__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.
Some stats regarding the D-I preseason poll:
Two schools are ranked higher than they have ever been in the preseason poll since Golf World resumed publishing coaches' polls at the start of the 2001-02 season—California at No. 2 and New Mexico at No. 10.
Alabama (in 2012 and 2013) is the fifth different school to be ranked No. 1 more than once in our preseason polls joining Clemson (2002, 2003), Georgia (2004, 2005), Oklahoma State (2006, 2009, 2010) and UCLA (2008, 2011)
Only four schools have appeared in the top 25 in all 13 of our preseason polls—Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, USC.
Nine different conferences had teams in the top 25, led by seven from the SEC and five from the Pac-12.
The No. 1 ranking in the *Golf World/*Nike Golf 2013-14 preseason men's Division II coaches' poll goes to defending NCAA champion Barry.The Buccaneers earned nine of the 14 available first-place votes after claiming their second national title in school history last May at Hershey (Pa.) CC.
No. 2 in the poll is Nova Southeastern, a semifinalist at last year's NCAA Championship. The Sharks earned the remaining five first-place votes.
Lynn, the NCAA runner-up, claimed the No. 3 spot. Rounding out the top five were Florida Southern and CSU-Monterey Bay, both programs having reached match play at last year's NCAAs.
Transylvania, runner-up a year ago at the NCAA Championship, begins the 2013-14 season as the No. 1 ranked team in the Golf World/Nike golf preseason men's Division III coaches' poll. The Pioneers had three victories a year ago and were one of six different schools to receive a first-place vote, claiming two.
No. 2 in the poll is Oglethorpe, which earned six first-place votes. The Stormy Petrels won seven tournaments last season but missed the cut at the national championship.
Methodist claimed the No. 3 spot, having garnered five first-place votes. Saint John's (Minn.) and Claremont-Mudd Scripps (with one first-place vote) round out the top five. No. 7 Emory earned a first-place vote as did No. 8 Texas-Tyler, the defending D-III NCAA champions.
Defending NAIA champion Oklahoma City starts its title defense as the No. 1 ranked team in the Golf World/Nike Golf 2013-14 preseason men's NAIA coaches' poll. The Stars, NAIA champs three of the last four seasons, claimed all 10 first-place votes after winning the title a year ago by an impressive 28 strokes.
No. 2 in the poll, which appears in the Sept. 2, 2013 issue of Golf World, is Grand View, which finished fourth at the national championship last May.
Texas Wesleyan claimed the No. 3 spot with CSU-San Marcos and Johnson & Wales rounding out the top five.
Defending NJCAA D-I and D-II champions Central Alabama and South Mountain start their title defenses as the No. 1 ranked teams in the Golf World/Nike Golf 2013-14 preseason men's NJCAA coaches' polls. Central Alabama earned seven of the nine available first-place votes in the Division I poll with No. 2 Odessa got the remaining two. South Mountain claimed seven of the eight available first-place votes in the Division II poll, with No. 2 Walters State garnering the remaining vote.