College football is about to invade our lives, and the sooner the better. Nearly every team will be practicing by Monday, and the 2013 season kicks off Aug. 29.
USA Today published its preseason Top 25 coaches' poll Thursday with a familiar name on top and two Pacific-12 Conference teams in the top five. The Associated Press is expected to release its preseason poll in three weeks.
Two-time defending BCS national champion Alabama is No. 1 in the USA Today poll with 58 of the 62 first-place votes, impressive to everyone except perhaps coach Nick Saban, who shrugged it off in saying, "We aren't entitled to anything." The Southeastern Conference, whose teams have won the past seven BCS titles, has five other teams in the top 13.
Ohio State, with 14 returning starters and coming off probation, is No. 2 with three of the other four first-place votes.
Oregon, with two potential Sacramento-area starters in cornerback Terrance Mitchell and defensive end Arik Armstead, is No. 3, followed by Stanford, which returns 17 starters, including safety Jordan Richards of Folsom.
Georgia is No. 5 and Texas A&M, which received the other first-place vote, is No. 6.
Other Pac-12 teams in the USA Today poll are UCLA (21), USC (24) and Oregon State (25).
Interesting footnote: San Jose State and Arizona State were in the list of others receiving votes. Sacramento State plays at those schools in the first two weeks of the season.
What to watch
Baseball, Giants at Tampa Bay, 4:10 p.m., CSNBA: If the Giants have any chance of getting back in the playoff chase, they need to keep winning this weekend against one of the American League's top teams.
Assuming the SEC is the top college football conference, which is No. 2?
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Thursday's poll results
If an MLS team comes to the region, will you buy season tickets?
Total votes: 239