Image Credit: ESPNI
Coming off their latest national title, Alabama earned the No. 1 spot in the 2016 preseason Coaches’ Poll released Thursday, while the Florida Gators enter the season ranked for the first time since 2013.
Florida opened the 2016 poll at No. 25 with 245 total votes, the last of six Southeastern Conference teams in the top 25.
This comes after the Gators were unranked in back-to-back preseason Coaches Polls in 2014-15, the only two times they held that designation since
Alabama received 55 of 64 possible first-place votes with Clemson (7), Oklahoma, Florida State (1) and Ohio State rounding out the top five. No. 10 Tennessee (1) also received a first-place vote.
The sixSoutheastern Conference teams ranked by the coaches this preseason – three in the top 10 – include: Alabama, LSU (No. 6), Tennessee, Ole Miss (No. 12) and Georgia (No. 16).
Florida will face four teams ranked in the preseason top 25.
1. Alabama (55)
2. Clemson (7)
4. Florida State (1)
5. Ohio State
9. Notre Dame
10. Tennenssee (1)
11. Michigan State
12. Ole Miss
19. Oklahoma State
20. North Carolina
Seven SEC coaches will be voting in the poll this season: Bret Bielema (Arkansas), Gus Malzahn (Auburn), Derek Mason (Vanderbilt), Dan Mullen (Mississippi State), Nick Saban (Alabama), Kirby Smart (Georgia) and Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M). Malzahn, Saban and Sumlin all voted in 2015. Saban has been a voter since 2013, while Sumlin began in 2014.
For the second straight year, UF will see coaches from five of its 12 opponents voting in the poll: Bielema, Mason, Smart, Jimbo Fisher (Florida State) and Seth Littrell (North Texas). Urban Meyer (Ohio State) is also a voter.