University of Miami

UM in top 25 preseason AP poll — with FSU, UF and USF

UM fans cheer for the Miami Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium. The 2017 season starts on Sept. 2 for the Canes.
UM fans cheer for the Miami Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium. The 2017 season starts on Sept. 2 for the Canes.

The Miami Hurricanes, still waiting for a starting quarterback to be named, are in the top 25 again.

The Associated Press released its 2017 preseason rankings, and the Hurricanes are No. 18.

Alabama tops the poll at No. 1, with the top 10 rounded out by No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Florida State, No. 4 USC, No. 5 Clemson, No. 6 Penn State, No. 7 Oklahoma, No. 8 Washington, No. 9 Wisconsin and No. 10 Oklahoma State.

It’s the first time the Canes are ranked in the preseason AP Poll since 2010, when they came into the season ranked 13th. They finished 7-6 that year, losing to Notre Dame in the Hyundai Sun Bowl.

They were also recently ranked No. 18 in the Amway Coaches Poll.

Florida is No. 17 and USF is No. 19, marking the first time the state of Florida has four teams in the preseason top 25.

“It’s a popularity poll right now,’’ UM coach Mark Richt said after practice Monday, when asked about the prospect of his Hurricanes being ranked in the AP’s top 25. “No one really knows for sure. They base it on returning starters and how you finished last year. If you tend to win a bowl game, you’re more apt to get ranked in the fall. It’s pretty typical. It matters most at the end. But I’m not mad that we’re ranked. I think it’s good for us.”

UM linebacker Zach McCloud added Monday morning that the poll would “be a good way to gauge the way that we’ve been working. It’s a nice result to have, but top 20 is not really going to do it. At least top five we want. That’s what we’re working for —No. 1. I feel like we have a team willing to put in the work to get there.

“Nothing is set in stone. Nothing is for sure right now. But the work ethic that we have on this team right now is something that I’ve never been a part of before.’’

The Canes, who finished 9-4 last year, won their first bowl game in 10 years and ended the season with their first five-game winning streak since their 2001 national championship campaign.

After Clemson upset Alabama in the College Football Playoff national championship game in January, the Hurricanes were voted into the AP’s final Top 25 poll for the first time since 2009 and only the second time since 2005. They finished 20th in 2016 in the AP rankings.

University of Miami coach Mark Richt stays mum on who the Canes' starting QB will be on Aug. 21, 2017.

The coaches voted Miami at No. 23 to end the 2016 season.

The other ranked teams in the AP’s preseason poll: No. 11 Michigan, No. 12 Auburn, No. 13 LSU, No. 14 Stanford, No. 15 Georgia, No. 16 Louisville, the Gators, Miami, USF, No. 20 Kansas State, No. 21 Virginia Tech, No. 22 West Virginia, No. 23 Texas, No. 24 Washington State and No. 25 Tennessee.

▪ Richt said he plans to name UM’s starting quarterback on Tuesday.

▪ Left tackle Kc McDermott was pedaling on a conditioning bike while the others practiced Monday because someone stepped on his foot, Richt said. “We don’t think it’s anything too serious, but we didn’t want to keep aggravating it at this point. We wanted it to calm down a little bit before we put him back in.”

Trevor Darling moved to left tackle while McDermott is sidelined, and freshman Corey Gaynor replaced Darling at left guard. Richt is very happy with the first-team O-line of McDermott, left guard Trevor Darling, center Tyler Gauthier, Navaughn Donaldson and Tyree St. Louis.

▪ Wide receiver Ahmmon Richards (hamstring) did not practice.

▪ McCloud said the Canes were upset that linebacker Jamie Gordinier tore the ACL of his right knee last week, his second ACL tear in just under a year. The other tear in last year’s season opener was in his left knee. “It hurt the whole team, especially the linebackers as a group,’’ McCloud said. “Whenever we see him we try to lift him up. It hurt us all, and I’m sure he’s hurting too. Keep him in your prayers.’’

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