Preseason Watch Lists Week 1 Schedule

hat's past is prologue, which is a sense of déjà vu across the college football landscape. Suffice to say, we've come a long way since the first college football game, Princeton vs. Rutgers on Nov. 6, 1869. (Rutgers won 6-4.)  Yes, Harvard and Tufts fans, we see you in the  back; that game was played six years later -- but did more closely resemble today's game ...

Ah yes, today's game -- the tailgating, the pregame rituals, the traditions:

The 2013 FBS season kicks off Aug. 29, and Alabama will look to hoist yet another crystal football in the wake of the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 6, 2014, in Pasadena, Calif.

Thumbing through the game's annals there is one thing that has never been done in the history of the Associated Press poll: win three consecutive national championships. (Apologies, Minnesota; the Gophers were the last team to win three titles in a row but the 1934-35 championships were of the CFRA, HAF, NCF varieties.)

Eleven times a school has won back-to-back AP national championships. Minnesota was the first, in 1940-41, and the list is a who's who of college football, including Army, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Alabama, Nebraska and USC.

However, the previous 10 are 0-fer; Alabama will again take its hacks -- third time's a charm? -- beginning Aug. 31, when the Tide buckles up against Virginia Tech.

Alabama’s schedule includes two teams in the preseason top 25 -- No. 7 Texas A&M and No. 12 LSU. Opponents Virginia Tech and Ole Miss are among teams that received votes in the preseason poll.

The last time the preseason No. 1 went on to win the national championship was 2004, when USC sat atop the polls for all 16 weeks. Seven times the preseason No. 1 has failed to be ranked in the final AP poll, most recently last season when USC finished 7-6.

This is the third time Alabama has been the preseason team-to-beat. In 1966, Bama was the two-time defending champion, went undefeated and untied and finished No. 3. In 1978, the Tide finished 11-1 and beat top-ranked Penn State in the Sugar Bowl to win the title.

So while a team from the SEC has won the past seven national championships, that's about the only recent history on top-ranked Alabama's side. ...

ASSOCIATED PRESS NATIONAL CHAMPIONS
YEAR SCHOOL   YEAR SCHOOL   YEAR SCHOOL
1936 Minnesota   1962 USC   1988 Notre Dame
1937 Pittsburgh   1963 Texas   1989 Miami (Fla.)
1938 TCU   1964 Alabama   1990 Colorado
1939 Texas A&M   1965 Alabama   1991 Miami (Fla.)
1940 Minnesota   1966 Notre Dame   1992 Alabama
1941 Minnesota   1967 USC   1993 Florida State
1942 Ohio State   1968 Ohio State   1994 Nebraska
1943 Notre Dame   1969 Texas   1995 Nebraska
1944 Army   1970 Nebraska   1996 Florida
1945 Army   1971 Nebraska   1997 Michigan
1946 Notre Dame   1972 USC   1998 Tennessee
1947 Notre Dame   1973 Notre Dame   1999 Florida State
1948 Michigan   1974 Oklahoma   2000 Oklahoma
1949 Notre Dame   1975 Oklahoma   2001 Miami (Fla.)
1950 Oklahoma   1976 Pittsburgh   2002 Ohio State
1951 Tennessee   1977 Notre Dame   2003 USC
1952 Michigan State   1978 Alabama   2004 USC
1953 Maryland   1979 Alabama   2005 Texas
1954 Ohio State   1980 Georgia   2006 Florida
1955 Oklahoma   1981 Clemson   2007 LSU
1956 Oklahoma   1982 Penn State   2008 Florida
1957 Auburn   1983 Miami (Fla.)   2009 Alabama
1958 LSU   1984 BYU   2010 Auburn
1959 Syracuse   1985 Oklahoma   2011 Alabama
1960 Minnesota   1986 Penn State   2012 Alabama
1961 Alabama   1987 Miami (Fla.)   2013  
Bold denotes back-to-back national champions.

(USC's 2004 title was vacated by the BCS after the NCAA rejected the school's appeal of sanctions levied as the result of an investigation that determined Reggie Bush received extra benefits. The AP title stands.)

