Gators to start season at No. 5


Florida quarterback Tim Tebow runs for an 18-yard gain during the first quarter of the Gators' game against Western Kentucky University Saturday September 1, 2007 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville Florida.

Sun file photo
Published: Friday, August 1, 2008 at 7:16 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, August 1, 2008 at 7:16 a.m.

In the race for the national championship, the Florida Gators will start out in the No. 5 position.

Facts

USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll

Rank; Team (first-place votes); Record; Points; Final 2007 Rankings
1. Georgia (22); 11-2; 1,438; 3
2. Southern California (14); 11-2; 1,430; 2
3. Ohio State (14); 11-2; 1,392; 4
4. Oklahoma (3); 11-3; 1,329; 8
5. Florida (5); 9-4; 1,293; 16
6. LSU (3); 12-2; 1,163; 1
7. Missouri; 12-2; 1,143; 5
8. West Virginia; 11-2; 1,008; 6
9. Clemson; 9-4; 999; 22
10. Texas; 10-3; 979; 10
11. Auburn; 9-4; 888; 14t
12. Wisconsin; 9-4; 747; 21
13. Kansas; 12-1; 714; 7
14. Texas Tech; 9-4; 644; 23
15. Virginia Tech; 11-3; 568; 9
16. Arizona State; 10-3; 560; 13
17. Brigham Young; 11-2; 547; 14t
18. Tennessee; 10-4; 506; 12
19. Illinois; 9-4; 422; 18
20. Oregon; 9-4; 399; 24
21. South Florida; 9-4; 350; NR
22. Penn State; 4; 313; 25
23. Wake Forest; 9-4; 203; NR
24. Michigan; 9-4; 112; 19
25. Fresno State; 9-4; 91; NR

Alabama (7-6) 83; South Carolina (6-6) 64; Utah (9-4) 60; Florida State (7-6) 53; Rutgers (8-5) 53; Boston College (11-3) 47; California (7-6) 41; Pittsburgh (5-7) 34; Boise State (10-3) 25; Oregon State (9-4) 23; Nebraska (5-7) 17; Cincinnati (10-3) 13; Virginia (9-4) 12; Connecticut (9-4) 9; Michigan State (7-6) 9; Mississippi State (8-5) 6; Kentucky (8-5) 5; Notre Dame (3-9) 5; TCU (8-5) 5; Maryland (6-7) 4; North Carolina (4-8) 3; Texas A&M (7-6) 3; UCLA (6-7) 3; Central Florida (10-4) 2; Georgia Tech (7-6) 2; Louisville (6-6) 2; Arizona (5-7) 1; Colorado (6-7) 1; Oklahoma State (7-6) 1; Tulsa (10-4) 1.

The USA Today coaches’ poll came out Friday morning and the Gators are ranked fifth after receiving five first-place votes.

The No. 1 spot belong to Georgia, a popular pick in the preseason publications after closing the 2007 season on a seven-game winning streak, culminating with a rout of Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl. The Bulldogs received 22 of the 61 first-place votes, edging out Southern Cal (14) and Ohio State (14).

Georgia returns virtually all of its impact players from a year ago, including quarterback Matthew Stafford and tailback Knowshon Moreno, a strong Heisman candidate.

The Gators hope to re-emerge as a national title contender after going 9-4 last season and losing to Michigan in the Capital One Bowl. UF returns the bulk of its starters, led by Heisman-winning quarterback Tim Tebow and wide receiver Percy Harvin.

Asked what his response was to Florida's No. 5 ranking, Gator coach Urban Meyer had the same answer as he did when the media voted Florida to win the SEC Championship at Media Days in Hoover, Ala.

"We play Hawaii August 30," said Meyer, who is one of the 61 coaches voting in this season’s coaches’ poll.

There are three other SEC schools in the top 25. Defending national champion LSU is at No. 6, while Auburn is 11th and Tennessee 18th.

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