AP votes Trojans preseason No. 1

New York, NY (Sports Network) - Defending national champion Southern California earned the top ranking in the Associated Press preseason poll released Saturday. The Trojans, coming off a 12-1 season and a victory in the Rose Bowl, received 48 of 65 first-place votes and 1,603 points.

Southern California has not been a preseason No. 1 since 1979. The Trojans will take a nine-game winning streak into their opening game against Virginia Tech on August 28 in the BCA Football Classic.

LSU is the defending co-national champion, and the Tigers open the season as the AP No. 4. LSU, which defeated Oklahoma in the BCS title game last year at the Sugar Bowl, picked up one first-place vote.

Sandwiched in between the two champs were No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 3 Georgia. The Sooners, who will have Heisman Trophy winner Jason White back under center, earned 11 first-place votes and 1,529 points.

The Bulldogs joined LSU to give the Southeastern Conference two of the top four teams in the country. Georgia received five first-place votes.

Rounding out the top five was Florida State, which will open its season against a familiar geographical rival, but also for the first time a conference rival in No. 6 Miami-Florida. The Hurricanes made a controversial move to the ACC along with Virginia Tech and Boston College in the offseason. FSU and Miami were separated by just four votes in the poll.

Texas checked in at No. 7, while Big Ten rivals Michigan and Ohio State were voted eighth and ninth, respectively. No. 10 was a bit of a surprise with West Virginia getting the nod for the school's best-ever preseason ranking. The Mountaineers, who went 8-5 a year ago, are considered the class of the revamped Big East football conference.

Following West Virginia were Florida, Kansas State, California, Tennessee and Clemson.

Virginia was No. 16, ahead of Auburn, Iowa, Missouri and No. 20 Utah.

The final five teams were Wisconsin, Maryland, Oregon, Purdue and Minnesota. The Golden Gophers made the poll by a 17-vote margin, and were one of six Big Ten squads in the top 25, the most of any conference.

The "others receiving votes" category made some press as well, with traditional powerhouses Nebraska, Notre Dame and Penn State all included. It marks the first time since 1964 that all three failed to crack the top 25.

By The Source
Aug 15, 2004
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