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Monday, August 8, 2011
ESPN Preseason Power Poll: No. 24 Mizzou

By staff

We'll be rolling out our preseason poll this week with five teams each day, kicking things off today.

Missouri is the first Big 12 team to debut in the poll, checking in at No. 24. Our poll was put together based upon ballots submitted by 25 college football analysts, columnists and reporters, including yours truly.

After our poll is finished this week, I'll unveil my personal top 25 ballot on the blog.

Missouri: Quarterback proficiency has allowed Missouri to surge as one of the nation's most consistent programs. And it has allowed Gary Pinkel to feel a sense of security. Brad Smith was explosive. Chase Daniel was accurate. And Blaine Gabbert was rocket-armed. This season, the Tigers will rely on sophomore James Franklin, a mobile, touch passer whose decision-making and leadership will be tested in early-season road games at Arizona State and Oklahoma. Franklin will lean on slot dynamo T.J. Moe and a defense keyed by bookend pass-rushers Jacquies Smith and Brad Madison, who totaled 13 sacks in 2010. The Tigers have won 40 games in the past four seasons, 10th nationally. But there's no division title for Missouri to chase this year, only the likes of the Sooners in the reconfigured Big 12. -- Joe Schad, ESPN reporter