AP poll: USC No. 1, five SEC teams in top 10, UGA No. 6

The SEC has five teams in the top 10 of the Associated Press preseason college football poll -– but not the No. 1 team.

USC, entering its third season under coach Lane Kiffin and its first back from an NCAA-imposed two-year postseason ban, got the top ranking in the media vote released Saturday.

Alabama and LSU, the SEC teams that met in last season’s BCS title game, were ranked Nos. 2 and 3, respectively. Other SEC teams in the top 10 were No. 6 Georgia, No. 9 South Carolina and No. 10 Arkansas. Georgia’s ranking is the highest for the Bulldogs since September 2008.

Georgia Tech received poll votes but was not ranked in the top 25.

LSU’s dismissal of star cornerback/punt returner Tyrann Mathieu from the team on Aug. 10 –- reportedly for failed drug tests -– enabled USC to move to the top of the poll. Because of Mathieu’s impact, the AP extended the voting deadline and allowed voters to amend their ballots.

Before Mathieu was kicked off the team, LSU had received 28 first-place votes, USC 22 and Alabama nine, AP reported. But in the poll released Saturday, USC had 25 first-place votes, Alabama 17 and LSU 16.

One AP voter who changed his ballot was Seth Emerson of The Macon Telegraph. Emerson said Saturday that he originally had LSU No. 1 but dropped the Tigers to No. 3, putting Alabama No. 1 and USC No. 2.

“I was in the Georgia Dome,” Emerson said, pointing to Mathieu’s two long punt returns in last season’s SEC Championship game victory over Georgia.  “I saw the effect that had.

“Even without Mathieu,” Emerson added, “there is a clear separation between the top three teams and the rest.”

LSU was ranked No. 1 in the USA Today coaches’ preseason poll, which was announced before Mathieu’s dismissal. Alabama was No. 2 and USC No. 3 in that poll.

In the AP poll, USC totaled 1,445 points, Alabama 1,411 and LSU 1,402. Oklahoma and Oregon completed the top five, in that order. Oklahoma and No. 8 Michigan received one first-place vote apiece.

The AP poll, unlike the coaches’, is not part of the BCS formula that determines who plays in the national title game.

Georgia’s No. 6 ranking was the same in both polls.

“I would’ve predicted us not to be quite as high in [the AP] poll, but it’s good that people feel that way about us,” coach Mark Richt said Saturday. “We all know it doesn’t mean a lot other than you’re starting in a spot where, if you take care of business, you have a chance to stay up there. . . . We know we’ve got a long way to go and a lot to prove.

“… We want to be well thought of,” Richt added. “Have we earned it this year? No. But I guess from everybody’s evaluation of who’s returning and all that type of thing they feel like we’ve got a chance.”

Said UGA tailback-fullback Richard Samuel: “We don’t feel any pressure from [the high ranking]. In the long run, [the coaches' poll] helps us at the end of the season when it comes time to decide who gets to go to the national championship. So we just look at it like that, but we also know that we’ve got to take it game by game to get there. … I really do believe in our guys. We have a really wonderful, amazing team. We had some victories last year and a couple of games we have to learn how to finish.”

Georgia Tech was sixth in the others-receiving-votes category.

Asked if he would use being unranked as motivation, Tech coach Paul Johnson said: “No. Probably won’t talk about it.”

Said Tech center Jay Finch: “I think that’s right where we should be, because, to be honest, I like starting outside where nobody’s suspecting anything. But if you keep winning, you keep going up.”

In all, the SEC placed six teams in the AP’s top 25 –- the five in the top 10 plus Florida, which was ranked No. 23 despite a 7-6 (3-5 SEC) record last season.

The Big 12 also put six teams in the top 25 but only one in the top 10. The Big Ten had five teams ranked, one in the top 10. The Pac-12 and ACC had three teams apiece in the poll — two and one, respectively, in the top 10.

The ranked ACC teams included No. 7 Florida State, No. 14 Clemson (which opens the season against Auburn in a Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at the Georgia Dome on Sept. 1) and No. 16 Virginia Tech.

