For the first time in the Hugh Freeze era, the Ole Miss Rebels will begin a season ranked in the initial Associated Press poll of the year.

The Rebels come in at No. 18 in the rankings, released Sunday afternoon. They are one of eight SEC teams in the preseason top 25, the most of any conference in the nation. A whopping five teams from the SEC West were listed in the rankings, more than half the division. Ole Miss is fifth among the eight SEC squads in the Top 25.

The Rebels’ spot in the rankings should come as no surprise after they were listed No. 19 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll released earlier this month.

Here is the AP Preseason Top 25 (with SEC teams in bold):

  1. Florida State
  2. Alabama
  3. Oregon
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Ohio State
  6. Auburn
  7. UCLA
  8. Michigan State
  9. South Carolina
  10. Baylor
  11. Stanford
  12. Georgia
  13. LSU
  14. Wisconsin
  15. USC
  16. Clemson
  17. Notre Dame
  18. Ole Miss
  19. Arizona State
  20. Kansas State
  21. Texas A&M
  22. Nebraska
  23. North Carolina
  24. Missouri
  25. Washington