Florida downplaying the preseason hype

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It’s already basketball season in Gainesville. The football team is faltering (well, for Florida football, anyway) and SEC writers picked Billy Donovan’s team to win the SEC this season.

And it’s not even close. Florida returns all five starters from a 21-13 team and added highly touted prospect Patric Young. Guard Kenny Boynton and forward Chandler Parsons both snagged preseason All-SEC honors.

I’m already on the Gators train – they’re No. 9 in our preseason rankings – but considering they received four times as many first-place votes as Kentucky, everyone else is too.

Everyone except the players. From Gatorsports.com:

“We understand, if we’re picked first we’re going to have a bull’s-eye on our back and we’re going to have everyone’s best games,” Parsons said shortly before the poll was released. “Picked first or picked last, we’re still going to compete hard and try to get better every day.”

Added senior center Vernon Macklin, one of UF’s five returning starters: “At the end of day you can be placed wherever you want to be placed, but if you don’t produce, you’re going to go right to the bottom. So we have to go out there and keep fighting every day in practice.”

Those Florida guys aren’t stupid. Kentucky’s got enough talent to win the SEC again, Georgia has the top player in forward Trey Thompkins and Tennessee NCAA-caliber again.

The team that wins the SEC East is probably headed for a No. 1 or 2 seed in the Big Dance.

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.