– Tim Tucker of the AJC, with contributions from Chip Towers at Georgia and Ken Sugiura at Georgia Tech.

ASSOCIATED PRESS POLL

Team(first place votes) 2011 record Points Pv

1.Southern Cal(25) 10-2 1,445 6

2.Alabama(17) 12-1 1,411 1

3. LSU (16) 13-1 1,402 2

4.Oklahoma(1) 10-3 1,286 16

5.Oregon 12-2 1,274 4

6.Georgia 10-4 1,107 19

7. Florida St. 9-4 1,093 23

8.Michigan(1) 11-2 1,000 12

9.South Carolina 11-2 994 9

10.Arkansas 11-2 963 5

11.West Virginia 10-3 856 17

12.Wisconsin 11-3 838 10

13. Michigan St. 11-3 742 11

14. Clemson 10-4 615 22

15.Texas 8-5 569 NR

16. Virginia Tech 11-3 548 21

17.Nebraska 9-4 485 24

18. Ohio St. 6-7 474 NR

19. Oklahoma St. 12-1 430 3

20. TCU 11-2 397 14

21. Stanford 11-2 383 7

22. Kansas St. 10-3 300 15

23.Florida 7-6 214 NR

24. Boise St. 12-1 212 8

25.Louisville 7-6 105 NR

Others receiving votes: Notre Dame 83, Washington 55, Auburn 53, North Carolina 32, Utah 30, Georgia Tech 25, BYU 22, Tennessee 15, South Florida 11, Baylor 9, Texas A&M 5, UCF 4, Cincinnati 3, Missouri 3, N.C. State 3, Houston 1, Louisiana Tech 1, Mississippi St. 1, N. Illinois 1.

476 comments Add your comment

Just Asking

August 18th, 2012
10:28 am

Just Asking

August 18th, 2012
10:33 am

I don’t think that you can expect more than this ranking until UGA proves that they deserve it. We are ranked right where we need to be if we are going to get that shot at the BIG game. This could be one of those years where there is a lot on the line for the Georgia – Georgia Tech game. 14 Days till we play ball!

time to kickoff....

August 18th, 2012
10:35 am

#1 at the end of the season! Meet you on the field, not the blogs

Augusta dawg

August 18th, 2012
10:37 am

People complain about UGA’s schedule. Take a look at USC’s. Only one tough game. Oregon. Where is the complaining?

Sid

August 18th, 2012
10:40 am

Razorbacks @ #10 ……..?? After the disaster which was mr Ahole himself? We will see!!

Sid

August 18th, 2012
10:42 am

………………and let me say this about that

GO DAWGS!

HAHA

August 18th, 2012
10:42 am

#1 at end of season? Yeah right. Dawgs suck!

I dropped my fried twinkie

August 18th, 2012
10:42 am

And what are the RANKINGS based on?
Jen Anniston
Selma Hayek
Scarlet Johhanssen
Bar Rafile
Sofia Loren
Are the 5 best looking women in the world is as factual as a preseason football poll.

clintdaddy

August 18th, 2012
10:49 am

Wow this is the worst I’ve seen. Got the regulars in there and a lot of them have done nothing to deserve it. Oh well, I guess wining is the only way for some teams even losing isn’t enough to nock some of these big name teams out. wtf

St Richt

August 18th, 2012
10:49 am

I’d say a little high for the dogs and USC. And Florida state is getting way too much respect as usual..

Eisendawg

August 18th, 2012
10:52 am

You are correct Augusta Dawg. The polls have always loved USC and Ohio State, despite a soft schedule and no conference championship. Even this year, if you take a look at the top 25 above, notice Ohio State is ranked #18, and they are the only team in the top 25 that posted a losing record last year. You can bet Urban is aware of this. Once he gets past the one year probation, he figures to be in the NC mix yearly, with a much easier path than the SEC.

Mobile Dawg

August 18th, 2012
10:52 am

There is definitely potential with the 2012 squad, if our OL can block, if Murray can eliminate his mistakes, if Richt and Bobo bring a solid game plan and execute it with consistency, if our special teams can do their job. A lot of if’s, but I’m ready for the season to begin.

