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No. 20 Cats in AP preseason poll for first time in 44 years

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Kentucky is starting the season in the Associated Press preseason top 25 for the first time since 1978.

The Cats are ranked 20th, one of six Southeastern Conference teams in the rankings. Kentucky, a 10-game winner last season, hopes to threaten for the SEC East Division title where defending champion Georgia goes in as the favorite.

Alabama was the preseason No. 1 choice. Ohio State (six first-place votes), Georgia (three), Clemson and Notre Dame round out the top five.

Other teams from the SEC who are ranked include Texas A&M (6), Arkansas (19), Kentucky (20) and Ole Miss (21).

Alabama is ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll for the second consecutive season and ninth overall.

The Tide's preseason No. 1 ranking is the seventh in 15 years under coach Nick Saban. Since the preseason rankings started in 1950, only Oklahoma with 10 has been No. 1 in the initial poll more often than Alabama.

The Crimson Tide started last season No. 1 and finished ranked No. 2 after losing the national championship game to the Southeastern Conference rival Bulldogs. Saban recently called 2021 a rebuilding season for his Tide dynasty, which has won six national titles over the last 13 years.

Kentucky finished second in the SEC East behind Georgia last season.

The Cats were ranked No. 21 in the USA Today coaches preseason poll. Kentucky opens the season Sept. 3 against Miami of Ohio at Kroger Field.

AP Top 25 preseason

1. Alabama

2. Ohio State

3. Georgia

4. Clemson

5. Notre Dame

6. Texas A&M

7. Utah

8. Michigan

9. Oklahoma

10. Baylor

11. Oregon

12. Oklahoma State

13. North Carolina State

14. USC

15. Michigan State

16. Miami (FL)

17. Pittsburgh

18. Wisconsin

19. Arkansas

20. Kentucky

21. Ole Miss

22. Wake Forest

23. Cincinnati

24. Houston

25. BYU

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