Southern California is No. 1 in the AP Top 25 after two years of NCAA sanctions that kept the Trojans out of bowl games.

USC earned the top spot in the preseason college football poll for the seventh time and the first time in five seasons, edging out No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 LSU.

The Tigers were poised to start the season No. 1, but Heisman Trophy finalist Tyrann Mathieu was dismissed from the team last week.

The Trojans received 25 of a possible 60 first-place votes from a media panel in a close vote. Defending national champion Alabama had 17 first-place votes and LSU got 16 first-place votes.

Oklahoma was fourth with a single first-place vote and Oregon was fifth. No. 8 Michigan also received a first-place vote.

AP PRE-SEASON TOP 25

1.Southern Cal (25) 10-2 1,445 6
2. Alabama (17) 12-1 1,411 1
3. LSU (16) 13-1 1,402 2
4. Oklahoma (1) 10-3 1,286 16
5. Oregon 12-2 1,274 4
6. Georgia 10-4 1,107 19
7. Florida St. 9-4 1,093 23
8. Michigan (1) 11-2 1,000 12
9. South Carolina 11-2 994 9
10. Arkansas 11-2 963 5
11. West Virginia 10-3 856 17
12. Wisconsin 11-3 838 10
13. Michigan St. 11-3 742 11
14. Clemson 10-4 615 22
15. Texas 8-5 569 NR
16. Virginia Tech 11-3 548 21
17. Nebraska 9-4 485 24
18. Ohio St. 6-7 474 NR
19. Oklahoma St. 12-1 430 3
20. TCU 11-2 397 14
21. Stanford 11-2 383 7
22. Kansas St. 10-3 300 15
23. Florida 7-6 214 NR
24. Boise St. 12-1 212 8
25. Louisville 7-6 105 NR

Others receiving votes: Notre Dame 83, Washington 55, Auburn 53, North Carolina 32, Utah 30, Georgia Tech 25, BYU 22, Tennessee 15, South Florida 11, Baylor 9, Texas A&M 5, UCF 4, Cincinnati 3, Missouri 3, N.C. State 3, Houston 1, Louisiana Tech 1, Mississippi St. 1, N. Illinois 1.