The first edition of the AP Top 25 Poll for the 2016 season was released today and the Gators just made it onto the list at No. 25. The last two teams standing after the 2015 season enter 2016 as they ended it, with Alabama ranked No. 1 and Clemson ranked No. 2. Florida starts the 2016 season ranked where they ended the 2015 season as well, at No. 25. The Gators are also at No. 25 in the preseason coaches’ poll.
Last season Florida was unranked in the AP’s preseason poll. If the Gators had slotted in one place lower, and entered this season unranked, they would have been the first defending SEC East Champion to ever do so.
Florida has four foes ranked in the Top 20 on their schedule including Florida State at No. 4, LSU at No. 5, Tennessee at No. 9, and Georgia at No. 18; and only the Tigers make the trip to Gainesville.
Is No. 25 too low for the Gators? Is Florida being underrated after a ten win season and a trip to the SEC Championship? Are preseason rankings kind of irrelevant? Personally, I’d rather the Gators go into a season more on the underrated than the overrated side of things. Potentially having a little added motivation to prove themselves can’t be a bad thing.