By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer 

USC football has opened the 2022 season as the 14th ranked team in the country in the Associated Press college  football preseason poll. The Trojans are one of five ranked schools with a new head coach (Lincoln Riley). They are one of three schools from t6he PAC-12 conference that are ranked in the top 25. Utah 7, Oregon 11 are the others. UCLA only received only 2 votes. 

With two of the best players in the country leading the way — and a championship game loss as motivation — Alabama is No. 1 in the AP for the second straight season and ninth time overall.    

With Heisman Trophy winner and Pasadena native Bryce Young and national defensive player of year Will Anderson Jr. and the Crimson Tide and 1,566 points in the Top 25 presented by Regions Bank released on Monday. 

Ohio State is No. 2 with six first-place vote (1,506 points) from the media panel and defending national Champion Georgia is 4th  with three first-place votes (1,455 points).Clemson is No. 4. Notre Dame rounds out the top 5. setting up a tantalizing opener at Ohio State on Sept. 3rd. 

The Tide’s preseason No. 1 ranking is the seventh in 15 years under coach Nick Saban. Since the preseason rankings started in 1950, only Oklahoma with 10 has been No. 1 in the initial poll more often than Alabama.