The Top 25 preseason football coaches poll, with 2007 records in parentheses, total points based on 25 points for first place through one point for 25th, final ranking in last season's poll. Outlook by USA TODAY's Jack Carey:
1. Georgia (11-2)
Points: 1,438 (22 first-place votes). Final 2007 rank: 3. Outlook: This could be the Bulldogs' best team and best chance for a national title since the Herschel Walker era in the early 1980s. QB Matthew Stafford seeks to take the next step in his career, and RB Knowshon Moreno looks like a budding star. The schedule could be difficult, however, with trips to South Carolina, Arizona State, LSU and Auburn, along with the Florida game in Jacksonville. Opens: Aug. 30 vs. Georgia Southern.
2. Southern California (11-2)
Points: 1,430 (14). Final 2007 rank: 2. Outlook: The Trojans have been to six consecutive BCS games but haven't won a national title since 2004. Mark Sanchez takes over at quarterback, and RB Joe McKnight could have a big year. The defense could be outstanding behind LBs Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing. Early season test with Ohio State could define the season. Opens: Aug. 30 at Virginia (ABC, 3:30).
3. Ohio State (11-2)
Points: 1,392 (14). Final 2007 rank: 4. Outlook: Buckeyes have come up short in consecutive national title games, but don't count them out of another. The return of LBs James Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman, CB Malcolm Jenkins, QB Todd Boeckman, RB Chris Wells and WRs Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline makes them solid contenders. Freshman QB Terrelle Pryor could have an early impact. Opens: Aug. 30 vs. Youngstown State.
4. Oklahoma (11-3)
Points: 1,329 (3). Final 2007 rank: 8. Outlook: Sooners won Big 12 but came up short in Fiesta Bowl. They're looking for bigger and better things behind QB Sam Bradford, who led the nation in passing efficiency, RBs DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown, WR Juaquin Iglesias, OL Duke Robinson, DLs Gerald McCoy and DeMarcus Granger and DB Nic Harris. Opens: Aug. 30 vs. Chattanooga.
5. Florida (9-4)
Points: 1,293 (5). Final 2007 rank: 16. Outlook: Heisman Trophy-winning QB Tim Tebow returns for a run at more honors, and the Gators could contend for their second national title in three years behind him and WR-RB Percy Harvin, TE Cornelius Ingram, RB-KR Brandon James, LB Brandon Spikes and DE Jermaine Cunningham. Schedule includes trips to Tennessee and Arkansas. Opens: Aug. 30 vs. Hawaii.
6. LSU (12-2)
Points: 1,163 (3). Final 2007 rank: 1. Outlook: Defending national champ lost stalwarts from the title squad then had Ryan Perrilloux, the heir apparent at quarterback, thrown off the team. Inexperienced Jarrett Lee and Andrew Hatch battle for that spot. WRs Brandon LaFell and Demetrius Byrd return with RB Keiland Williams. Defense should be strong, especially with DEs Kirston Pittman and Tyson Jackson back. Opens: Aug. 30 vs. Appalachian State (ESPN, 5:00).
7. Missouri (12-2)
Points: 1,143. Final 2007 rank: 5. Outlook: A program that could be ready to blossom. Tigers were one win from playing for the national title. They settled for the Cotton Bowl and return 15 starters with some of the nation's prime talent, including standout QB Chase Daniel, WR Jeremy Maclin, TE Chase Coffman, LB Sean Weatherspoon, DB William Moore and K Jeff Wolfert. Opens: Aug. 30 vs. No. 19 Illinois at St. Louis (ESPN, 8:30).
8. West Virginia (11-2)
Points: 1,008. Final 2007 rank: 6. Outlook: Mountaineers lost coach Rich Rodriguez to Michigan and tapped former assistant Bill Stewart as the new head man after winning the Fiesta Bowl. He welcomes back star QB Pat White, RB Noel Devine and a veteran offensive line, led by standout T Ryan Stanchek. Defense lost seven starters, but LB corps appears strong behind Mortty Ivy. Opens: Aug. 30 vs. Villanova.
