U-M No. 7, MSU No. 12 in AP preseason poll; Alabama claims top spot

The official college preseason poll from the Associated Press was released Sunday morning. The usual cast of characters were sprinkled throughout the top 25, with defending champion Alabama starting the season ranked No. 1 in the country, while national runner-up Clemson returns a lot of talent from their 2015 team. They check in at No. 2.

Elsewhere in the top 25, the state of Michigan is well-represented in the top 15.

The sexy pick to win the College Football Playoff, the Michigan Wolverines have been slotted at No. 7 to start the season. It’s hard to find a school that has been talked about and hyped more than the Jim Harbaugh-led Wolverines. But anyone can hardly blame them, they reeled in a top-5 recruiting class and feature play-makers on both sides of the ball. There’s plenty to be excited about in Ann Arbor this season.

Just down the road in East Lansing, their in-state rival Michigan State Spartans are five spots down at No. 12. MSU has collectively had the most success of any Big Ten team over the last handful of seasons, but a lot of turnover on the offensive side of the ball means the jury is still out on whether or not they can continue their impressive run under head coach Mark Dantonio. He too brings in a very solid freshman class, the highest-rated one during his tenure.

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The 2016 college football season technically gets underway this Friday August 26 when Hawaii and California get together for a game Down Under in Australia. It’s the first time in nearly 30 years that a game will be played there and the first time a college football game is played in Sydney. It’s not until the 1st of September when a full slate of college football games kick off and ring in a new year.

The Spartans will start on Friday September 2 at home against Furman (7 p.m. ET on BTN) from the FCS. The Wolverines meanwhile will start one day later, a noon kickoff against the aforementioned Rainbow Warriors of Hawaii at home (ESPN).

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