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Top teams in preseason college football poll already feel the injury bug's sting

By John Rohde Published: August 14, 2008
Sports are an uncontrollable combination of survival and good fortune.

A big reason why Oklahoma won the 2000 national title in football was the good fortune of no major injuries the entire season.

Almost every top 10 team in this year's USA Today preseason poll has been bitten by injuries and/or disciplinary issues, and some severely. The season is still two weeks away from starting, and the race to survive already has begun:

1. Georgia: Starting sophomore left tackle Trinton Sturdivant will need a full year of rehab with multiple ligament injuries to his left knee. Senior safety Makari Pugh has a sprained left ankle and is out two weeks. Junior safety Donovan Baldwin, sophomore guard Clint Boling and sophomore fullback Fred Munzenmaier are suspended for the first and/or second games due to off-field issue. Sophomore defensive end Michael Lemon has been dismissed for the season, but could rejoin he team next year

2. USC: Starting junior quarterback Mark Sanchez suffered a dislocated left kneecap while warming up for practice last Friday. The injury is not as bad as initially feared and he could return in 3-4 weeks. Starting senior left offensive guard Jeff Byers is out with a viral infection. Backup linebackers Luther Brown and Chris Galippo are missing practices due to back injuries

3. Ohio State: Starting junior cornerback Donald Washington and reserve senior safety Jamario O'Neal will each serve two-game suspensions for undisclosed reasons. Junior defensive tackle Doug Worthington has legal issues for speeding and drunk driving and his status is pending. Freshman defensive lineman Willie Mobley will miss the season because of a shoulder injury.

4. Oklahoma: The Sooners temporarily have lost junior defensive end Auston English (appendix) and redshirt freshman linebacker Austin Box (knee) to minor surgeries. English is expected back for the Aug. 30 opener against Tennessee-Chattanooga, and Box should be back the following week against Cincinnati. OU dismissed freshman wide receiver Josh Jarboe after a YouTube transgression. Jarboe had planned on playing at Oklahoma State on Nov.

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