I do have a back up plan if things don’t go well, spend more time on the Gulf. Can’t lose either way. Go Dawgs, let’s repeat 1980 and run these losers off our blog.

htownbravesfan

August 18th, 2012
10:53 am

Twinkie, don’t forget about Charlize Theron.

Destin Dawg

August 18th, 2012
10:55 am

our schedule is NOT that easy with Missouri, S.C. Fla. and Auburn ALL road games !!! Vandy may suprise some this year… can’t help that Tenn. is in the tank.. in fact if Vandy has a winning season, bowl game, Franlkin will jump to Tenn.. ???

Eisendawg

August 18th, 2012
10:57 am

Twinkie, I think you have to include Kate Upton. Personally, I like those curves.

St Richt

August 18th, 2012
10:58 am

If ifs, ands, and buts were candy and nuts, everyday would be Christmas MobileDawg.

Mobile Dawg

August 18th, 2012
11:01 am

Correct, and it’s high time St. Richt delivered Dawg Nation a well deserved Christmas present, or turn over the reins to someone who can.

flo-ri-duh

August 18th, 2012
11:01 am

SEC off to a good start again. Don’t see USC winning it all. South Carolina being ranked behind UGA probably sticks in Spurrier’s envious craw and that’s a good thing. Florida is probably better than 20 something though they are still looking for a QB. Gamecrocks will have all they want with Vanderbilt in the very 1st game. They are on upset alert due in part to the fact that Lattimore won’t be back to form til mid season. UGA will have a good test in game #2 against a strong Missou team. LSU will miss the Honey Badger more on special teams than as a CB as they have depth behind him. Would love to see Spud go down to Vandy in game one…….. Spud would stroke out!

LOLOLOL

August 18th, 2012
11:01 am

What’s funny is how dawg fans are all excited about the preseason rankings. None of this matters until the end of the season.

Destin Dawg

August 18th, 2012
11:03 am

watch the results of our improved S & C and nutrionist Jen Ketterly’s lunch buffet at Butts Mehre… O line was fat and slow… we’ll see a huge improvement in running game and 4th qtr.. finish the drill Dawgs !

oldfart

August 18th, 2012
11:03 am

Nah, Layla Kiffin pulled the vote USC’s way.

bitter "spoiled recruit"

August 18th, 2012
11:05 am

Boise st need to be in top 10, as well—Mich st——–tenn ur-say–made the top 250–hahahaha

–floridaa—made the top 500—loosers

Destin Dawg

August 18th, 2012
11:06 am

I’d LOVE to see Vandy upset the fighting chickens !!!

flo-ri-duh

August 18th, 2012
11:07 am

Would also like to see Michigan put a “L: on the “gnome” in game ONE. That would shake up things. UPSET ALERT in game #1 of the season for the Game Crocks and Bummer. It could happen.

lmao

August 18th, 2012
11:08 am

“I don’t think that you can expect more than this ranking until UGA proves that they deserve it. We are ranked right where we need to be if we are going to get that shot at the BIG game”

right where you deserve? didnt know that recruiting counted. ;o)

get a shot at the big game? hate to tell ya but it has been 32 years since you dawgs last sniffed anything more than somebody elses dirty underwear. i promise you that wont be changing anytime soon.

trey

August 18th, 2012
11:09 am

Do you mean to tell me that the baby schedule the maggots have and they still aren’t in the Top 50? What? Well I never. What is this world coming to when a baby schedule won’t rank you high. It must be because they know that even with a baby schedule they’ll still suck.

lmao

flo-ri-duh

August 18th, 2012
11:09 am

Kiffin must have voted for himself 500 times. No way USC is #1 or even #5. Top 20 yes – top 10 maybe – top 5 NO WAY.

missouri will be in top 25

August 18th, 2012
11:13 am

after we lose to them….different year…same ole mark richt….