9. Clemson (9-4)
Points: 999. Final 2007 rank: 22. Outlook: This looks like the best Tigers team coach Tommy Bowden has had. James Davis and C.J. Spiller form a dangerous backfield duo, and QB Cullen Harper led the ACC in passing efficiency. WR Aaron Kelly leads solid receiving corps. Secondary returns all four starters: safeties Michael Hamlin and Chris Clemons and CBs Chris Chancellor and Crezdon Butler. Opens: Aug. 30 vs. Alabama at Atlanta (ABC, 8).
10. Texas (10-3)
Points: 979. Final 2007 rank: 10. Outlook: Veteran QB Colt McCoy hopes to help the Longhorns get to a BCS game for the first time in three years, but they have to overcome the loss of RB Jamaal Charles. Vondrell McGee could step in. Quan Cosby is back at wide receiver. Defense, which welcomes back LB Rashad Bobino among others, needs shoring up under new coordinator Will Muschamp. Longhorns play Oklahoma and Missouri back-to-back in mid-October. Opens: Aug. 30 vs. Florida Atlantic.
11. Auburn (9-4)
Points: 888. Final 2007 rank: 14 (tie). Outlook: New offensive coordinator Tony Franklin is bringing in a spread offense that should suit QBs Kodi Burns and junior college transfer Chris Todd. RBs Ben Tate and Brad Lester also return. DLs Antonio Coleman and Sen'Derrick Marks are keys on defense along with CB Jerraud Powers. Tigers get LSU, Tennessee, Arkansas and Georgia at home. Opens: Aug. 30 vs. Louisiana-Monroe.
12. Wisconsin (9-4)
Points: 747. Final 2007 rank: 21. Outlook: If the Badgers find a productive quarterback, this could be their year to shine in the Big Ten as they are loaded with veterans in many other spots. Allan Evridge, a backup last year and former starter at Kansas State, could get the nod. All-America TE Travis Beckum is back to catch, and RB P.J. Hill is among the nation's best. DLs Matt Shaughnessy and Mike Newkirk return with S Shane Carter. Opens: Aug. 30 vs. Akron.
13. Kansas (12-1)
Points: 714. Final 2007 rank: 7. Outlook: The Orange Bowl champ, one of the surprise stories of 2007, needs to replace important players, but QB Todd Reesing is back to direct the offense. Jake Sharp should step in at running back, KR-WR Marcus Herford is dangerous and the defense should be strong with LBs Joe Mortensen, Mike Rivera and James Holt anchoring. Jayhawks close the regular season against Texas and Missouri. Opens: Aug. 30 vs. Florida International.
14. Texas Tech (9-4)
Points: 644. Final 2007 rank: 23. Outlook: High-scoring Red Raiders boast All-America WR Michael Crabtree, a Heisman candidate who led the nation in receptions (134), receiving yards (1,962) and TD catches (22). QB Graham Harrell is also back, operating behind a line that features Louis Vasquez and Marlon Winn. CB Jamar Wall and S Darcel McBath are solid in the secondary with DE Brandon Williams up front. Opens: Aug. 30 vs. Eastern Washington.
15. Virginia Tech (11-3)
Points: 568. Final 2007 rank: 9. Outlook: There are holes to fill, but the Hokies can rely on the QB combo of Sean Glennon and Tyrod Taylor, who helped lead them to the ACC title a year ago. G Sergio Render and OT Ed Wang pace an experienced line. Thin WR corps received a blow when Brandon Dillard was lost for year (knee). CB Victor Harris and S Kam Chancellor are a couple to watch in the secondary. Opens: Aug. 30 vs. East Carolina at Charlotte (ESPN, noon).
