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ESPN Power 16


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ESPN.com's Power 16


For a change, it's not USC on top of the preseason Power 16. Ohio State grabbed the No. 1 ranking, but Troy Smith, Ted Ginn Jr. and the Buckeyes were hardly a unanimous selection. Texas, Notre Dame, Auburn and West Virginia also received first-place votes. The Trojans are just outside the top five at No. 6.

The biggest surprises? Start with Oklahoma at No. 12. The Sooners return RB Adrian Peterson and a strong defense, but the voters obviously felt QB Rhett Bomar's dismissal would dramatically impact OU's title chances. And how about Miami at No. 15? Or Michigan at No. 14? The Canes and Wolverines are accustomed to a loftier status.

From Ohio State to Clemson, the preseason Power 16 teams have one thing in common: question marks.

So let the games -- and problem solving -- begin.

(Editor's note: The records are from last season).

ESPN.com's Power 16 Preseason


1 Ohio State (6) 10-2 242 The Buckeyes are loaded on offense, but will the nine new starters on defense come through?

2 Texas (2) 13-0 213 VY is no longer an option. So is Colt McCoy or Jevan Snead the best quarterback for the Texas offense?

3 Notre Dame (3) 9-3 204 Has the Irish secondary improved enough for the defense to slow down the opposition?

4 Auburn (2) 9-3 201 How will the Tigers' defense adapt to new coordinator Will Muschamp's adjustment-heavy playbook?

5 West Virginia (3) 11-1 193 Will any defense be able to stop sophomores Pat White and Steve Slaton?

6 USC 12-1 184 Is the secondary good enough for the Trojans to make another BCS run?

7 LSU 11-2 136 Should JaMarcus Russell, Matt Flynn or Ryan Perrilloux start at quarterback for the Tigers?

8 Florida State 8-5 127 How good can quarterback Drew Weatherford be for the Seminoles?

9 Florida 9-3 116 Will the talented defensive line be the difference in the Gators' run at the SEC title?

10 California 8-4 99 Will the Bears' QBs succeed in new coordinator Mike Dunbar's spread offense?

11 Iowa 7-5 83 Can the Hawkeyes adequately replace two veteran linebackers and cornerbacks?

12 Oklahoma 8-4 77 Do the Sooners' national-title hopes rest on the shoulder pads of QB Paul Thompson?

13 Louisville 9-3 67 Do the Cardinals have the defense to make a run at a BCS bowl game?

14 Michigan 7-5 65 Can QB Chad Henne, RB Mike Hart and a talented group of wideouts spark a Wolverines revival?

15 Miami (FL) 9-3 50 Can the Hurricanes' offensive line adequately protect quarterback Kyle Wright?

16 Clemson 8-4 39 Do the Tigers have the defensive backs to win the ACC title?

Others receiving votes: Georgia 26, Oregon 15, Virginia Tech 12, Penn State 10, Arizona State 6, TCU 4, Nebraska 3, Alabama 2 and Tennessee 1.

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