Last season marked the first time in NCAA history that four teams from the state of Florida had been simultaneously ranked in either of the two major polls. On Monday, the AP released their preseason top 25, and it had four teams from the state of Florida for first time, ever. The top vote getter from the Sunshine State was Florida State, at number three. It’s quite a drop to the Gators at #17, but Miami and USF are right behind at 18 and 19, respectively.
Florida universities have a storied history in the AP poll. Since 1950, a Florida team has received votes in every year except 1963. Going back to 1980, there has been at least one team from the state in the Associated Press top 25 (prior to 1989, they ranked 20 teams, but counted others receiving votes).
While four teams is a new record for the state, three teams from Florida have been ranked in the preseason poll 20 times prior (1981, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1990-97, 1999-2002, 2004-2006, 2010). Five total teams have been ranked at different times, but the only three to be ranked simultaneously have been FSU, Miami, and Florida.
USF has received votes in ten seasons (2002, 2005, 2007-2012, 2015-2016) and has been ranked in five seasons (2007-2009, 2011, 2016). 2017 marks the first time USF has been ranked in the preseason by the AP since 2008, the only other preseason the Bulls were ranked. They were ranked 19th in the 2008 preseason poll, mirrored in 2017. The 2007 team enjoyed three weeks in the top ten and one week at #2, their highest ever ranking. In 2008, the team peaked at #10 before dropping out of the rankings the final week of the season.
The other Florida team to make the top 25 was UCF. The Knights finished in the top 25 in 2010 and 2013 and have received votes four other years, but have never been on a preseason top 25.
The state of Texas has long been a hotbed of football talent. The end of the 2016 season marked the first time the state was not represented in the final poll. The University of Texas is the lone representative from the Lone Star State in Monday’s poll, at #23.
With their second preseason ranking, the Bulls lead the non-playoff conferences and the American Athletic Conference as their only representative in the poll.