Alabama Coach Nick Saban's team is ranked No. 1 in USA Today's… (Vasha Hunt / Associated…)
Two-time defending national champion Alabama has opened at No. 1 in USA Today's preseason college football poll.
UCLA, coming off a 9-5 season, is No. 21 and USC, 7-6 last year, is No. 24.
Alabama is followed in the USA Today coaches' poll by Ohio State, Oregon, Stanford and Georgia. Rounding out the top 10 is Texas A&M, South Carolina, Clemson, Louisville and Florida.
The Southeastern Conference, which has won the last seven BCS titles, has five schools in the top 10.
Alabama, which picked up 58 of the possible 62 first-place votes, has never won a national title when it debuted at No. 1 in the coaches' poll.
The Pac-12 has five schools in the top 25: Oregon (3), Stanford (4), UCLA (21), USC (24) and Oregon State (25).
Notre Dame, which lost to Alabama in last year's BCS title game, is No. 11.
Lochte gets gold at Barcelona
Ryan Lochte bounced back from a disappointing start to the world swimming championships in Barcelona, Spain, winning the 200-meter individual medley Thursday night.
Lochte joined Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky as a gold medalist in Barcelona on a day when both of the teenage phenoms added to her win total.
Franklin, the 18-year-old who recently graduated from high school, is four for four at the championships after anchoring the U.S. to victory in the 800 freestyle relay, matching her gold-medal haul at the London Olympics.
Ledecky, only 16 and getting ready for her junior year of high school, is three for three after swimming the leadoff leg of the relay. Lochte has four events remaining and Franklin three. Ledecky will be a favorite in the 800 free.
The U.S. settled for silver and bronze in the men's 100 free. Australia's James Magnussen rallied on the return lap to edge Jimmy Feigen and reigning Olympic champion Nathan Adrian.
Lochte's winning time — 1 minute, 54.98 seconds — beat Japan's Kosuke Hagino by more than a second. It was the 13th world championship gold of Lochte's career, his 21st medal overall, and his third straight title in the 200 IM — a race he lost to Michael Phelps at the last Olympics.
In the relay, Ledecky put the Americans ahead at the start, and Franklin zipped away with a dominant anchor leg to win in 7:45.14.
Australia took silver in 7:47.08 and France was third in 7:48.43.
In perhaps the biggest surprise of the night, Denmark's Rikke Pedersen set a world record in the semifinals of the women's 200 breaststroke. She touched in 2:19.11, breaking the mark of 2:19.59 set by American Rebecca Soni at the London Games.
Meanwhile, in Irvine, Tom Shields of Huntington Beach broke the U.S. Open meet record in the 100-meter butterfly, finishing in a personal-best 51.65 seconds.
49ers' Culliver, Willis are injured
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver suffered a torn ACL in his left knee while working out Thursday. He is likely to undergo surgery and miss the entire season, NFL.com reported.
Culliver's teammate Patrick Willis, an All-Pro linebacker, suffered a broken bone in his right hand on Wednesday. An X-ray revealed the extent of the injury Thursday. He sat out practice but is expected to be ready to play in San Francisco's season opener.
Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll said wide receiver Percy Harvin faces a long rehab process after having surgery Thursday to repair his injured hip. Carroll said the surgery performed in New York went "very well" but that the team doesn't have a timetable for his recovery.
The Philadelphia Eagles are setting up Riley Cooper with sensitivity training after the wide receiver was caught on video making a racial slur.
Cooper apologized profusely Wednesday after a video of him using the N-word at a Kenny Chesney concert last month surfaced on the Internet. The Eagles immediately fined him, and the league plans no further discipline.
Frank Flores, an All-American jumper and co-captain of USC's 1952 NCAA-champion track and field team, died Monday at his home in Newport Beach. He had battled Parkinson's disease.
Flores was a key member of USC's three NCAA-championship teams from 1950 to '52, excelling in the triple jump and long jump. He graduated from the USC Dental School and practiced dentistry in Southern California until his retirement.
A workout by soccer giant Real Madrid on Friday, which was moved to UCLA from StubHub Center in Carson, is sold out and tickets are no longer available to the public, the Galaxy and UCLA said.
The Galaxy initially planned for Real Madrid to hold the training session at StubHub Center, the Galaxy's home field, with general-admission tickets priced at $35. The practice is in preparation of the clubs' play Saturday at Dodger Stadium in the Guinness International Champions Cup.
UCLA and the Galaxy said only those fans who previously bought tickets to attend the workout at StubHub Center would have access to the 5 p.m. session at UCLA's North Athletic Field.