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Sportsline's Preseason Top 25


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As compiled by Dennis Dodd:


1. Oklahoma

Five senior starters who have national championship rings. There are four sophomores who started as freshmen. After tripping up against Oklahoma State, the Sooners are ready to restart their engines.


2. Texas

The 'Horns set a school scoring record last year and has most of the skill players returning.


3. Miami

Only a monster schedule can keep the Hurricanes from repeating.


4. Tennessee

At least Tennessee isn't over confident.


"Anything less than the national championship this year is unacceptable," said quarterback Casey Clausen.


5. Florida State

All you need to know is that receivers Anquan Boldin and Robert Morgan are back healthy from injuries. The attack is back.


6. Georgia

Nineteen years and counting since the Bulldogs' last SEC title.


7. Washington State

Coogs hiding out in Pullman with the Pac-10's best quarterback and schedule. Jason Gesser gets USC, Oregon and Washington at home.


8. Colorado

The Buffs actually get better after losing their starting quarterback. Bobby Pesavento is replaced by former starter Craig Ochs.


9. Washington

Contention for the Pac-10 title is a given. The Huskies have won 14 in a row at home and have seven games at Husky Stadium in 2002.


10. Ohio State

Ten starters have left, but coach Jim Tressel landed the Big Ten's top recruiting class. Plus, there is something special about these Buckeyes. Call it destiny and lack of faith in Michigan.


11. Florida

Ron Zook can't help but win nine games in his first season, but will it be enough for the discerning Gators fans?


12. Michigan

In a league that plays little defense, Michigan faces some significant problems. The Wolverines defense allowed opponents to outrush the Michigan offense in four of the last five games.


13. Louisville

The Cardinals are the best non-BCS program this season. Can they break through to grab a BCS at-large berth?


14. LSU

It's probably too much to expect the Tigers to win the SEC. They are losing a quality quarterback (Rohan Davey), receiver (Josh Reed) and linebacker (Trev Faulk).


15. Marshall

The Herd will be a top 15 team on offense alone. Byron Leftwich leads one of the best offenses in the country. Coach Bob Pruett calls Leftwich the best he has ever seen.


16. Oregon

The Ducks have arrived as one of the nation's top 10 programs. They deserved a shot at the national championship last year. This year they'll get only a shot at the Pac-10 title.


17. Nebraska

The 'Skers got into the Rose Bowl on a technicality. Then Miami exposed some significant speed and talent problems. The future is not bright.


18. USC

They believe in Pete Carroll at USC. After a 1-4 start, the Trojans won five of their last six. Then Carroll landed one of the nation's best recruiting classes.


19. Alabama

How's this for an SEC nightmare? Alabama wins the SEC West and, because of conference bylaws, isn't allowed to play in the SEC title game. Thanks to the NCAA penalties handed down in February, it could happen. The Tide could win a wide-open West.


20. Kansas State

The defense is being hyped as perhaps the best in school history. The offense? Well ...


21. North Carolina State

The first ACC team to win at Florida State is a longshot pick to win the conference. The Seminoles and Yellow Jackets have to come to Raleigh.


22. Texas A&M

The most anonymous team in the Big 12. The defense is Wrecking Crew-quality. The offense will be better. The Ags will win at least eight and will compete for second place in the Big 12 South.


23. Auburn

The SEC West was right there for the Tigers to win last season. The same might be the case this season unless Auburn can recover. The Tigers are still reeling from losses to Alabama, LSU and North Carolina late in the year.


Coach Tommy Tuberville cleaned house, firing both coordinators. Whether he did it of his own free will is in question, but the Tigers hope Bobby Petrino and Gene Chizik will make a difference.


24. Maryland

The Terrapins have go-to players on each side of the line. Running back Bruce Perry is a 1,000-yard rusher. Linebacker E.J. Henderson is a Butkus Award candidate. Now Ralph Friedgen has to find a quarterback.


25. BYU

The Cougars return only 11 starters, but should be 6-1 when they go to Colorado State on Oct. 24.


Quarterback Brandon Doman and running back Luke Staley were replaced adequately by Bret Engemann and Marcus Whalen. Engemann is not as dynamic a thrower as Doman, but redshirted last season just for this occasion. Whalen missed last season with offseason problems and missed the spring with injuries.

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Tennessee lost 3 first round draft picks and a host of other starters including their starting RB and entire defensive line. I think they will be good but not 4th in the Country.

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