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BC, USC close to renewing football ties
1. Southern California (11-2)
Points: 1,481 (45 first-place votes). Previous ranking: 4. Outlook: The Trojans came close to playing for the national title for a fourth consecutive season last year. This has been the premier program this decade. With QB John David Booty back along with defense that boasts LB Keith Rivers and DT Sedrick Ellis, it's the team to beat. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. Idaho (FSN, 10:15). Key games are USC Vs Notre Dame 10/20/07 and USC Vs Ucla.
2. LSU (11-2)
Points: 1,372 (4). Previous ranking: 3. Outlook: The last time the BCS title game was in New Orleans, the Tigers won in front of tens of thousands of their fans. QB JaMarcus Russell must be replaced — by Matt Flynn and/or Ryan Perrilloux — but there are 16 starters back from last season's Sugar Bowl winner. Opens: Aug. 30 at Mississippi State (ESPN, 8).
3. Florida (13-1)
Points: 1,278 (9). Previous ranking: 1. Outlook: It's QB Tim Tebow's team now, but defending national champion has serious retooling to do on the defensive side. WR Percy Harvin could get more work on the ground with the tailback situation in flux. The Gators play Tennessee and Auburn at home and travel to LSU in their first six weeks. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. Western Kentucky. Key game for the Florida Gators is Gators vs Vols Sept 15th.
4. Texas (10-3)
Points: 1,231. Previous ranking: 13. Outlook: Second-year QB Colt McCoy and deep, experienced receivers make the Longhorns again a team to watch in the Big 12. T Frank Okam leads charge up front on defense, but the secondary needs to be retooled. The 'Horns have only two games in Austin after September. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. Arkansas State.
5. Michigan (11-2)
Points: 1,218 (2). Previous ranking: 9. Outlook: Consecutive losses to end last season should make the Michigan Wolverines hungry. QB Chad Henne and TB Mike Hart are two of best. The defense, exposed in late-season defeats, must be solidified. The season closes with back-to-back showdowns against Wisconsin and Ohio State. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. Appalachian State.
6. West Virginia (11-2)
Points: 1,205. Previous ranking: 10. Outlook: With two Heisman Trophy candidates — QB Pat White and RB Steve Slaton — in the backfield, the Mountaineers' offensive juggernaut should keep rolling. Defensive improvement is needed, however, especially if WVU expects to topple defending Big East champ Louisville. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. Western Michigan.
7. Wisconsin (12-1)
Points: 1,114. Previous ranking: 5. Outlook: Tyler Donovan, who spelled John Stocco last season, could be the answer at quarterback. Elsewhere there are few questions as the Badgers return 16 starters from last year's Capital One Bowl champs, including TB P.J. Hill. The season could come down to back-to-back games in early November against Ohio State and Michigan. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. Washington State (ABC, 3:30).
8. Oklahoma (11-3)
Points: 1,026. Previous ranking: 11. Outlook: Defending Big 12 champ must settle on a quarterback and retool its defensive front. Allen Patrick, Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray provide a wealth of talent at running back. CB Reggie Smith is one to watch in the secondary. An early October clash with Texas looks like the primary roadblock to a possible run at New Orleans. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. North Texas (FSN, 7).
9. Virginia Tech (10-3)
Points: 1,005. Previous ranking: 18. Outlook: Virgina Hokies feature a stout defense, led by LBs Vince Hall and Xavier Adibi. More consistency from QB Sean Glennon could help push Tech to top of the Atlantic Coast Conference. A trip to LSU in the second week of the season could tell a lot. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. East Carolina (ESPN, noon).
10. Ohio State (12-1)
Points: 919. Previous ranking: 2. Outlook: Only 10 starters return from the team that lost to Florida in BCS title game. Most of the offensive difference-makers, including Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith, are gone. Chris Wells will be running behind a line featuring OTs Kirk Barton and Alex Boone. LB James Laurinaitis paces the defense. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. Youngstown State.
11. Louisville (12-1)
Points: 836. Previous ranking: 7. Outlook: Defending Big East and Orange Bowl champ must get used to new coach Steve Kragthorpe, but standout QB Brian Brohm returns with an impressive group of receivers. Cardinals missed out on a BCS title-game appearance after a last-minute loss at Rutgers. The November schedule features three in row against West Virginia, South Florida and Scarlet Knights. Opens: Aug. 30 vs. Murray State (ESPNU, 7:30).
