Bulldogs open season ranked No. 23 in AP poll

Georgia will start the football season ranked No. 23 in the Associated Press preseason poll.


That's the Bulldogs' lowest preseason position since they were unranked in coach Mark Richt's first season in 2001.

"I'm thankful that we're ranked," Richt said. "I think it's important to be ranked. I hope we play well enough to move up. That's the plan."

The AP poll, which came out on Saturday, has the Bulldogs two spots lower than their No. 21 ranking in the USA Today coaches' poll released earlier this month.

"It really doesn't matter," Georgia running back Washaun Ealey said.

"I don't want anyone to give us anything. I want us to earn everything that we get. However they ranked us, we're just going to go out there and play hard and win games."

Georgia is coming off an 8-5 season and is back in the AP poll for the first time since the Sept. 27 poll of last season.

The SEC has six teams ranked, the most of any conference, including defending national champion Alabama at No. 1.

Four opponents on Georgia's 2010 schedule are ranked: No. 4 Florida, No. 16 Georgia Tech, No. 17 Arkansas and No. 22 Auburn.

It's the first time since 2001 that Georgia Tech begins the season ranked ahead of the Bulldogs in the preseason poll.

Ohio State (No. 2), Boise State (No. 3) and Texas (No. 5) round out the top five.

VIRGINIA TECH: The school has extended the contract of football coach Frank Beamer through the 2016 season.

Beamer's current deal was set to expire at the end of 2012. The extension was announced by the school Saturday.

The 63-year-old Beamer is entering his 24th season with the Hokies. He is second among active coaches behind Penn State's Joe Paterno with 229 career victories.

Under Beamer, the Hokies have had six consecutive 10-win seasons and appeared in a bowl game for 17 consecutive seasons.

COLORADO: Tyler Hansen will start at quarterback for Colorado in its opener against Colorado State on Sept. 4.

The junior beat out Cody Hawkins, coach Dan Hawkins' son.

The coach flip-flopped between the two quarterbacks last season. Hansen started the last seven games but gave way on some series to Cody Hawkins. Hansen completed 56 percent of his throws for 1,440 yards and eight TDs.

NEBRASKA: The usual throng of reporters was back in the Nebraska football complex Saturday, marking an end to coach Bo Pelini 's three-day media lockout.

Pelini banned the media because he disagreed with the way some reporters were reporting a season-ending injury to linebacker Sean Fisher . The third-year coach was livid that reporters called Fisher's parents before he had a chance to speak with them.

Reporters found out about Fisher's injury from an Internet message-board posting by the friend of an assistant coach who attended practice Tuesday. Pelini also banned guests.

- Tight end Dreu Young will undergo back surgery and could be out for the season.

KENTUCKY: Coach Joker Phillips still hasn't picked a starting quarterback 18 practices into the preseason.

The first-year coach reiterated on Saturday after a scrimmage that fifth-year senior Mike Hartline, sophomore Morgan Newton and redshirt freshman Ryan Mossakowski are still competing for the top job.