Another year, another inaugural set of college football rankings. And for the second straight season, Alabama begins as the No. 1 team in the land.

RANKINGS: Full AP Top 25

Granted, Nick Saban probably cares as much about a preseason No. 1 ranking as he does about Monday’s solar eclipse (spoiler alert: not very much). But voters can’t really go wrong with slotting the Crimson Tide above the rest. They’re the safe pick; for every Derrick Henry that moves on to the NFL, there’s a Bo Scarbrough ready to replace him. Everyone tries to reload. Alabama is just better at it than everyone else.

This version of the Tide is different in one sense, though: for the first time since the A.J. McCarron era, Alabama enters the season with a proven quarterback.

Jalen Hurts was a pleasant surprise as a freshman in 2016, racking up 2,780 passing yards and 36 total touchdowns. Sure, Blake Sims and Jake Coker were productive in 2014 and 2015, respectively. But Hurts is a different beast. The word “dynamic” comes to mind. Combine sound QB play with Alabama’s perennially ridiculous defense and running game, and the No. 1 ranking is easy to justify.

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Taking a look at the rest of the Top 10, a theme jumps out: Good quarterback play is vital. Yes, that’s a little like saying, “in order to win, you must score more points than the opponent.” But check out some of these quarterbacks in the top eight.

J.T. Barrett enters his fourth year at No. 2 Ohio State and has thrown more than three times as many touchdowns as interceptions (69-21). Oh, and he’s a better runner than he is a passer. Deondre Francois threw for 3,350 yards as a freshman for Florida State. Sam

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