Army stalwarts Glenn Davis (41) and "Doc" Blanchard set a then-record 97 career touchdowns by two teammates.
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CONSECUTIVE AP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
SCHOOL BEFORE BACK-TO-BACK AFTER THE RUN
Minnesota 3-4-1 in 1939 1940 (8-0-0) and '41 (8-0-0) 5-4-0 in 1942 24-8-1
Already rolling in dynasty mode, Minnesota had been awarded the CFRA, HAF, NCF national championships in 1934 and '35 before winning the inaugural AP championship in '36. Then the Gophers suffered a three-year stretch in which the team was a combined 15-8-1. Lead by coach Bernie Bierman, Minnesota defeated five ranked teams -- including Michigan and Northwestern twice -- during its 1940-41 championships run.
Army 7-2-1 in 1943 1944 (9-0-0) and '45 (9-0-0) 9-0-1 in 1946 34-2-2
The Black Knights were ranked No. 1 for the final seven AP polls of the regular season, even after a 0-0 tie against Notre Dame on Nov 9, 1946. However, the final poll results had the Irish in the top spot. Army -- led by consensus All-Americans Doc Blanchard, the 1945 Heisman Trophy winner, and Glenn Davis, the '46 Heisman winner -- was 4-0-1 against ranked teams and out-scored those opponents 121-34.
Notre Dame 7-2-1 in 1945 1946 (8-0-1) and '47 (9-0-0) 9-0-1 in 1948 33-2-3
Following a two-year absence, Frank Leahy's return to the Irish sideline sparked a run of four consecutive undefeated seasons (36-0-2) and three AP titles between 1946-49. In 1948, Notre Dame was undefeated headed to USC for the season finale on Dec. 4; the Irish and Trojans tied 14-14. Michigan, which allowed a nation-leading 4.9 ppg, went undefeated in Bennie Oosterbaan's first year (9-0-0) to win the championship.
Oklahoma 10-0-0 in  1954 1955 (11-0-0) and '56 (10-0-0) 10-1-0 in 1957 41-1-0
The dynasty to which all others are compared, Bud Wilkinson's run between 1953-58 was a beauty: 60-3-1, three consecutive undefeated seasons, two national titles and a 4-0 mark in the Orange Bowl. The Sooners lost once between 1954-57 -- 7-0 against Notre Dame on Nov. 16, 1957. OU's 47-game undefeated streak dated to a 7-7 tie against Pitt on Oct. 3, 1953. The Sooners' last loss was  Sept. 26, 1953, 28-21 to ... yep, Notre Dame.
Alabama 9-2-0 in 1963 1964 (10-1-0) and '65 (9-1-1) 11-0-0 in 1966 39-4-1
Alabama is the only defending national champion to be undefeated and untied and not win the championship. In 1966, the Tide beat one ranked team -- No. 6 Nebraska, 34-7 in the Sugar Bowl -- and finished third. Meanwhile, No. 1 Notre Dame (9-0-1) was 3-0-1 against top-10 opponents. Michigan State, which tied Notre Dame in the "the game of the century" on Nov. 19, 1966, finished 9-0-1 and ranked No. 2.
Nebraska 9-2-0 in 1969 1970 (11-0-1) and '71 (13-0-0) 9-2-1 in 1972 42-4-1
The Huskers lost two of the first four games in 1969 then reeled off 32 consecutive games without a loss. Nebraska's only blemish during its title seasons was a 21-21 tie at third-ranked USC on Sept. 19, 1970. The Huskers were ninth in the first poll of 1970 and ascended to the top spot only in the final poll; they began the '71 season ranked No. 2. Preseason No. 1 in '72, Nebraska lost in Week 1 and tied, lost two of its final four games.
Oklahoma 10-0-1 in 1973 1974 (11-0-0) and '75 (11-1-0) 9-2-1 in 1976 41-3-2
The Sooners became the first team with a second crack at a three-peat. Oklahoma entered 1974 riding a streak of 18 games without a loss (only a 7-7 tie at top-ranked USC on Sept. 29, 1973, pocked its mark). OU beat two ranked teams in '74 en route to the first of back-to-back titles. In '75, Kansas beat top-ranked OU 23-3 on Nov. 8, before the Sooners defeated No. 18 Mizzou, No. 7 Nebraska and No. 5 Michigan (Orange Bowl).
Alabama 11-1-0 in 1977 1978 (11-1-0) and '79 (12-0-0) 10-2-0 in 1980 44-4-0
