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.

Utah State is No. 22 in the final AP Top 25 football poll after an 11-2 season and Utah dropped out of the rankings after finishing 9-5 with a Holiday Bowl loss to Northwestern.

The Utes were ranked No. 17 prior to their 31-20 loss to the Wildcats (9-5), who moved up one spot to finish No. 21.

Utah received enough votes to finish the equivalent of No. 29. In the Coaches Poll, behind Stanford (No. 27) and two other schools.

USU is one of three Mountain West teams in the Top 25, joining No. 18 Fresno State and No. 23 Boise State. The Pac-12 is represented by only Washington State (No. 10) and Washington (No. 13). The Aggies routed North Texas 52-13 in the New Mexico Bowl under interim coach Frank Maile, with Matt Wells and most of his staff having left for Texas Tech.

USU’s season-ending ranking is the highest since the Aggies were No. 16 in 2012, when they finished 11-2 in the last season of Gary Andersen’s first stint as head coach.

FINAL AP FOOTBALL POLL
The Top 25 teams in The Associated Press college football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, final records, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote, and previous ranking:


Record                                 Pts   Pv
1. Clemson (61) 15-0 1525 2
2. Alabama 14-1 1462 1
3. Ohio St. 13-1 1364 5
4. Oklahoma 12-2 1356 4
5. Notre Dame 12-1 1286 3
6. LSU 10-3 1119 11
7. Florida 10-3 1103 10
7. Georgia 11-3 1103 6
9. Texas 10-4 1076 14
10. Washington St. 11-2 959 12
11. UCF 12-1 898 7
12. Kentucky 10-3 820 16
13. Washington 10-4 806 9
14. Michigan 10-3 745 8
15. Syracuse 10-3 683 17
16. Texas A&M 9-4 552 21
17. Penn St. 9-4 492 13
18. Fresno St. 12-2 466 19
19. Army 11-2 418 22
20. West Virginia 8-4 296 15
21. Northwestern 9-5 284 NR
22. Utah St. 11-2 188 NR
23. Boise St. 10-3 184 23
24. Cincinnati 11-2 171 NR
25. Iowa 9-4 120 NR
Others receiving votes: Appalachian St. 96, Stanford 52, Mississippi St. 45, Utah 43, UAB 32, Iowa St. 26, Auburn 15, Oregon 11, Missouri 10, Troy 6, Georgia Southern 6, Oklahoma St. 3, Wisconsin 2, NC State 2.

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 2014, 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.

CONFERENCE CALL

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).