UGA is No. 9, Tech No. 16 in first AP poll

It’s a consensus: Pollsters thinks Georgia is going to be a Top 10 team this year.

The Bulldogs, who ended last year as the nation’s No. 9-ranked team, will open 2015 with a No. 9 ranking, according to the writers and broadcasters who vote in The Associated Press poll. The preseason rankings were released Sunday afternoon.

Georgia Tech was ranked No. 16. As is the case with the Amway/USA Today Coaches poll released in late July, it’s the first time that the Yellow Jackets have been ranked in the preseason since 2010. Tech is No. 17 in the coaches poll.

It’s recognition of the high expectations for the Jackets, who finished the 2014 with an 11-3 record and an Orange Bowl victory. Tech returns eight starters on defense and five on offense, including quarterback Justin Thomas.

Ohio State is the first unanimous preseason No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll.

The defending national champion Buckeyes received all 61 first-place votes from the media panel.

TCU is No. 2, followed by Alabama, Baylor and Michigan State.

Georgia, which also ranked in No. 9 in the coaches poll, is one of eight SEC teams in this year’s AP rankings. The Bulldogs join No. 3 Alabama, No. 6 Auburn, No. 14 LSU, No. 17 Ole Miss, No. 18 Arkansas, No. 24 Missouri and No. 25 Tennessee.

The Bulldogs, who were 10-3 last year, return 15 starters and three specialists from that team. However, they continue to search for a starting quarterback to succeed Hutson Mason. Georgia opens this season on Sept. 5 against Louisiana-Monroe.

Tech is ranked third among the three ACC teams in the top 25, following Florida State at No. 10 and Clemson at No. 12. The Jackets play four ranked teams: Georgia, Notre Dame, Florida State and Clemson. Three of the four games, with the exception of the game with the Seminoles, will be on the road for Tech. Tech opens the season Sept. 3 against Alcorn State.

It’s the 12th time that Tech has appeared in the AP preseason poll. Tech has been included eight times since coach Bobby Dodd’s retirement after the 1966 season. Three have come since the hire of coach Paul Johnson before the 2008 season.

Ohio State won the first College Football Playoff championship last season and is trying to become the 12th team to win consecutive AP titles since the poll began in 1936.

Preseason rankings date back to 1950. Since then, no team had received more than 97 percent of the first-place votes in a preseason poll.

In 2013, Alabama, which had won two straight championships, received 58 of 60 first-place votes and defending champion Florida did the same in 2009. Neither finished the season No. 1.

This is the eighth time Ohio State has been named the AP preseason No. 1, but the Buckeyes didn’t win a national championship in any of the previous seven years it happened. They finished No. 2 in both 1998 and 2006 after being ranked No. 1 at the start of the year.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.