The Tide was rolling out in 1976; its three losses were the most in a season since 1970 (6-5-1). However, Alabama's fortunes turned in '77; 10 wins in a row raised expectations heading into 1978. A 24-14 loss to No. 7 USC on Sept. 23 knocked Bama from No. 1; the climb back to the top concluded with a 14-7 win against No. 1 Penn State in the Sugar Bowl. Alabama ran the table in '79, winning its fifth national title under Bear Bryant.
Nebraska 11-1-0 in 1993 1994 (13-0-0) and '95 (12-0-0) 11-2-0 in 1996 47-3-0
This list would be moot if the second-ranked Huskers had not lost to No. 1 Florida State 18-16 in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 1, 1994 -- Nebraska's only loss between Sept. 4, 1993, and Sept. 21, 1996. Against FSU, Byron Bennett's 45-yard field-goal attempt with 0:01 on the clock was wide left. The "Unfinished Business" season of '94 netted Huskers coach Tom Osborne his first title, and Nebraska ran its win streak to 25 by sweeping the '95 campaign.
USC 11-2-0 in 2002 2003 (12-1-0) and '04 (13-0-0) 12-1-0 in 2005 48-4-0
In 2002, the Trojans lost two games by a combined 10 points. In 2003, the Trojans lost their fourth game, 34-31 at Cal, but rebounded and steamrolled through the final nine games, including a 28-14 victory against Michigan in the Rose Bowl. In 2004, USC's average margin of victory was 25.2 and whipped No. 2 Oklahoma 55-19 in the Orange Bowl for its second consecutive title. (USC vacated two wins in 2004 and 12 wins in '05.)
Alabama 10-3-0 in 2010 2011 (12-1-0) and '12 (13-1-0)   35-5-0
Since 2008, Alabama has been ranked No. 1 in 27 of 82 AP polls -- a whopping 33 percent. It is the definition of a modern-day dynasty, winning the national championship in 2009, 2011 and 2012. What remains to be seen is whether Nick Saban & Co. can finish the drill, so to speak. Ten times the two-time defending champion has taken a swing at a three-peat. Those teams are 0-10. Will the third time be the charm for Bama?
Only 10 programs can make the claim: The preseason No. 1 has won the national title 16 times.
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WHERE AP PRESEASON NO. 1 FINISHED
YEAR PRESEASON END CHAMPION   YEAR PRESEASON END CHAMPION
1936 Minnesota 1     1975 Oklahoma 1  
1937 California 2 Pittsburgh   1976 Nebraska 9 Pittsburgh
1938 Pittsburgh 8 Texas Christian   1977 Oklahoma 7 Notre Dame
1939 Pittsburgh NR Texas A&M   1978 Alabama 1  
1940 Cornell 15 Minnesota   1979 USC 2 Alabama
1941 Minnesota 1     1980 Ohio State 15 Georgia
1942 Ohio State 1     1981 Michigan 12 Clemson
1943 Notre Dame 1     1982 Pittsburgh 10 Penn State
1944 Notre Dame 9 Army   1983 Nebraska 2 Miami (Fla.)
1945 Army 1     1984 Auburn 14 BYU
1946 Texas 15 Notre Dame   1985 Oklahoma 1  
1947 Notre Dame 1     1986 Oklahoma 3 Penn State
1948 Notre Dame 2 Michigan   1987 Oklahoma 3 Miami (Fla.)
1949 Michigan 7 Notre Dame   1988 Florida State 3 Notre Dame
1950 Notre Dame NR Oklahoma   1989 Michigan 7 Miami (Fla.)
1951 Tennessee 1     1990 Miami (Fla.) 3 Colorado
1952 Michigan State 1     1991 Florida State 4 Miami (Fla.)
1953 Notre Dame 2 Maryland   1992 Miami (Fla.) 3 Alabama
1954 Notre Dame 4 Ohio State   1993 Florida State 1  
1955 UCLA 4 Oklahoma   1994 Florida 7 Nebraska
1956 Oklahoma 1     1995 Florida State 4 Nebraska
1957 Oklahoma 4 Auburn   1996 Nebraska 6 Florida
1958 Ohio State 8 LSU   1997 Penn State 16 Michigan
1959 LSU 3 Syracuse   1998 Ohio State 2 Tennessee
1960 Syracuse T19 Minnesota   1999 Florida State 1  
1961 Iowa NR Alabama   2000 Nebraska 8 Oklahoma
1962 Ohio State NR USC   2001 Florida 3 Miami (Fla.)
1963 USC NR Texas   2002 Miami (Fla.) 2 Ohio State
1964 Ole Miss NR Alabama   2003 Oklahoma 3 USC
1965 Nebraska 5 Alabama   2004 USC 1  
1966 Alabama 3 Notre Dame   2005 USC 2 Texas
1967 Notre Dame 5 USC   2006 Ohio State 2 Florida
1968 Purdue 10 Ohio State   2007 USC 3 LSU
1969 Ohio State 4 Texas   2008 Georgia 13 Florida
1970 Ohio State 5 Nebraska   2009 Florida 3 Alabama
1971 Notre Dame 13 Nebraska   2010 Alabama 10 Auburn
1972 Nebraska 4 USC   2011 Oklahoma 16 Alabama
1973 USC 8 Notre Dame   2012 USC NR Alabama
1974 Oklahoma 1     2013 Alabama    
Bold denotes preseason No. 1 that won the national championship.