Gators finish 13th in final AP poll
Published: Tuesday, January 8, 2008 at 12:22 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 8, 2008 at 12:22 p.m.
As expected, the Florida Gators tumbled out of the top 10 in the season's final Associated Press poll following their Capital One Bowl loss to Michigan on Jan. 1.
The Gators, who ended the season 9-4, are ranked 13th in the poll, which was released Tuesday morning, only a few hours after LSU beat Ohio State to win the national championship in New Orleans.
LSU, of course, finished No. 1, followed by 11-2 Georgia at No. 2. It is the first time two teams from the same conference held the top two spots in the final poll since Nebraska and Oklahoma (Big 8) did it at the end of the 1971 season.
The Tigers collected 60 of the 65 first-place votes, with three going to the Bulldogs and one each to Southern Cal and Kansas.
The SEC enhanced its reputation as the nation's best conference, placing five teams in the final 15. Tennessee finished 12th and Auburn 15th.
After closing the regular season on a four-game winning streak, Florida had hoped for a top 10 finish in Urban Meyer's third season. But the 41-35 loss to the Wolverines in Lloyd Carr's last game ended that possibility.
In the next AP poll, the preseason poll that will come out next August, the Gators figure to be in the top 10, with Heisman-winning quarterback Tim Tebow and the bulk of the starters returning.
The Gators have already started working on the 2008 season, and a big part of it has been recruiting. Seven members of the 2008 recruiting class are already enrolled (or about to be enrolled) in classes at UF and will participate in spring practice.
The early enrollees include Gainesville High standout defensive end Earl Okine, Seffner Armwood offensive lineman Matt Patchan, Pahokee cornerback Janoris Jenkins, Bethlehem, Pa., linebacker Brendan Beal, St. Augustine kicker Caleb Sturgis and two junior college transfers — wide receiver Carl Moore and defensive tackle Troy Epps. There's also a good chance Orlando Boone cornerback Jeremy Brown will be enrolled by the end of the week.
The Gators had nine early enrollees a year ago, including three who ended up being starters this past season — offensive guard Maurkice Pouncey, cornerback Joe Haden and punter Chas Henry.
Meyer has already said that Moore and Epps should have an immediate impact on the 2008 team.
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