AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn will begin the 2014 season among the top five teams in the country according to those who patrol the sidelines.
The Amway preseason coaches' poll was released Thursday, with the Tigers coming in at No. 5. It's not far from where they ended last season, as they finished No. 2 in the poll behind only BCS champion Florida State, which completed a 14-0 campaign with a 34-31 victory over Auburn in January.
Auburn went 12-2 last season and won the SEC championship in the first year of Gus Malzahn's tenure as head coach. The Tigers' 8.5-game improvement from 2012-13 tied the biggest single-season turnaround in NCAA history along with Hawaii, which went 0-12 in 1998 before posting a 9-4 record in 1999.
As Auburn seeks to return to the national championship game this year, it will start out the season behind the top four in the coaches poll: Florida State, Alabama, Oklahoma and Oregon.
Along with the Tigers and Crimson Tide, five other teams from the Southeastern Conference landed in the top 25: South Carolina (No. 9), Georgia (No. 12), LSU (No. 13), Ole Miss (No. 19) and Texas A&M (No. 20). Auburn will play all five of those teams, plus the Crimson Tide this season. In addition, the Tigers have one other opponent in 2014 that will begin in the top 25: No. 21 Kansas State.
Auburn starts fall camp on Friday and opens the season Aug. 30 when it hosts Arkansas at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. ET.