12. California (10-3)
Points: 763. Previous ranking: 14. Outlook: With QB Nate Longshore throwing to standout WR DeSean Jackson, and LB Zack Follett patrolling defense, the Bears could be primed for a BCS breakthrough. A reworked defensive front could be key. Cal gets Tennessee and Southern California at home and travels to UCLA. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. No. 15 Tennessee (ABC, 8 ET).
13. Georgia (9-4)
Points: 604. Previous ranking: not ranked. Outlook: Solid finish to last season and continued development of QB Matthew Stafford has given Bulldogs fans hope for '07. There's a lot of retooling to do along the defensive front seven. The secondary also took a hit when CB Paul Oliver was lost to academics. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. Oklahoma State (ESPN2, 6:45 p.m. ET).
14. Auburn (11-2)
Points: 595. Previous ranking: 8. Outlook: QB Brandon Cox is back, but the Tigers face a big rebuilding job across the offensive line other than King Dunlap returning at tackle. The defensive line should be solid behind E Quentin Groves. Tigers have road trips to Florida, Arkansas, LSU and Georgia. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. Kansas State (ESPN, 7:45 ET).
15. Tennessee (9-4)
Points: 583. Previous ranking: 23. Outlook: The Vols bounced back from poor 2005, and with veteran QB Erik Ainge returning, there's hope for a return to top of the Southeastern Conference. LB Jerod Mayo spearheads the defense, but the secondary has questions. September trips to California and Florida leave little breathing room. Opens: Sept. 1 at No. 12 California (ABC, 8).
16. Rutgers (11-2)
Points: 466. Previous ranking: 12. Outlook: Standout RB Ray Rice returns as the Knights try to sustain success and reach the top of the Big East. RU seeks more consistency from QB Mike Teel. DT Eric Foster and FS Courtney Greene pace the defense, and Jeremy Ito is a leading kicker. The league title could be on the line at Louisville in the finale. Opens: Aug. 30 vs. Buffalo.
17. UCLA (7-6)
Points: 454. Previous ranking: not ranked. Outlook: The upset of Southern California, which kept the Trojans out of the BCS title game last season, could be an indication of what's to come. Almost every key performer returns, including Ben Olson and Patrick Cowan, who shared the quarterback job. Standout E Bruce Davis helps pace a defense that should be one of Pacific-10's best. Opens: Sept. 1 at Stanford (FSN, 3:30).
18. Penn State (9-4)
Points: 440. Previous ranking: 25. Outlook: Veteran QB Anthony Morelli will have a standout group of receivers, including Derrick Williams and Deon Butler. LB Dan Connor heads a revamped defensive front seven and the secondary looks solid, paced by CB Justin King. The Lions get Notre Dame and Michigan in the first four weeks. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. Florida International.
19. Nebraska (9-5)
Points: 388. Previous ranking: not ranked. Outlook: The Big 12 North title meant a trip to the Cotton Bowl as the Cornhuskers continued to improve. QB Sam Keller, a heralded Arizona State transfer, is expected to replace Zac Taylor. I-back Marlon Lucky could be ready to blossom. LB Bo Ruud is back, but the defensive line needs to be reworked. The schedule includes Wake Forest, Southern California, Texas and Texas A&M. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. Nevada (ABC, 3:30).
20. Arkansas (10-4)
Points: 360. Previous ranking: 16. Outlook: After an offseason filled with transfers and distractions, the Razorbacks hope Heisman runner-up Darren McFadden can help carry them in the SEC as he eyes a return trip to New York in December. Felix Jones, their other running back, is also solid. Casey Dick returns at quarterback. Two of their last three games are at Tennessee and LSU. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. Troy.
21. Florida State (7-6)
Points: 301. Previous ranking: not ranked. Outlook: After 26 losses in the last six years, FSU fans are interested in seeing new coordinator Jimbo Fisher's offense. Key will be more consistency from QB Drew Weatherford. S Myron Rolle and CB Tony Carter pace an experienced secondary. The Seminoles have five home games. Opens: Sept. 3 at Clemson (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET).
22. TCU (11-2)
Points: 233. Previous ranking: 21. Outlook: Hoping for a BCS breakthrough, the Horned Frogs feature one of stingier, more experienced defenses, paced by Es Chase Ortiz and Tommy Blake. TB Aaron Brown leads the ground game. A Sept. 8 trip to Texas is key. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. Baylor (CSTV, 6)
23. Boise State (13-0)
Points: 222. Previous ranking: 6. Outlook: The Broncos were only undefeated team standing after a thrilling Fiesta Bowl, but many key offensive stars, including QB Jared Zabransky, have departed. They must settle on a quarterback (Bush Hamdan or Taylor Tharp?) and hope RB Ian Johnson continues to shine. Their schedule includes trips to Washington, Fresno State and Hawaii. Opens: Aug. 30 vs. Weber State.
