Athlon Sports released its first preseason top 25 for the 2014 season, and the Alabama Crimson Tide finds itself ranked number two behind Florida State. 

The annual publication has an in-depth breakdown of why it picked Alabama to win the SEC West but narrowed it down to five factors:

1. Best schedule in the SEC?

2. Best stable of running backs in college football

3. Is Jacob Coker the real deal?

4. The front seven on defense

5. Why Alabama over Auburn?

Athlon makes it clear that they feel the division and conference will come down to the Iron Bowl once again. With Auburn ranked 5th nationally, Alabama gets the edge because the game will be played in Tuscaloosa.

The top five is Florida State, Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Auburn. The SEC dominates the poll once again, placing eight total teams in the top 25.