Defending national champion Florida State will open the 2014 college football season at No. 1 in the Amway Coaches Poll, followed by Alabama, Oklahoma, Oregon and Auburn. USA TODAY Sports
The Florida State Seminoles will start this season exactly where they ended the last one: No. 1.
The reigning national champions were an overwhelming No. 1 with 56 of 62 first-place votes in the preseason Amway Coaches Poll, released Thursday.
"We're very excited about being No. 1 and happy to be No. 1, but we understand that we have to play like No. 1 and play great football," Fisher told USA TODAY Sports. "That's going to be our objective. We're proud to start there and now we just have to go play great football."
The Seminoles have been here before to start the season, but it's been awhile. Though Florida State has topped the preseason coaches poll four times since USA TODAY began administering the poll in 1991, this is the first since 1999. Of those four, twice have the Seminoles finished the year No. 1, in '93 and '99. In '99, Florida State went wire to wire to win the BCS championship.
"There is no added pressure," Fisher said. "Our goal every year is to win the national championship. That's why we're at Florida State."
On the way to the title last year, the Seminoles took down Auburn in the championship game, ending the SEC's seven-year run at the top.
The SEC will have strong contenders for the inaugural four-team College Football Playoff, and to reclaim the championship belt, leading the way with seven teams in the top 25, including two in the top five: No. 2 Alabama and No. 5 Auburn, which lost a significant portion of its running game when Tre Mason was drafted by the St. Louis Rams.
The Pac-12 is second with six teams in the top 25, led by No. 4 Oregon, which earned a No. 1 vote, and No. 7 UCLA. The Big 12 and Big Ten each have four teams in the poll, and the ACC has three.
The Big 12's Oklahoma, which earned three No. 1 votes, is third; the Big Ten's Ohio State, which got one No. 1 vote, is sixth. Reigning Big Ten champion Michigan State is No. 8.
The last of the 62 first-place votes went to the SEC's South Carolina, which comes in at No. 9.
Also worthy of note:
•Texas A&M, which is gearing up for its first season post-Johnny Manziel, opens at No. 20.
•Florida, coming off a 4-8 season that included a loss to Georgia Southern, is not in the preseason coaches poll for the first time since USA TODAY Sports took over the poll in 1991.
•The American Athletic Conference gets no teams in the preseason top 25. Central Florida, 12-1 after an upset of Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl last year, is the league's top team, 28th overall.
•Ohio State continues its run of poll success: The Buckeyes have appeared in every preseason poll in which they were eligible (they missed out in 2012 because of NCAA sanctions).
•The ACC got three teams in the top 25, FSU, No. 16 Clemson and No. 23 North Carolina. Not, however, league runner-up Duke despite coming off a 10-4 season, an ACC Coastal Division title, a clash against Florida State in the ACC Championship game and a narrow loss in a thriller to Manziel and Texas A&M in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. However, the pollsters did pay Duke some respect: The Blue Devils got 41 points to leave them 35th. It's the first time Duke has gotten votes in the preseason coaches poll since 2007, when it got one point.