Sports Illustrated’s early Top 25 football rankings has Tide at No. 1

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron leads the early-season No. 1 team in the Sports Illustrated rankings.(Copyright photo by Gary Cosby Jr. of The Decatur Daily)

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron leads the early-season No. 1 team in the Sports Illustrated rankings.(Copyright photo by Gary Cosby Jr. of The Decatur Daily)

Mark Sept. 14 on your calendar … well, even more than you typically mark your calendar for an Alabama football weekend.

According to Sports Illustrated’s “Way-too-early” college football rankings, the top two teams in the country will play that day. SI has Alabama No. 1 in its rankings, and Texas A&M at No. 2. The Crimson Tide and Aggies will kick off in College Station, Texas, on Sept. 14.

Click here to see the whole top 25. Here’s a taste of what SI reporter Andy Staples has written: “Replacing Barrett Jones, Chance Warmack and D.J. Fluker on the offensive line won’t be easy — even for a program that essentially selects 25 of the nation’s top 200 high school players each year. But if any team can overcome that loss, it’s Alabama. The Crimson Tide have proven themselves uniquely capable of reloading after national title runs. AJ McCarron showed in the BCS title game why he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the country, and he’ll still get to hand off to T.J. Yeldon and throw to Amari Cooper. Meanwhile, linebacker C.J. Mosley returns for his senior season. Even though everyone knows Mosley is one of the nation’s best at his position, he wants to prove to coach Nick Saban that he can be a full-time player. Such is the embarrassment of riches in Tuscaloosa. Even an elite talent can’t always get on the field.”

The Associated Press won’t release its preseason poll until August, but if the AP rankings mirror this set from SI, it will mark the first time since 1957 Texas A&M was ranked that high. Bear Bryant’s final Aggies team was No. 2 in the opening poll that year.

The school was No. 4 in 1993 and No. 3 in 1995. Those two seasons and 1957 are the only times Texas A&M has made the preseason top five.

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