If you're a Florida Gators football fan, you know that opening night of the 2013 season is a mere four weeks away.
Likewise, you know that Thursday marked the release of the preseason USA Today Coaches Poll. Although it is still extremely early to be thinking about the BCS picture, the poll is usually a decent indicator of which teams we can expect to see in the hunt by the end of November.
Of course, the Florida Gators reversed that trend last season. Despite beginning the 2012 campaign buried below the top 20, Will Muschamp's squad climbed through the rankings and eventually earned an at-large BCS selection.
Thus, college coaches are no longer forgetting about the Gators. This latest preseason poll reflects that, as Florida wound up in the No. 10 position.
Although some would argue otherwise, this is an appropriate ranking for the Gators.
It's no surprise that Alabama and Ohio State are at the top of the rankings. After winning three of the last four BCS titles, Nick Saban and his Tuscaloosa bunch are clearly the top team in college football. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes boast one of the most talented rosters in the country, with or without Carlos Hyde.
Positions three through six belong to Oregon, Stanford, Georgia and Texas A&M, respectively. All four of these teams had legitimate arguments for a BCS berth in 2012. Oregon and Stanford received them and subsequently won, while Texas A&M and Georgia also took care of business in their final games. Most would agree that, for the time being, each deserves a ranking ahead of the Gators.
After that, the debate can begin. South Carolina is at No. 7 ahead of Clemson, Louisville, Florida, Notre Dame and Florida State.
Honestly, the teams in this bunch are so close that any order would have sufficed. Louisville deserves to be ahead of Florida after dominating the Sugar Bowl, but ultimately has less talent on its roster.
Clemson has a top-10 offense, but the defense is more of a question mark. Florida falls in the opposite category. It would be interesting to see the Gators and Tigers match their conflicting strengths head-to-head.
South Carolina is probably a bit high, but everyone is on the Jadeveon Clowney hype train. Not to mention, the Gamecocks are a solid team with veteran players. They could really go either way.
Finally, the Gators' edge over Florida State is deserved after their well-played comeback victory in Tallahassee last winter.
The Gators have the look of a two-loss team. Their defense is loaded with talent, but they need to replace huge contributors at safety and linebacker. The offense should improve dramatically, but it still doesn't have the firepower to compete with the Aggies and Crimson Tide and other SEC counterparts.
Plus, they could easily climb to the top of the pile should they see everything fall into place and put together a winning streak.
Thus, Gator fans should be pretty happy with where the team stands.
Florida is not a title favorite, but it is a top-10 caliber team that could once again surprise the college football world.
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