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Florida schools well represented in AP Top 25 pre-season poll

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The college football season is clearly just around the corner with the release of AP’s pre-season top 25 poll. To the surprise of no one, Alabama leads the pack, followed by Clemson, Oklahoma, Florida State, and LSU.

Florida came in at No. 25 while Miami just missed at the 26th spot. The South Florida Bulls earned some votes to receive honorable mention.

Coach Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide had 33 first-place votes while Clemson garnered 16, Oklahoma had four, Florida State collected five, while LSU had one.

Rounding out the Top 10 was Ohio State, Michigan, Stanford, Tennessee, and Notre Dame. Florida State’s opponents on Labor Day night, the Mississippi Rebels, are ranked in the 11th spot. That game will be played in Orlando.

The Seminoles are expecting huge output from Heisman candidate Dalvin Cook at running back. The defensive unit will be much more experienced.

The Gators are hoping their ranking is just the start of a big season. Coach Jim McElwain hopes newly minted starting quarterback Luke Del Rio will help put more points on the board to complement a stout defense.

Miami starts the season with a new attitude generated by a new coach. First-year coach Mark Richt welcomes back Brad Kaaya at quarterback and a good recruiting class both hope will lead to more victories.

South Florida Coach Willie Taggart has Bulls’ fans excited about this year’s squad. Quarterback Quinton Flowers and running back Marlon Mack are among the most exciting backfield duos in the country.

This is just the first week of “who’s better?” between the SEC and ACC. Six SEC teams made the top 25, including six of the top 11.

Clemson led the four-team ACC contingent. Florida State’s ranking means the ACC has two of the top four teams.

Don’t forget about the Pac-12. Stanford had four other conferences members join them in the top 25. The Big 10 and Big 12 had four members each.

The poll can be found here.

There is some off-the-field news among top 25 teams.

The Seminoles announced the indefinite suspension of five-star freshman quarterback Malik Henry on Saturday. With the suspension, FSU is now down two quarterbacks.

Deondre Francois starts while fifth-year senior Sean Maguire is recovering from a foot injury. Coach Jimbo Fisher would not elaborate on the reason for the suspension other than giving the standard “violation of team rules” answer.

Notre Dame has problems of their own. Six members of the Irish football team were arrested after an encounter with police in South Bend, Indiana on Saturday. Cornerback Devin Butler was in jail after being accused of body slamming an officer.

And the season has not even started yet.

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Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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