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Preseason AP Poll: UCLA Football Ekes Out Receiving Votes Spot

The Bruins were sporadically present, and not particularly high up, on the first set of ballots turned in by college football's top voters.
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While the Bruins managed to grab a seat at the table for the second of the two major college football polls, the blue and gold are still a long ways away from breaking into the main group of headliners.

UCLA football earned two points in the preseason edition of the AP Poll on Monday, placing them in a four-way tie for No. 43 alongside San Diego State, South Carolina and Utah State. The only team to finish with fewer points than the Bruins was Nebraska, which earned one point.

The preseason USA Today Coaches Poll was released Aug. 8, and UCLA received 10 points to tie for 40th.

Alabama was the runaway favorite at No. 1, while Ohio State and Georgia made up the next tier by splitting the remaining first-place votes. Utah came in as the highest-ranked team in the Pac-12 at No. 7, with Oregon slotting in at No. 11 and USC at No. 14 behind them.

All three ranked schools from the conference finished one spot higher than they did in the Coaches Poll. UCLA was the only Pac-12 school in the receiving votes section.

Unlike the Coaches Poll, the voting results for the AP Poll were made public. The Mercury News' Jon Wilner and The Orange County Register's Adam Grosbard both had UCLA ranked No. 25. The two West Coast, Pac-12-based reporters were the only ones to include the Bruins on their ballots at all.

UCLA was ranked No. 42 in the 2021 preseason poll, which marked the first time they had earned any AP votes during coach Chip Kelly's tenure. The Bruins made a habit of it too, breaking into the top 25 after beating Hawaii and LSU and climbing all the way up to No. 13 in Week 3. UCLA remained in the top 25 until Week 6, when a loss to Arizona State knocked them out, and they never received any votes after getting blown out by Utah at the end of October.

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Returning to the fold with a few lower local votes, the Bruins are back in the conversation heading into 2022, but their upward mobility early on is questionable. UCLA will open the season with nonconference home matchups against Bowling Green, Alabama State and South Alabama, then start conference play against Colorado, which was picked to finish last in the conference's preseason media poll in July.

Based solely on strength of schedule, a 4-0 start may not hold enough weight to vault them into the top 25. UCLA's ensuing showdowns with Washington and Utah will play a large part in where they land in the polls to come.

The full AP Poll is listed below:

1. Alabama, 1566 points (54 first-place votes)
2. Ohio State, 1506 (6)
3. Georgia, 1455 (3)
4. Clemson, 1292
5. Notre Dame, 1242
6. Texas A&M, 1212
7. Utah, 1209
8. Michigan, 1203
9. Oklahoma, 956
10. Baylor, 884
11. Oregon, 859
12. Oklahoma State, 734
13. North Carolina State, 726
14. USC, 711
15. North Carolina State, 602
16. Miami (FL), 450
17. Pittsburgh, 433
18. Wisconsin, 383
19. Arkansas, 381
20. Kentucky, 369
21. Ole Miss, 353
22. Wake Forest, 339
23. Cincinnati, 334
24. Houston, 327
25. BYU, 257

Others Receiving Votes: Tennessee 180, Texas 164, Iowa 163, Penn State 160, LSU 55, Fresno State 32, Minnesota 31, UCF 27, Purdue 17, Mississippi State 15, Auburn 15, Kansas State 14, Florida 14, North Carolina 9, Boise State 5, Air Force 4, Appalachian State 4, UCLA 2, San Diego State 2, South Carolina 2, Utah State 2, Nebraska 1

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