The 2014 season begins with the debut of Amway's sponsorship of the USA TODAY Coaches Poll — and with Florida out of the top 25 in the first college football preseason poll of 2014.
The Gators, coming off their first losing season since 1979, are the second team in the also receiving votes section of the presason poll, tallying 122 votes from
SIDs coaches who have faith that Florida will not be as bad as it was during its injury-plagued 2013. Only Missouri, with 128 votes, received more votes and missed the top 25
Florida's foes, on the other hand, got plenty of love. Defending national champion Florida State begins the year at No. 1, 2012 national champion Alabama is No. 2, and Florida will play at both of those teams in 2014. SEC East co-favorite South Carolina checks in at No. 9 despite losing Jadeveon Clowney and Connor Shaw, SEC East co-favorite Georgia is No. 12 despite losing Aaron Murray, and LSU is No. 13 despite losing Zach Mettenberger. No other Florida opponents are ranked — yet — but that quintet of opponents in the top 15 is likely more than any other team in the country can boast.
Strength of schedule, clearly, will not be a worry for Florida this year.
And as for being unranked: It doesn't matter. Florida began the 2012 season on the low side of the top 25 in polls, and still managed to play football well as the fall progressed.
Mostly, I'm just glad Florida didn't receive exactly 48 votes. That would've been annoying.
|RANK||TEAM||RECORD||POINTS||FIRST PLACE VOTES||PREVIOUS RANK|
|1||Florida State Seminoles||14-0||1543||56||NR|
|2||Alabama Crimson Tide||11-2||1455||NR|
|6||Ohio State Buckeyes||12-2||1267||1||NR|
|8||Michigan State Spartans||13-1||1050||NR|
|9||South Carolina Gamecocks||11-2||1009||1||NR|
|17||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||9-4||509||NR|
|18||Arizona State Sun Devils||10-4||358||NR|
|20||Texas A&M Aggies||9-4||266||NR|
|21||Kansas State Wildcats||8-5||257||NR|
|23||North Carolina Tar Heels||7-6||175||NR|
Others Receiving Votes:
Missouri 126; Florida 122; Central Florida 102; Mississippi State 74; Oklahoma State 56; TCU 54; Michigan 53; Iowa 49; Miami (Fla.) 45; Duke 41; Louisville 32; Marshall 27; Brigham Young 18; Boise State 13; Louisiana-Lafayette 12; Virginia Tech 12; Texas Tech 8; Minnesota 6; Cincinnati 6; Northwestern 5; Oregon State 4; Fresno State 4; GeorgiaTech 2; Houston 2; Arkansas 1; Arizona 1; Northern Illinois 1.