tgbeazy

August 18th, 2012
11:14 am

I would have preferred we came out around #12 and climbed our way up to the top. All this hype…

flo-ri-duh

August 18th, 2012
11:15 am

LSU still #1 – Bummer # 14 – GameCrocks #9 – UGA # 2 – Wart Hogs #8 – Lizards # 19 Final poll for SEC.

flo-ri-duh

August 18th, 2012
11:17 am

Forgot Missou # 16 at end of season just behind Bummer.

lmao

August 18th, 2012
11:17 am

i think it is high time we had two separate polls.

one for the sec…. and one for everybody else who tries to do it the right way.

who the f recruits 30 and 40 players year in an year out and with a straight face pounds their chest at the end of the year and truly believes they are the best.

hell ya yall are the best. the best cheaters in college football.

if i was running a 100 yard dash and gave my self a 10 yard head start over the rest of the field i certainly wouldnt honestly believe i am the fastest man in the world no matter how many times i finished no 1.

oh i may smile and brag to all who would listen but deep down i would know i am a fake.

so sec folks…. when are you going to finally admit that you give yourselves that 10 yard head start every year?

what i thought!

pretty pathetic bunch of fakes!

spider

August 18th, 2012
11:18 am

polls should not come out till nov 1st, they are useless at this time as far as accuracy.

No. 1 Braves Fan

August 18th, 2012
11:18 am

The preason polls mean nothing to me as an ordinary fan. However, I do read and compare them just to see how others react by their comments they post.. Its very interesting to see that there are so many different reactions regardless of how their schools may or may not be ranked.

PennGeorgia State

August 18th, 2012
11:20 am

I wish UGA had been picked #1 like 2008…had a blast watching the fall and the crying associated with it….what a delusional bunch you losers are!

Bud

August 18th, 2012
11:20 am

Wow, South Carolina plays 3 top 10 teams, Florida plays 4 top 10 teams.

Big Crimson 75

August 18th, 2012
11:21 am

USC is over-rated.
Good to see the Big Least squeak 1 Team in the Top25.

To Tell the Truth

August 18th, 2012
11:23 am

Once again, GA is over-rated!

Enough Said

AirForce1

August 18th, 2012
11:25 am

@ PennGeorgia State….wow. Is your name associated with child molesters and cover-ups? Why not go and visit the Penn State Sexual Offenders Blog you %$#@

PennGeorgia State

August 18th, 2012
11:25 am

UGA plays 2 teams in the top 25? Nice job of scheduling…I know you don’t schedule conference games, but no one is stopping UGA from scheduling other BCS conference teams. The schedule of a bully for sure.

PennGeorgia State

August 18th, 2012
11:27 am

@AirForce1…it’s the UGA association in my name that is offensive to most people…

AirForce1

August 18th, 2012
11:29 am

PennGeorgiaNotreDame State

August 18th, 2012
11:29 am

Both programs live in the past, like Notre Dame, thus they are included in my name now.

AirForce1

August 18th, 2012
11:30 am

Independent voter

August 18th, 2012
11:31 am

S.C. game crocks will lose 3 or 4 and might even get upset by Vandy that would be 5 and stressed out Spurrier will retire !!

LetMeGet A Towel Honey

August 18th, 2012
11:31 am

Oh Lord….more UGA bashing on a UGA blog…..I love America

PennGeorgiaND State

August 18th, 2012
11:33 am

Can hear it now at Sanford and Son Stadium…WE ARE….GEORGIA!

Cobb Dawg

August 18th, 2012
11:33 am

Olivia Wilde, Twinkie. Olivia. Wilde.

Tampa Gator

August 18th, 2012
11:33 am

Why is Oklahoma in the top 5? I can name 10 teams I would rank higher than the Sooners. But they always start out in the top 5…no matter what they did the previous year. It takes more than a good QB to be that good.

I also don’t think USC has the depth….particularly on defense…..to be ranked #1. They certainly have the offense however. Like Georgia, USC has to avoid key injuries to reach expectation this year.

LetMeGet A Towel Honey

August 18th, 2012
11:33 am

Penn has some hilarious posts