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)
Why too low: The All-Big 12 QB (Brandon Weeden), Biletnikoff Award winner (Justin Blackmon) and entire line return for an offense that averaged 44 points a game.
Why too high: The conductor (Dana Holgorsen) of that offense has bolted, and the defensive front has some big holes to fill.
7. Boise State (12-1)
Why too low: QB Kellen Moore and RB Doug Martin will spearhead what should be another high-scoring offense. The defense also will have seven starters back.
Why too high: Leading receivers Austin Pettis and Titus Young, along with Moore, the heartbeat of the Boise offense, are gone.
8. Ohio State (12-1)
Why too low: QB Terrelle Pryor and others will be suspended for the first five games, but if the Buckeyes can survive those, look out. The defense should be stout again, and, eventually, nine starters will be back on offense.
Why too high: While Pryor is out, Ohio State will have a tough time beating both Miami and Michigan State, especially considering several key defensive stars like cornerback Chimdi Chekwa and end Cameron Heyward are gone.
9. Arkansas (10-3)
Why too low: QB Tyler Wilson showed in a loss at Auburn he can throw the ball around, too, and the Razorbacks showed in the second half of the Sugar Bowl they can play defense. Tailback Knile Davis gives the Hogs some balance, too.
Why too high: QB Ryan Mallett will be missed. So will Mackey Award winner D.J. Williams.
10. South Carolina (9-5)
Why too low: In tailback Marcus Lattimore and receiver Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina will have the offensive firepower to repeat as SEC East champs.
Why too high: The Gamecocks were exposed by Auburn and Florida State their last two games. QB play has been mediocre, and with the same guys back, it doesn't figure to get much better.
The rest of the Top 25
11. Florida State (10-4)
12. Wisconsin (11-2)
13. TCU (13-0)
14. Texas A&M (9-4)
15. Auburn (14-0)
16. Michigan State (11-2)
17. Mississippi State (9-4)
18. Notre Dame (8-5)
19. Missouri (10-3)
20. Florida (8-5)
21. Nebraska (10-4)
22. Virginia Tech (11-3)
23. West Virginia (9-4)
24. Georgia (6-7)
25. Arizona State (6-6)