Kentucky football pulls off rare AP poll feat. See where the Wildcats are ranked

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama football starts the 2022 season atop the preseason AP Top 25, which was released Monday. The Crimson Tide received 54 first-place votes. 

But that's not the biggest news in other corners of the SEC. Kentucky is ranked No. 20, earning a Top 25 spot in the preseason for the first time since 1978. The Wildcats view themselves as SEC East contenders right along with defending national champion Georgia, although USA TODAY Network SEC media voted the Wildcats to finish third in the division in July.

Ohio State (six first-place votes), Georgia (three), Clemson and Notre Dame round out the top five. 

The Crimson Tide is one of 12 SEC teams to either be ranked or receive a vote. Other teams from the conference who are ranked include Texas A&M (6), Arkansas (19), Kentucky (20) and Ole Miss (21). 

Teams from the SEC who received votes but did not make the AP Top 25 are Tennessee (180), LSU (55), Mississippi State (15), Auburn (15), Florida (14) and South Carolina (2). The Volunteers were the first team left out of the poll. 

The Crimson Tide was also named the No. 1 team in the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll released this past week. Nick Saban is entering his 16th season as the Crimson Tide's coach.

About a week ago, Saban said he had seen plenty of articles already determining what kind of team Alabama would have. 

"In some ways this creates a much more difficult challenge to have players be hungry, try to prove what they can do together as a group," Saban said. "But it is a challenge that we're willing to deal with and hopefully we've got the right kind of leadership on our team to be able to overcome some of that so that we can avoid complacency and stay focused on doing the right things, deal with success if we have success, be able to deal with frustrations if we have failures."

Week 1 projections:How will the Kentucky football depth chart look for the Wildcats' opening game?

Next in line:Which Kentucky football freshmen will play a part from the start? Here are five candidates

More Wildcats:Why Kentucky football's Will Levis isn't worried about untested blindside blockers

AP Top 25 preseason

1. Alabama

2. Ohio State

3. Georgia

4. Clemson

5. Notre Dame

6. Texas A&M

7. Utah

8. Michigan

9. Oklahoma

10. Baylor

11. Oregon

12. Oklahoma State

13. North Carolina State

14. USC

15. Michigan State

16. Miami (FL)

17. Pittsburgh

18. Wisconsin

19. Arkansas

20. Kentucky

21. Ole Miss

22. Wake Forest

23. Cincinnati

24. Houston

25. BYU

Nick Kelly covers Alabama football and men's basketball for The Tuscaloosa News, part of the USA TODAY Network. Reach him at nkelly@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter: @_NickKelly