain West — 3 (18, 22, 23).

ACC — 2 (1, 15).

American — 2 (11, 24).

Pac-12 — 2 (10, 13).

Independent — 2 (5, 19).


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