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SALT LAKE CITY — In the final sign that college football games are imminent, the Associated Press Top 25 poll was released Monday morning. And with the release came at least one local team involved in the preseason ranking.
Utah, which comes off a 3-2 abbreviated and delayed 2020 season, enters the 2021 season ranked No. 24 with 176 points in the consensus poll of 62 sports writers around the country. The Utes return several starters on both sides of the ball and have a "neck and neck" competition at quarterback going down between incumbent starter Cameron Rising and Baylor transfer Charlie Brewer.
The Utes are one of five teams from the Pac-12 ranked in the preseason poll, with Oregon taking the top honor at No. 11. The Ducks were picked to repeat as the conference champion last month in the Pac-12 media poll, so it makes sense why they'd be at the top of the AP poll for Pac-12 teams. Behind the Ducks is No. 15 USC, No. 20 Washington and No. 25 Arizona State.
The Trojans return what many are considering a Heisman contender in quarterback Kedon Slovis to an always loaded team full of blue chip recruits. USC was picked to win the South Division and meet up for the second-straight year against Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game.
BYU enters the season in the "receiving votes" category after an 11-1 campaign that saw quarterback Zach Wilson go No. 2 overall in the NFL draft to the New York Jets. In the unofficial rankings, the Cougars come in at No. 36 ahead of their Week 1 matchup against Arizona in a neutral game at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
Standing alone at the top of the preseason poll this year is defending national champion Alabama. The Crimson Tide will be forced to find a new quarterback and starters in many other positions after a majority of the team turned pro. But Alabama has shown time and again that its more than capable to reload and remain a title contender, and 2021 will be no different.
Behind the SEC powerhouse in the rankings is Oklahoma, Clemson, Ohio State and Georgia.
A full list of the consensus preseason AP poll can be found below. If you can't see the poll, click here.