16. Arizona State (10-3)
Points: 560. Final 2007 rank: 13. Outlook: QB Rudy Carpenter returns as the Sun Devils, who missed out on a BCS game last year, attempt to continue their climb in the Pacific-10. RB Keegan Herring is also back with WR Michael Jones. E Dexter Davis and LB Travis Goethel help pace the defense. K Thomas Weber could be a big factor. ASU has key mid-October test at Southern California. Opens: Aug. 30 vs. Northern Arizona.
17. Brigham Young (11-2)
Points: 547. Final 2007 rank: 14 (tie). Outlook: The Cougars, who have turned around their fortunes under coach Bronco Mendenhall, look to have a good shot at finishing in the BCS' top 12 and getting a bid to a premier bowl. QB Max Hall and RB Harvey Unga key the offense behind OL Dallas Reynolds. DL Jan Jorgensen and LB David Nixon key the defense. Opens: Aug. 30 vs. Northern Iowa.
18. Tennessee (10-4)
Points: 506. Final 2007 rank: 12. Outlook: Jonathan Crompton is the heir apparent at quarterback, but RB Arian Foster could shine behind an offensive line paced by G Anthony Parker. S Eric Berry and LB Rico McCoy help pace the defense. Vols go on road to face UCLA, Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina. Opens: Sept. 1 at UCLA (ESPN, 8:00).
19. Illinois (9-4)
Points: 422. Final 2007 rank: 18. Outlook: After an unexpected trip to the Rose Bowl, the Illini's rebuilding efforts seem to be ahead of schedule. They welcome back QB Juice Williams, who will throw to WR Arrelious Benn. Running game needs retooling, but an experienced line is paced by Xavier Fulton and Ryan McDonald. CB Vontae Davis and LB Brit Miller are among those to watch on defense. Opens: Aug. 30 vs. No. 7 Missouri at St. Louis (ESPN, 8:30).
20. Oregon (9-4)
Points: 399. Final 2007 rank: 24. Outlook: Justin Roper, who starred in the Sun Bowl, or Nate Costa are eyed as replacements for departed QB Dennis Dixon. With TB Jonathan Stewart also gone, the running game needs retooling. WR Jaison Williams returns with CB Jairus Byrd, rover Patrick Chung and CB Walter Thurmond. Ducks must visit USC, Arizona State and California. Opens: Aug. 30 vs. Washington (FSN, 10:00).
21. South Florida (9-4)
Points: 350. Final 2007 rank: not ranked. Outlook: The Bulls were ranked second in the nation in mid-October before slipping, but this should again be one of the Big East's best behind QB Matt Grothe and standout DE George Selvie. LB Tyrone McKenzie and S Nate Allen are also defensive stalwarts, and RB Mike Ford paces the running game. WR Carlton Mitchell is another to watch. Opens: Aug. 30 vs. Tennessee-Martin.
22. Penn State (9-4)
Points: 313. Final 2007 rank: 25. Outlook: Speculation has been building that this is coach Joe Paterno's last year. Quarterback looks to be a battle between Daryll Clark and Pat Devlin with WRs Deon Butler, Derrick Williams and Jordan Norwood back to catch. Evan Royster is looking to step in at tailback. E Maurice Evans paces the defensive front with CB Lydell Sargeant and S Anthony Scirrotto back in the secondary. Opens: Aug. 30 vs. Coastal Carolina.
23. Wake Forest (9-4)
Points: 203. Final 2007 rank: not ranked. Outlook: The Demon Deacons look to continue their resurgence under QB Riley Skinner, with RB Josh Adams also back behind a line anchored by T Jeff Griffin. CB Alphonso Smith returns to lead the secondary with SS Chip Vaughn, and LBs Aaron Curry and Stanley Arnoux are also back. K Sam Swank is the nation's active career leader with 60 field goals. Opens: Aug. 28 at Baylor (FSN, 8:00).
24. Michigan (9-4)
Points: 112. Final 2007 rank: 19. Outlook: Rich Rodriguez takes over for retired coach Lloyd Carr, and there might be growing pains as the Wolverines get used to a new system and new coaching staff. Rodriguez needs to settle on a quarterback, with Steven Threet, Nick Sheridan and freshman Justin Feagin among the candidates. Brandon Minor could be the answer at running back. Defense should be solid with E Tim Jamison and CB Morgan Trent among returnees. Opens: Aug. 30 vs. Utah (ABC, 3:30).
