UCF Football will start the 2018 regular season ranked 21st in the Associated Press Top 25.
It's the first time UCF has ever been ranked in the preseason AP Top 25. The Knights have received votes in the past, but this is the first time we'll see a number next to UCF's name when they open the 2018 season at UConn on Thursday, August 30th.
Coming off a 13-0 season where UCF finished #6 in the AP after claiming a share of the National Championship, this should be considered a shoo-in, but it wasn't. Several AP voters either placed UCF low on their ballot or left them off completely, most notably Brett McMurphy of Stadium:
AP preseason poll will be released Monday. Here is my AP ballot*— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) August 15, 2018
Bama Clem Wisc Wash OhioSt UGA OU Stan MichSt PennSt Aub Mich USC ND WVU Miami MissSt UF FSU BC TCU Boise Utah Texas FAU
*Every fan base except Bama will hate my rankings
Now, as we discussed last week, it is completely reasonable to not place UCF in, say, the top 10. But to leave UCF off one's ballot is preposterous.
Yet, that's exactly what six voters did:
- Brett McMurphy, Stadium
- Soren Petro, Sports Radio 810 WHB in Kansas City
- Matt McCoy, 610 WTVN-AM, in Columbus, Ohio
- Michael Lev, Arizona Daily Star
- Don Williams, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
- Jim Alexander, The Press Enterprise (Riverside, California)
UCF's reaction was, well, what you'd guess:
And of course, there are good reasons for that. Hence:
UCF is No. 21 in the preseason AP Poll...— Jason Starrett (@starrettjason) August 20, 2018
Before the Knights, no FBS team had gone perfect, returned its starting QB and opened the following season ranked that low since 1977.
Rutgers went 11-0 in 1976, returned Bert Kosup and opened the 1977 season unranked.
Some other things of note:
Others of note:— Black & Gold Banneret (@UCF_Banneret) August 20, 2018
Boise State is #22
Florida State is #19
Auburn is #9
Miami is #8
Alabama is #1
Florida, FAU are unranked.
Florida, FAU, Houston and Memphis are receiving votes.— Black & Gold Banneret (@UCF_Banneret) August 20, 2018
Being ahead of Boise State is only thing that matters as I said last season. Being highest rank Group of 5 is goal. Rest is irrelevant. https://t.co/EW9B1QheNO— Eric Lopez (@EricLopezELO) August 20, 2018
The most frequently-appearing place for UCF on the ballot was 20th, by nine voters. Eight put them at #22 and seven each at #19 and #21, where they landed. You can check out that distribution via College Poll Tracker here.
The Knights also start the season ranked #23 in the Coaches' Poll.
What do you think? Vote below: