After a year spent rising in the college football rankings, Florida will start 2013 near the top of the USA TODAY Coaches Poll: The first preseason top 25, put out by the organization just now, slots the Gators in at No. 10.
Florida receives no first-place votes — those all go to defending national champion Alabama, which takes No. 1 and 58 first-place votes, No. 2 Ohio State, which gets three votes, and No. 6 Texas A&M, which gets one — but the Gators are far closer to the top of the totem pole than they were in 2012, when they came in at No. 23 in the USA TODAY preseason poll.
As always, the caveats of the preseason poll are that it's often wildly inaccurate, and works against teams that don't have the good fortune to end up high in them at first, and the caveat of the USA TODAY poll in particular is that it is probably filled out by sports information directors more often than coaches. But this is the system Florida and every other team is in for one more year, until the new College Football Playoff begins, and it's better to be mistakenly ranked high rather than low.
Florida will also have plenty of chances to climb as high as it wants if it keeps winning. The Gators will play four teams ranked in the preseason top 25 — No. 5 Georgia, No. 7 South Carolina, No. 12 Florida State, and No. 13 LSU — could play a ranked Miami team (the Hurricanes are second among teams receiving votes), and would likely meet Alabama, LSU, or Texas A&M in the 2013 SEC Championship Game, if they can get there.