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Florida ranked No. 17 in preseason AP poll

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For the second year in a row, the Gators are ranked to start the season.

NCAA Football: New Mexico State at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The first Associated Press poll for the 2017 season was released this afternoon. The Florida Gators appear at No. 17, just one spot below where they debuted in the initial preseason coaches’ poll.

The Gators ended the 2016-17 season ranked No. 14 by the AP. After a three-year hiatus in the preseason polls, Florida began last season ranked, and again makes the cut this season after finishing 2016 with a division title, 9-4 record, and Outback Bowl victory. This season marks the first time that the Gators have been ranked preseason in back-to-back years since 2012 and 2013.

Florida is one of six SEC teams to make the AP poll top-25. Along with the Gators, Alabama (1), Auburn (12), LSU (13), Georgia (15), and Tennessee (25) appear in the inaugural rankings. As in the coaches’ poll, Alabama takes the top spot, and the rest of the top-five also appear in identical order to that poll. Ohio State sits at No. 2, followed by Florida State, USC, and defending national champion Clemson.

As of the present polling, the Gators are scheduled to meet five ranked teams this season. Besides the aforementioned Tigers, Bulldogs, and Volunteers, the Gators will also face the third-ranked Seminoles and open with No. 11 Michigan.

Does the No. 17 spot seem too high or too low for Florida? Or do you think that the Gators are situated fairly? Do you have any thoughts about the rest of the rankings? Preseason polls are entirely an exercise in prognostication, but luckily we don’t have much longer to wait before action takes place on the field.