Stats & Info: Casey Matthews

Oklahoma tops CFB Live Preseason Poll

April, 22, 2011
4/22/11
4:01
PM ET
All week on College Football Live, we’ve been unveiling our Preseason Top 25. A 38-person panel consisting of our analysts, studio hosts, play-by-play announcers, bloggers, researchers and production team members submitted their votes and here’s our in-depth Top 5.

1. Oklahoma Sooners
With nine starters back on offense including quarterback Landry Jones and AP First-Team All-American receiver Ryan Broyles, simply put, the Sooners are loaded on that side of the ball. Last season, Jones led the Big 12 in passing yards (4,278) and touchdown passes (38). He also holds seven school records. Speaking of school records, Broyles owns 10 Oklahoma receiving marks, setting nine of them last season. With seven starters returning on defense including linebacker Travis Lewis, the Sooners are the early favorite to win not only the Big 12 title but the BCS championship, as well.

2. Alabama Crimson Tide
Even with the departure of quarterback Greg McElroy, 2009 Heisman winner Mark Ingram, receiver Julio Jones and defensive lineman Marcell Dareus, the Crimson Tide should contend for the national championship once again. Junior running back Trent Richardson returns, which is key since Bama will be breaking in a new quarterback in either third-year sophomore A.J. McCarron or redshirt freshman Phillip Sims. Nine starters are back on defense including linebacker Dont’a Hightower and safety Mark Barron.

3. Oregon Ducks
Seven offensive starters are back for the Ducks including quarterback Darron Thomas and Heisman finalist running back LaMichael James. That backfield duo served as the key cog to the Oregon offensive machine that led the bowl subdivision in scoring, averaging 47 points per game last season. The defense loses six starters, among them First-Team All-Pac-10 linebacker Casey Matthews. However, the Ducks should have enough to contend for their third straight conference title in the new Pac-12.

4. LSU Tigers
With nine starters returning on offense and seven on defense, the Tigers look poised for another run at the SEC and national championships. Senior quarterback Jordan Jefferson returns for his third full season as the starter. He’ll need to be more productive than last year when he passed for 1,411 yards, seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions. To help Jefferson infuse life into an offense that finished 11th in the 12-team SEC, LSU hired former Louisville head coach Steve Kragthorpe as its new offensive coordinator. Even with the loss of Thorpe Award-winning cornerback Patrick Peterson, the LSU defense should still give opposing offenses nightmares.

5. Boise State Broncos
The Broncos' offense and defense each have seven starters returning and none bigger than quarterback and 2010 Heisman Trophy finalist Kellen Moore. With the departure of offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin (Texas) and dynamic receivers Austin Pettis and Titus Young, the senior will be relied upon even more to keep the offense in sync. Senior running back Doug Martin, who rushed for 1,260 yards and 12 TDs last season, also returns. Boise State is making the jump from the WAC to the Mountain West this season.

The rest of the top 25:

6. Florida State
7. Stanford
8. South Carolina
9. Oklahoma State
10. Ohio State
11. Texas A&M
12. Arkansas
13. Nebraska
14. Wisconsin
15. TCU
16. Michigan State
17. Notre Dame
18. Florida
19. Virginia Tech
20. Texas
21. Mississippi State
22. Auburn
23. Missouri
24. West Virginia
25. Arizona State

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