Rivals.com Preseason Top 50: No. 1-No. 25

Rivals.com is counting down our Preseason Top 50 with one in-depth preview per day. We will track the list here but don't forget to check out the full report on each team as they are released by clicking on the links in each item.

Here is the Rivals.com Preseason Top 50 as of today.

Rivals.com preseason top 50
1. Southern California
Clearly the dominant program of the decade, Southern California is the popular preseason choice to emerge as national champion. The Trojans have played for the national championship in two of the last three seasons, and anything short of the championship game this year would be a bitter disappointment. The Trojans must survive a treacherous road schedule which takes them to Nebraska, Oregon, California and Notre Dame. Even with a stumble or two, USC will be an attractive choice for a BCS bowl. However, the Trojans have higher aspirations than that. [ In-Depth Preview ]

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2. West Virginia
With a pair of Heisman Trophy contenders back, West Virginia is set to take its potent rushing attack to new heights. Steve Slaton is one of the most explosive runners in the country but has to share the action with quarterback Pat White. The Mountaineers have defeated the SEC champion and the ACC runner-up in bowl games the past two seasons, but they have their eyes set on a bigger prize - the national championship. [ In-Depth Preview ]

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3. LSU
Few teams can lose four players to the first round of the NFL Draft and still have enough talent to be a national title contender. But if Matt Flynn can follow up his 2005 Peach Bowl performance with a full season of production, LSU will be right in the mix. [ In-Depth Preview ]
Rivals Radio: Mike Scarborough of TigerBait.com previews LSU

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4. Michigan
Michigan has many of the pieces needed for a national title contender: Experienced quarterback. Big-time running back and receiver. Dominant left tackle. There are some questions on defense, but the talent is there and the Wolverines must be taken seriously. [ In-Depth Preview ]
Rivals Radio: Chris Balas of TheWolverine.com previews Michigan

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5. Florida
In 2006, Florida went from SEC darkhorse to decisive national champion. Florida has a new quarterback in Tim Tebow and only two starters returning from its dominant defense. Still, the Gators come in at No. 5 on the Rivals.com Top 50. Urban Meyer's new challenge is how to keep them on top in the tough SEC. [ In-Depth Preview ]
Rivals Radio: Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel previews Florida

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6. Texas
Texas and Oklahoma appear so evenly matched that you might as well flip a coin to determine the Big 12 South Division favorite, but the Longhorns' stability at the quarterback position gives them the edge. Texas may have too many questions on defense to make a serious run for the national title, but we still believe the Longhorns are talented enough to go 12-2 with a Big 12 championship and a Fiesta Bowl berth. [ In-Depth Preview ]
Rivals Radio: Geoff Ketchum of OrangeBloods.com previews Texas

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7. Louisville
The Cardinals have reached a bowl game every year since 1998, but anything short of a BCS game --- preferably the big one in New Orleans for the national championship --- translates to disappointment. That goal is dependent on a November stretch in which the Cardinals travel to West Virginia for a Thursday night game on Nov. 8, head to South Florida the following week and then play host to Rutgers in the regular-season finale. Kentucky and North Carolina State are possible traps earlier in the season, but November remains the key to the Cardinals' season. [ In-Depth Preview ]
Rivals Radio: Howie Lindsey of CardinalSports.com previews Louisville

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8. Wisconsin
The Badgers missed out on a BCS Bowl last year because of a weak schedule and bids already taken by Ohio State and Michigan. The Badgers will get a chance to prove they belong in a major bowl on the field this year with back-to-back games at Ohio State and at home against Michigan in November to go with a road trip to Penn State earlier in the season. Wisconsin has the potential to return to a BCS bowl game. The question is whether it's as an at-large or as the Big Ten champion. [ In-Depth Preview ]
Rivals Radio: Mike Lucas of the Badger Radio Network previews Wisconsin

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9. Oklahoma
Oklahoma has so much talent on offense and in the secondary that the Sooners would rank among the favorites to win the national title if they had a standout quarterback. Oklahoma overcame instability at the quarterback position to win the Big 12 title last year, but we're forecasting a second-place finish in the Big 12 South this year. [ In-Depth Preview ]
Rivals Radio: Carey Murdock of SoonerScoop.com previews Oklahoma