24. Hawaii (11-3)
Points: 214. Previous ranking: 24. Outlook: Can a quarterback from the Western Athletic Conference win the Heisman? Statistical marvel Colt Brennan will give it a shot, passing to veteran receivers, as the Warriors try to end Boise State's league reign. The Broncos visit in late November when first place could be on line. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. Northern Colorado.
25. Texas A&M (9-4)
Points: 209. Previous ranking: not ranked. Outlook: Three of the Aggies' losses were by four or fewer points, but with trips to Miami (Fla.), Texas Tech, Nebraska and Oklahoma, QB Stephen McGee and company face a challenge. RBs Jorvorskie Lane and Mike Goodson are back to carry the load. T Red Bryant and E Chris Harrington spur a defensive charge. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. Montana State.
Others receiving votes: Boston College (10-3) 150, Georgia Tech (9-5) 150, Miami (Fla.) (7-6) 91, Notre Dame (10-3) 90, South Carolina (8-5) 90, Wake Forest (11-3) 71, Missouri (8-5) 58, Oregon State (10-4) 52, Brigham Young (11-2) 47, Clemson (8-5) 30, Oregon (7-6) 30, South Florida (9-4) 26, Texas Tech (8-5) 20, Alabama (6-7) 16, Oklahoma State (7-6) 15, Southern Mississippi (9-5) 14, Iowa (6-7) 12, Kansas State (7-6) 8, Memphis (2-10) 5, Houston (10-4) 4, Arizona (6-6) 1, Duke (0-12) 1, Kentucky (8-5) 1, Washington State (6-6) 1.
USC FOOTBALL NEWS
Just their luck, Irish welcome Trojans to South Bend (WHP CBS 21 Harrisburg) What was considered a premier matchup a couple of seasons ago, has lost some of its luster in 2007, as the 13th- ranked USC Trojans make the trip to South...
Just their luck, Irish welcome Trojans to South Bend (The Kansas City Star) What was considered a premier matchup a couple of seasons ago, has lost some of its luster in 2007, as the 13th- ranked USC Trojans make the trip to South Bend this weekend to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Against USC, Irish Have the History, and That's All (The New York Sun) The good news for Notre Dame is that while Southern Cal could wipe the Irish out at South Bend this Saturday, they will still be leading the Trojans in their 77-year series. In fact, Notre Dame (who are underdogs by three touchdown) could get clobbered every year until 2018 and still be ahead. The bad news is that this is what's likely to happen. Notre Dame–USC was, for more than 60 years, the ...
Just their luck, Irish welcome Trojans to South Bend (The Sports Network) Just their luck, Irish welcome Trojans to South Bend
USC Football Notebook: Former Trojan Coleman wants to return (Daily Breeze) Tailback is enrolled at Riverside Community College and would need to improve his grades to even be considered for re-admission.
USC injuries (CBS Sportsline) USC coach Pete Carroll is uncertain about the availability of several players for Saturday's game against Notre Dame.
Can USC Get Back Into The BCS Race? PAC Report (CBS 2 Los Angeles) There isn’t a satisfied Trojan fan on the planet at this moment. They came very close to losing to another lower tier Pac-10 school on Saturday in Arizona. Now they face a tremendous uphill climb up the BCS rankings if they want to make it to New Orleans.The Trojans are ranked 14th in the latest standings. A road they are not used to taking, but doing the math, it’s still manageable for USC to ...
Commentary: It's on Carroll to fix struggling Trojans (Daily Breeze) USC has been consistently inconsistent and finding their way back from that falls to the head coach.
College football: USC struggles to earn victory over Arizona (Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune) LOS ANGELES - Southern California got back to winning, but it was a struggle all the way. Highly touted freshman Joe McKnight gave the Trojans the big plays they desperately needed, Mark Sanchez threw his first career touchdown pass, and No. 10 USC rallied to beat Arizona 20-13 Saturday. Sanchez, a third-year sophomore making his first start, threw a 25-yard scoring pass to Fred Davis with 10:47 ...
FBS College Football - Week 8 Predictions (The Sports Network) FBS College Football - Week 8 Predictions