Auburn checked in at No. 23 in the Associated Press preseason Top 25 poll that was released Saturday, which was significant on a couple of different fronts.
According to research done by ESPN Stats & Information, it’s the first time in 20 years that a defending national champion hasn’t been ranked in the top 10 of the AP’s preseason poll the following season.
Prior to the BCS era, the different wire services determined the national champion.
In 1990, Colorado was voted as the national champion in the AP poll, while Georgia Tech was voted as the national champion in the UPI poll.
The Buffaloes started out at No. 12 in the AP’s 1991 preseason poll, which is the last time until now that the defending national champion hasn’t started out in the top 10 the following year.
Also, this is the first time in history, dating back to the advent of the AP poll in 1936, that a defending SEC national champion has been left out of the top 10 in that next season’s preseason poll.
The closest was Georgia in 1981. Coming off their unbeaten national championship season in 1980, the Bulldogs were ranked No. 10 in the 1981 preseason AP poll.
For what it’s worth, they finished 10-2 in 1981 and won their second of three straight SEC championships.
The Auburn players have continued to shrug off the lack of respect they’re being showed in the polls and predictions. They were picked fifth in the Western Division at the SEC media days.
“It’s been like this for years,” Auburn sophomore defensive end Nosa Eguae said. “It’s not a whole lot different than what people were saying last year. We’ll go out there from September 3rd on and prove people wrong.
“We’ll make our big splash on the field.”