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10. Ohio State
The Buckeyes schedule is perfect for a rebuilding offense. They open with Division I-AA Youngstown State, and only one (Purdue) of their next seven opponents is coming off a winning season. By the time they play at Penn State on Oct. 27, someone should have settled in at QB and the Buckeyes will be primed for a difficult final month. Count on them to again contend for the Big Ten championship, but they'll likely finish in the Citrus or Outback bowl. [ In-Depth Preview ]
Rivals Radio: Kevin Noon of BuckeyeGrove.com previews Ohio State
Rivals Radio: Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis joins Bill King
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11. Virginia Tech
The Hokies will play the season with heavy hearts following the shootings that claimed 33 lives in April. The team will have the weight of the school on its shoulders this fall. On top of that, Virginia Tech has the added pressure of being a national title contender. The Hokies will find out in a hurry if they are up to the task with a Sept. 8 trip to Baton Rouge, La., to face SEC-favorite LSU. [ In-Depth Preview ]
Rivals Radio: Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster
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12. Auburn
Auburn was billed as a national title contender last year and instead settled for an 11-2 record with a Cotton Bowl title. This year's team doesn't have to deal with those types of preseason expectations. Nobody's expecting a national championship from a team that must travel to Florida, Arkansas, LSU and Georgia with four new starters on its offensive line. [ In-Depth Preview ]
Rivals Radio: Bryan Matthews of AuburnSports.com previews Auburn
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13. California
Not since the 1959 Rose Bowl have the Cal Bears played in a major bowl game, but they have a shot this season if the defense comes together. In the first month of the season, they have the opportunity to avenge two of last season's losses. Tennessee and Arizona come to Berkeley in 2007. USC also must visit in November. [ In-Depth Preview ]
Rivals Radio: A.W. Prince of BearTerritory.net previews Cal
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14. Georgia
Georgia has won the SEC East in three of the last five seasons and could do so again in 2007. Quarterback Matt Stafford is an up-and-coming star in the SEC, and the run game has potential to improve. The defense, though, could have its fair share of growing pains with eight starters to replace. [ In-Depth Preview ]
Rivals Radio: Steve Patterson of UGASports.com previews Georgia
Rivals Radio: Georgia team preview with junior WR Mohamed Massaquoi
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15. Penn State
The Penn State offense returns three offensive line starters, a top-flight receiving unit and a talented tight end. But can Anthony Morelli play to his potential and lead the offense to complement what should be one of the best defenses in the country. [ In-Depth Preview ]
Rivals Radio: Jeff Rice of the Centre Daily Times previews Penn State
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16. Boston College
If the recipe for success is a great quarterback and a great defense, consider Boston College in good hands. B.C. returns 2006 All-ACC quarterback Matt Ryan to give the Eagles the best signal-caller in the ACC. On the other side of the ball, B.C. is suiting up what many believe is one of its best defenses ever led by Jolonn Dunbar and Brian Toal. [ In-Depth Preview ]
Rivals Radio: Michael Vega of The Boston Globe previews Boston College
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17. Tennessee
Tennessee fans are hungry to return to an elite level on the national scene. The road is not easy, with trips to Cal, Florida and Alabama. The SEC East is wide open, and Tennessee has as good a chance as anyone to make the conference title game. However, Tennessee is a better bet to make the Capital One, Outback or Chick-fil-A bowls. [ In-Depth Preview ]
Rivals Radio: Brent Hubbs of VolQuest.com previews Tennessee
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18. Nebraska
The Cornhuskers ought to enter the season as favorites to repeat as Big 12 North Division champions, but there are some question marks because of off-the-field issues for Maurice Purify and health issues for Zack Bowman. Still, new quarterback Sam Keller should be a perfect fit in Bill Callahan's offense. [ In-Depth Preview ]
Rivals Radio: Sean Callahan of HuskersIllustrated.com previews Nebraska
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19. Rutgers
Rutgers will not sneak up on anyone this season, not with an 11-win 2006 in the bank and Heisman contender Ray Rice in the backfield. But don't expect the Scarlett Knights to fall very far, because the talent is there and the schedule is favorable with Big East championship contenders South Florida and West Virginia coming to Piscataway. [ In-Depth Preview ]
Rivals Radio: Tom Luicci of the Newark Star-Ledger previews Rutgers
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20. Miami
The last time the Hurricanes broke in a new coach, they won the national title. Miami has a lot of the pieces in place for another return to glory: Dominating defense. Weapons in the backfield. Experienced O-line. But will it be Kyle Wright or Kirby Freeman at quarterback? No one knows yet, and what's worse is it's not a friendly rivalry. [ In-Depth Preview ]
Rivals Radio: Gary Ferman of CaneSports.com previews Miami
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21. Hawaii
Hawaii's easy schedule it includes only one game against a team from a BCS conference - is a bit of a double-edged sword for the Warriors. Hawaii should be favored in every game it plays this year and ought to go undefeated if it can beat Boise State at home. But an undefeated record against a schedule this soft might not be enough to land Hawaii a BCS appearance. [ In-Depth Preview ]
Rivals Radio: Stephen Tsai of the Honalulu Advertiser previews Hawaii
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22. Texas A&M
This is the best team Franchione has had at Texas A&M, but it's also facing probably the most difficult schedule. In another year, the Aggies might be favored to win the Big 12 South, but this year they could be significantly better without improving last year's win total. The most probable scenario is another good year that finishes in a lower-tier bowl game. But this year the Aggies win the postseason game. [ In-Depth Preview ]
Rivals Radio: Brian Perroni of AggieYell.com previews Texas A&M
MORE: Top 10 players | Offense | Defense | Coaching | Schedule
23. Florida State
After three seasons with single-digit wins, Florida State is hungry to return to the nation's elite or the ACC elite for that matter. A major part of Florida State's season will depend on the new staff getting the offense to play to its potential. With only five home games, a return to a BCS bowl might be aiming a little high, but the Seminoles should improve over last year's 7-6 record. [ In-Depth Preview ]
Rivals Radio: Bob Thomas of the Florida Times-Union previews Florida State
MORE: Top 10 players | Offense | Defense | Coaching | Schedule
24. Arkansas
Arkansas' combination of talent on the field and headaches off the field make the Razorbacks one of the nation's toughest teams to predict. An easy non-conference schedule assures Arkansas will at least reach the bowl, but road games with Alabama, Tennessee and LSU should prevent the Razorbacks from repeating as SEC Western Division champions. [ In-Depth Preview ]
Rivals Radio: Trey Biddy of HawgSports.com previews Arkansas
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25. UCLA
The volume of returning starters fosters feelings of great optimism in Westwood. So does a schedule which brings opponents BYU, Washington, Notre Dame, California, Arizona State and Oregon to the Rose Bowl. If injuries are avoided and quarterback Ben Olson plays to his ability, UCLA could duplicate its 10-victory season of 2005. However, with a trying non-conference schedule and an improving Pac-10, eight victories would seem a better bet. [ In-Depth Preview ]
Rivals Radio: Rick Kimbrel of BruinBlitz.com previews UCLA
MORE: Top 10 players | Offense | Defense | Coaching | Schedule

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