University of Alabama

Alabama ranked No. 1 in USA Today preseason coaches poll

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama tops the USA Today coaches poll released Friday.

The general response from the program: Big deal.

“As I’ve said before, I don’t think it means a whole lot,” Saban said. “A lot of those polls sort of come from what the team did last year. I don’t really think any of the things we accomplished last year is going to help us win any games this year.”

The Crimson Tide received 55 of the 59 first-place votes and got 1,469 points — just 77 more than No. 2 Ohio State. Georgia at No. 21 and Auburn at No. 23 are two of the six SEC teams in the top 25. Florida is No. 3.

Georgia Tech is ranked at No. 17.

The returning Rose Bowl champion Buckeyes received the other four first-place votes, but the ballots are not made public, so it’s a mystery as to who chose whom.

Saban’s role as one of the 59 voters added intrigue because he had said Alabama shouldn’t be the No. 1 team in the preseason.

When asked at a Friday news conference which team tops his ballot, Saban became agitated.

“I can’t even remember who I voted for, and I’m not really sure I have to release that to the public,” Saban said.

“I mean, does it matter? It doesn’t matter to me because I don’t think the preseason poll has anything to do with anything. It’s something that’s out there for the fans to create interest. And what I voted doesn’t mean anything and I’m not going to comment about it.”

None of the Crimson Tide asked differed much from Saban’s stance on the poll that represents one-third of the Bowl Championship Series formula at the end of the season.

Receiver Julio Jones didn’t even know it was released and said it wouldn’t have a big effect on the team after being told of the ranking.

“I’m going with indifferent,” offensive linemen Barrett Jones said when asked to gauge his reaction to the poll. “We’ve got a long way to go from being No. 1 or No. 100. This team right here has won zero games. We have a long ways to go before establishing our identity.”

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