By Ryan Herrington
Defending NCAA champion Alabama starts its title defense as the No. 1 ranked team in the Golf World
/Nike Golf 2013-14 preseason men's Division I coaches' poll. The Crimson Tide claimed the school's first national championship in any men's sport outside of football last June when they defeated Illinois in the championship match at Capital City Club's Crabapple Course.
Three of the five starters (Cory Whitsett
, Bobby Wyatt
and Trey Mullinax
) from that squad, which won its last six tournaments, return, as Alabama earned 10 of the available 20 first-place votes to claim the top spot in the preseason poll for the second consecutive year.
No. 2 in the poll is California, a semifinalist at last year's NCAA Championship and winners of 11 tournament titles in 2012-13. The Golden Bears earned nine first-place votes and are led by college player of the year Michael Kim
as well as fellow U.S. Walker Cup player Michael Weaver
and All-Americans Brandon Hagy
and Joel Stalter
Texas claimed the No. 3 spot, earning the remaining first place vote. The Longhorns reach match played at last year's NCAAs and have talented freshmen Beau Hossler
and Gavin Hall
ready to jump into the lineup.
Rounding out the top five are Georgia Tech and Washington.