Starting Where They Left Off

By the time the University of Miami football team finished practice Saturday afternoon at Greentree Field they were in a very familiar position- the same one they were in after defeating Nebraska in the Rose Bowl last January.

On top.

Thanks to 27 first-place votes and 1,746 points, the Hurricanes occupy the No. 1 ranking in the preseason Associated Press Poll, released earlier today, marking the first time since 1992 they have received that honor. Miami was also an AP preseason No. 1 in 1990.

Last season, the University of Florida was the AP's preseason No. 1 selection, but the Gators fell out of the top spot three weeks later and were not ranked higher than second the rest of the season. Florida finished the season No. 3.

So, the view is nice at this stage, but Miami head coach Larry Coker knows there are no guarantees this early in the proceedings.

"It certainly is something that people around the country think so highly of us," said Coker. "But it really doesn't mean anymore than it did last year. It doesn't have anymore incentive and I think the players understand that. We're are working out here to be No. 1 in the last poll of the season."

Canes starting center Brett Romberg said that he didn't even know that the Hurricanes had been voted No. 1 in the preseason USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll last week. And that wasn't aware that the AP was coming out with a poll today.

Nonetheless when told UM was picked No. 1, Romberg said the Hurricanes will have a little more incentive by the time they play their season-opener against Florida A&M.

"Everybody is gunning for you when you're No. 1. So, staying at the top of the mountain is difficult to hold up," said Romberg. "As long as we're in the top five we have a shot no matter what happens."

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