Friday, June 22, 2018
Colleges

Alabama No. 1 in AP preseason poll; UF 10th, FSU 11th

Alabama remains on top of the college football world.

The defending national champion begins this season ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press preseason media poll, released Saturday.

The Crimson Tide earned 58 of 60 first-place votes, which ties the 2009 Florida team for the highest percentage of preseason first-place votes in poll history. Ohio State and Georgia each received one first-place vote.

This is the fourth time Alabama has been the preseason No. 1 (1966, 1978, 2010, 2013). In 1978 the Tide began and ended at No. 1.

Ohio State, Oregon, Stanford and Georgia round out the top five.

Only two Florida schools are ranked. Florida is No. 10, holding the same spot it earned in the USA Today preseason coaches poll, released this month. It is the 10th consecutive season the Gators have been ranked in the Associated Press preseason poll. That streak ranks third in the SEC, behind LSU (13 consecutive) and Georgia (11). Florida's schedule includes four teams ranked in the top 12.

Florida State is ranked No. 11, one spot of ahead of its coaches poll ranking. This is the third consecutive season the Seminoles have been ranked in the top 15 of the Associated Press preseason poll.

The SEC is once again well-represented. The league has five of the top 10 teams: besides Alabama and Florida, No. 5 Georgia, No. 6 South Carolina and No. 7 Texas A&M. The SEC has a total of six teams ranked, followed by the Big Ten and Pac-12 with five each.

Alabama is trying to become the first team to win three consecutive national titles and the first to begin the season at No. 1 and end at the top since Southern California in 2004. Since the poll began in 1950, 10 teams have started the season No. 1 and finished No. 1. Southern Cal and Florida State (1999) are the only teams to go wire-to-wire as No. 1 from preseason to final poll.

But before the rest of the nation's fans get discouraged, keep this in mind:

Only three Associated Press preseason No. 1s since 1982 have won the national title, FSU in 1993 and 1999, and Southern Cal in 2004. Also, the last three preseason No. 1s finished with at least three losses and ranked no higher than No. 10 at the end. That is why many coaches spend so much time and effort downplaying preseason polls. Including Florida coach Will Muschamp.

When asked about the importance of the poll's release, Muschamp quipped, "Yeah, I planned practice around it."

Florida's players also refuse to put too much emphasis on the polls.

"The only poll that matters is the one they talk about at the end of the season," senior offensive lineman Jon Halapio said.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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