Clemson is No. 1 for 3rd time in AP poll; Penn State 17th

Written by Ralph D. Russo/The Associated Press | Jan 8, 2019 11:57 AM

Clemson's Justyn Ross catches a touchdown pass during the second half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Alabama, Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

(Santa Clara, Calif.) -- Clemson finished No. 1 in The Associated Press poll for the third time after routing Alabama in the national championship game.

The Tigers received all 61 first-place votes. The Crimson Tide, which was trying to become just the third team to go wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in the country, finished second. Clemson beat Alabama 44-16 in the College Football Playoff national championship Monday night. Clemson also finished No. 1 in 2016 and 1981.

The Tide did extend its streak of top-five appearances to 54 weeks, one short of Miami's record set from Oct. 8, 2000-Oct. 26, 2003.

Ohio State finished third. Oklahoma, which lost to Alabama in the Orange Bowl semifinal, was fourth. Notre Dame, which lost to Clemson in the Cotton Bowl semifinal, was fifth.

Penn State was ranked 17th, down four spots after its loss to Kentucky in the Citrus Bowl.

LSU was sixth and Southeastern Conference rivals Florida and Georgia were tied for seventh.

Texas was ninth, its best final ranking since 2009 when the Longhorns finished second after losing to Alabama in the BCS championship game.

No. 19 Army finished ranked for the first time since 1996 and had its best final ranking since 1958 when it was No. 3.

No. 10 Washington State finished as the highest-ranked Pac-12 team for the first time in the history of the conference. There were more Mountain West teams (three) than Pac-12 (two) in the last rankings.

UCF finished 11th after having its 25-game winning streak snapped in the Fiesta Bowl by LSU. No. 12 Kentucky finished with its highest ranking since 1977 when the Wildcats were No. 6. No. 15 Syracuse was last ranked in the final poll in 2001, when the Orange were 14th.

No. 21 Northwestern became the first team to start the season 1-3 and finished ranked since Miami did it in 1995.

Penn State Kentucky Citrus Bowl.jpg

Kentucky safety Davonte Robinson, left, stops Penn State running back Miles Sanders (24) after a short gain during the first half of the Citrus Bowl NCAA college football game, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)


SEC -- 6 teams (2, 7, 7, 8, 12, 16).

Big Ten -- 5 (3, 14, 17, 21, 25).

Big 12 -- 3 (4, 9, 20).

Mountain West -- 3 (18, 22, 23).

ACC -- 2 (1, 15).

American -- 2 (11, 24).

Pac-12 -- 2 (10, 13).

Independent -- 2 (5, 19).

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