Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida Gators overwhelming preseason No. 1 in Associated Press football media poll

The return of Tim Tebow, left, to run Urban Meyer’s offense helped make the Gators an overwhelming media poll choice.

Associated Press

The return of Tim Tebow, left, to run Urban Meyer’s offense helped make the Gators an overwhelming media poll choice.

GAINESVILLE — This time it is No. 1 by a landslide.

Two weeks after being voted No. 1 in the coaches preseason poll, the Florida football team is No. 1 in the Associated Press media poll released Saturday.

It received 58 of 60 first-place votes, 96.7 percent, becoming the most overwhelming preseason No. 1 choice in the history of the poll, which dates to 1950.

The previous highest percentage was 95.4 for Southern California (62 of 65 first-place votes) in 2007. The Trojans failed to win the national title that season.

UF received 53 of 59 first-place votes from the coaches Aug. 7.

This is the first preseason No. 1 ranking in the AP poll for Florida since 2001 and the third (1994) in school history.

"Humbled," said coach Urban Meyer of the ranking. "And it's a credit to recruiting. That's good players in a program. Everything else is overrated. (The ranking) means nothing. That won't be discussed. I don't want to act like we don't appreciate that. We do, and we're good to go."

No. 2 Texas received the other first-place votes. The remainder of the top 10: Oklahoma, Southern Cal, Alabama, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Mississippi, and Oklahoma State and Penn State, which tied for No. 9.

The only other state team to crack the Top 25 is No. 18 Florida State, which was not in the AP preseason pool last year for the first time since 1982. FSU finished 9-4 and ranked No. 21 in the final 2008 poll.

Miami (40) and USF (3) are in the others-receiving-votes category in this year's poll.

Florida's regular-season schedule includes two ranked SEC foes: LSU (11th) and Georgia (13th).

The Gators' ranking makes UF public enemy No. 1 for opponents, but Meyer said that's not much different from other years. Handling pressure is one of the major topics Meyer's multiple guest speakers have addressed with the team this preseason.

"(Former Notre Dame coach) Lou Holtz hit it real hard," Meyer said. "And with all due respect, since we've been here, we're kind of hunted. I think (former coach Steve) Spurrier started that back in the '90s, the Gators are always the hunted. But this will be maybe a little different."

The Gators are the 20th defending national champion to start the season on top. They will try to become the first team since Southern Cal in 2004 to hold the No. 1 ranking all season. FSU is the only other team to go wire to wire (1999).

Ten preseason No. 1s have won the national title. Only one program since 1950 has won three titles in four years: Nebraska won it all it 1994 and ’95, then earned a split title in ’97.

The AP poll does not figure in the Bowl Championship Series rankings that determine the teams in the national title game.

Senior receiver David Nelson spoke for his teammates when he said they are determined to not let the preseason hype go to their heads: "It's an honor. But we can't allow that to affect us or get overconfident. … There have been a lot of teams that started No. 1 but didn't finish that way. We've just got to keep working hard."

Information from the Associated Press was used in the report.

Florida Gators overwhelming preseason No. 1 in Associated Press football media poll 08/22/09 [Last modified: Sunday, August 23, 2009 6:58am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Red state: Yes, Bill O'Reilly is a Bucs fan


    TAMPA -- The question was simple enough for Bucs fans: Why is former Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly wearing a red Bucs polo?

    O'Reilly was wearing the polo during a few video clips from his "No Spin News" podcast posted on his website Monday, which was exciting news for some Bucs fans and not-so-exciting …

    Former Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly was sporting a red Bucs polo during his "No Spin News" video podcast Monday. An assistant said the shirt was given to him by former Bucs tight end Dave Moore.
  2. For starters: Slumping LoMo, Dickerson not in Rays lineup tonight vs LHP


    1B Logan Morrison and LF Corey Dickerson, two of the main slumpers in the Rays lineup, are not in tonight's lineup with the Orioles throwing LHP Wade Miley.

    Logan Morrison is 0-for-12 on this homestand.
  3. Ex-Buc Booger McFarland becomes ABC college football analyst


    Former Bucs defensive lineman Booger McFarland is continuing his broadcasting rise by joining ABC's studio coverage for the upcoming college football season, ESPN announced Tuesday.

    Former Bucs lineman Booger McFarland (No. 92) will become an ABC studio analyst this college football season.
  4. Rank the top 10 Bucs players? Here's what fans said


    We mentioned this morning that is was a fun challenge, in response to Sports Illustrated's ranking of the NFL's top 400 players, to ask fans to rank their top 10 Bucs players.

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans celebrates with quarterback Jameis Winston during last year's Bucs win against the Seahawks. Evans and Winston finished 1-2 in an informal Twitter poll of fans ranking their top Bucs players.
  5. Brain study examined 111 former NFL players. Only one didn't have CTE.


    Researchers studying the link between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy found that 99 percent of the brains donated by families of former NFL players showed signs of the neurodegenerative disease, according to a new study published Tuesday.

    This combination of photos provided by Boston University shows sections from a normal brain, top, and from the brain of former University of Texas football player Greg Ploetz, bottom, in stage IV of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. According to a report released on Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association, research on the brains of 202 former football players has confirmed what many feared in life -- evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a devastating disease in nearly all the samples, from athletes in the NFL, college and even high school. [Dr. Ann McKee | BU via AP]