STATE COLLEGE — Penn State will begin the 2019 season ranked No. 15 in the Associated Press preseason Top 25 poll released Monday.
The Nittany Lions received 651 votes and are sandwiched between No. 14 Utah and No. 16 Auburn.
Clemson garnered 1,540 votes and 52 of 62 first-place votes to receive the program’s first preseason No. 1 ranking.
Alabama (10 first-place votes), Georgia, Oklahoma and Ohio State make up the rest of the top five.
Seven Big Ten programs including Penn State and Ohio State landed in the AP Top 25: Michigan (No. 7), Michigan State (No. 18), Wisconsin (No. 19), Iowa (No. 20) and Nebraska (No. 24).
The Big Ten’s seven teams paced all Power 5 programs.
Northwestern (63 votes) appeared in the others receiving votes category.
Penn State has four games this season against teams ranked in the poll. The Nittany Lions host Michigan (Oct. 19) and travel to Ohio State (Nov. 23), Michigan State (Oct. 26) and Iowa (Oct. 12).
Penn State began the 2018 season ranked No. 10 and ended the year ranked No. 17. Penn State ranks No. 9 all-time in the FBS with a total of 631 weeks ranked in the AP Top 25.
Monday's No. 15 ranking is consistent with other preseason poll rankings for Penn State.
The Nittany Lions are ranked No. 14 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, and they debuted at No. 17 Sports Illustrated’s preseason poll.
Penn State opens its season against Idaho at home on Aug 31.
Elton Hayes covers Penn State sports for CNHI. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @EHDC12.