Originally created 08/21/05

Trojans eye 3rd straight from the top

Here's why Southern California is No. 1 in The Associated Press preseason poll:

Every player who scored a touchdown in the Trojans' 55-19 victory over Oklahoma in last season's Orange Bowl is still playing for the team. So is Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart, who threw five TD passes.

Leinart, Reggie Bush and the rest of Pete Carroll's crew provided a scary glimpse of what was to come in 2005 when they wrapped up their second straight national title on that warm January night in Miami.

This year's goal is three in a row, something that's never been done.

"It's always good to be on top, but at the same time we're focused and coach Carroll always reminds us, 'Don't worry about who's No. 1 or No. 2. Just stay focused,'" said sophomore receiver Dwayne Jarrett, who finished his freshman year with 115 yards and a touchdown in the Orange Bowl.

USC (1,619 points) received 60 out of a possible 65 first-place votes in the media poll released Saturday, grabbing the top spot in the preseason for the fifth time in school history.

"My statement on that is what I always say: It's a reflection of what's happened in the past and the respect that people show our program, so in that sense it's a really nice recognition," Carroll said, "but it doesn't amount to much until we do something about it and prove that we're worthy of that. And it's a long ways before that."

No. 2 Texas (1,500 points), coming off an 11-1 season and a Rose Bowl win, got four first-place votes. Tennessee is No. 3 and Michigan and Louisiana State round out the top five. No. 12 Louisville received the other first-place vote.

Joe Giglio of The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., voted Louisville No. 1 after examining the schedules for all BCS conference teams. The Cardinals moved to the Big East this season.

"Louisville was the only one that I came up with as going undefeated," he said.

Ohio State is No. 6, one point ahead of Oklahoma, which has lost the past two BCS title games.

The Southeastern Conference boasts three teams in the top 10 and five in the top 25, with Georgia ranked No. 13.


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