Saturday, December 16, 2017
Colleges

Florida State Seminoles start season at No. 1

Florida State will begin the 2014 season the same way it ended the last one, as No. 1 in the country.

The defending national champion Seminoles are the nation's top team in the Associated Press preseason football poll, released Sunday. They got 57 of the 60 first-place votes from the media; No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Oregon and No. 4 Oklahoma split the others. Ohio State is fifth.

It's the sixth time FSU opens a season at No. 1 and the first since 1999, when it went No. 1 wire to wire and won the national title. Only Oklahoma (10), Ohio State (seven) and USC (seven) have begun a season ranked No. 1 more than FSU.

The Seminoles are the state's only ranked team. It's the first time only one Florida school has been ranked since the Associated Press began including 25 teams instead of 20 in its preseason poll in 1989. The Gators hadn't been unranked since 2003. UCF had the most votes among the teams outside the Top 25, and the Gators had the second-most. Miami also received votes.

The SEC's eight teams in the Top 25 are the most of any conference: Alabama, No. 6 Auburn, No. 9 South Carolina, No. 12 Georgia, No. 13 LSU, No. 18 Mississippi, No. 21 Texas A&M and No. 24 Missouri.

Only two of FSU's opponents this year begin ranked: No. 16 Clemson and No. 17 Notre Dame. North Carolina (23) is the only other ranked team from the ACC. No teams from USF's and UCF's American Athletic Conference cracked the Top 25.

FSU returns 15 starters — including reigning Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston — from a team that went 14-0 and beat Auburn for the BCS national championship. It will try join the 1999 Seminoles and 2004 USC Trojans as the only teams to be ranked No. 1 wire to wire.

Since 1999, nine teams ranked first in the preseason finished in the top three, but none have done so in the past four years. Last year's preseason No. 1, Alabama, finished seventh in the final poll.

The Seminoles are also first in the USA Today coaches poll (receiving 56 of 62 first-place votes) and were on the cover of the most recent editions of Sports Illustrated and ESPN the Magazine.

FSU opens the season Aug. 30 against Oklahoma State at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

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