25. Fresno State (9-4)
Points: 91. Final 2007 rank: not ranked. Outlook: The Bulldogs should be looking at another solid season with QB Tom Brandstater returning to throw to WR Marlon Moore and TE Bear Pascoe. RBs Ryan Matthews and Lonyae Miller key the ground game. Defense returns T Jon Monga, CB Damion Owens, S Moses Harris, E Wilson Ramos and LB Ben Jacobs. Opens: Sept. 1 at Rutgers (ESPN, 4:00).
Others receiving votes: Alabama (7-6) 83; South Carolina (6-6) 64; Utah (9-4) 60; Florida State (7-6) 53; Rutgers (8-5) 53; Boston College (11-3) 47; California (7-6) 41; Pittsburgh (5-7) 34; Boise State (10-3) 25; Oregon State (9-4) 23; Nebraska (5-7) 17; Cincinnati (10-3) 13; Virginia (9-4) 12; Connecticut (9-4) 9; Michigan State (7-6) 9; Mississippi State (8-5) 6; Kentucky (8-5) 5; Notre Dame (3-9) 5; TCU (8-5) 5; Maryland (6-7) 4; North Carolina (4-8) 3; Texas A&M (7-6) 3; UCLA (6-7) 3; Central Florida (10-4) 2; Georgia Tech (7-6) 2; Louisville (6-6) 2; Arizona (5-7) 1; Colorado (6-7) 1; Oklahoma State (7-6) 1; Tulsa (10-4) 1.
The USA TODAY Board of Coaches is made up of 61 head coaches at Division I-A institutions. All are members of the American Football Coaches Association. The board for the 2008 season: Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech; Mike Bellotti, Oregon; Bret Bielema, Wisconsin; Bobby Bowden, Florida State; Tommy Bowden, Clemson; Art Briles, Baylor; Mack Brown, Texas; Neil Callaway, Alabama-Birmingham; Gene Chizik, Iowa State; Mario Cristobal, Florida International; Sylvester Croom, Mississippi State; Mark Dantonio, Michigan State; Butch Davis, North Carolina; Todd Dodge, North Texas; Randy Edsall, Connecticut; Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee; Jeff Genyk, Eastern Michigan; Turner Gill, Buffalo; Joe Glenn, Wyoming; Todd Graham, Tulsa; Jim Grobe, Wake Forest; Dan Hawkins, Colorado; Pat Hill, Fresno State; Butch Jones, Central Michigan; Steve Kragthorpe, Louisville; Mike Leach, Texas Tech; Jim Leavitt, South Florida; Rocky Long, New Mexico; Bill Lynch, Indiana; Doug Martin, Kent State; Urban Meyer, Florida; Les Miles, LSU; Shane Montgomery, Miami (Ohio); Hal Mumme, New Mexico State; Rick Neuheisel, UCLA; Tom O'Brien, North Carolina State; George O'Leary, Central Florida; Gary Patterson, TCU; Bo Pelini, Nebraska; Chris Petersen, Boise State; Gary Pinkel, Missouri; Mike Price, Texas-El Paso; Mark Richt, Georgia; Mike Riley, Oregon State; Rich Rodriguez, Michigan; Greg Schiano, Rutgers; Howard Schnellenberger, Florida Atlantic; Mark Snyder, Marshall; Frank Solich, Ohio; Steve Spurrier, South Carolina; Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee; Jeff Tedford, California; Joe Tiller, Purdue; Bob Toledo, Tulane; Dick Tomey, San Jose State; Jim Tressel, Ohio State; Tommy Tuberville, Auburn; Charlie Weis, Notre Dame; Kyle Whittingham, Utah; Tyrone Willingham, Washington; Ron Zook, Illinois.