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The Oklahoman's college football early 2011 preseason Top 25

By Jake Trotter, Staff Writer, Modified: January 15, 2011 at 5:26 pm •  Published: January 15, 2011

1. LSU (2010 record: 11-2)

Why No. 1: Les Miles spurned Michigan for a reason. The Tigers bring back 10 starters on offense and eight on defense off an 11-win team that only lost at national champ Auburn and Arkansas.

Why too high: The three defensive losses are significant, including Thorpe Award winner Patrick Peterson. Plus, the schedule is brutal and QB play remains a question.

2. Oklahoma (12-2)

Why too low: The Sooners finished 2010 on a roll, Landry Jones will have Ryan Broyles to throw to again and the defense returns eight starters.

Why too high: Leading rusher DeMarco Murray is gone, and the offensive line never really overpowered anyone anyway. Special teams haven't been special, either.

3. Alabama (10-3)

Why too low: The defense should be a load, previewed by its 49-7 throttling of Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl. Mark Ingram is entering the draft, but the run game shouldn't miss a beat at tailback with Trent Richardson.

Why too high: The passing game could struggle. The Tide has to replace QB Greg McElroy and WR Julio Jones.

4. Stanford (12-1)

Why too low: Andrew Luck will be the best QB/player in the country, and the defense should be improved.

Why too high: Jim Harbaugh is now coaching the 49ers, and Stanford must also replace three starting offensive linemen and all-world fullback Owen Marecic.

5. Oregon (12-1)

Why too low: The return of QB Darron Thomas and RB LaMichael James means the Ducks will put up the points again.

Why too high: Oregon loses the bulk of its line and receivers. The defense has also been decimated by graduation, though cornerback/return man Cliff Harris returns.

6. Oklahoma State (11-2)

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