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Geoffrey McAllister, Deseret News
Fui Vakapuna and the BYU Cougars will start their BCS quest from the No. 16 ranking.

PROVO — BYU is ranked No. 16 in the Associated Press preseason poll released Saturday, marking the first time since 1997 that the Cougars have been ranked among the top 25 prior to the season.

BYU landed at No. 17 in the coaches' poll that came out earlier this month.

"It's nice to be ranked anywhere in the top 25 and it's nice to be No. 16," Cougar quarterback Max Hall said Saturday after practice. "The important thing is to be ranked, to start with the opportunity to be ranked."

BYU, which enters the 2008 season riding a 10-game winning streak, is rated one spot below Arizona State and one spot ahead of Virginia Tech. The Cougars open the season in two weeks at home against Northern Iowa.

"We've got a lot to worry about like our first game against Northern Iowa," said running back Fui Vakapuna. "I don't think we're talking much about being ranked right now because it doesn't mean as much as winning that first game."

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