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March 14, 2002

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Even though the 2001 football season was just completed slightly more than two months ago, the college football gurus are already at work projecting next year’s top 25 poll.

In the CNN/SI preseason top 25 for 2002, the South Carolina Gamecocks are ranked #23. USC finished 9-3 last season and was ranked 13th in both the final Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN coaches polls. The Gamecocks return 12 starters – five on offense, four on defense and three specialists. Offensively, they must replace their leading passer (Phil Petty), leading receiver (Brian Scott) and top lineman (Melvin Paige). On defense, key losses include All-America linebacker Kalimba Edwards and All-America cornerback Sheldon Brown.

Defending national champion Miami is ranked #1, followed by Oklahoma, Texas, Florida State, Tennessee, Florida, Colorado, Washington, Georgia and Washington State. Here is a complete listing of CNN/SI’s preseason top 25 poll for 2002:

??1. Miami (Fla.)

??2. Oklahoma

??3. Texas

??4. Florida State

??5. Tennessee

??6. Florida

??7. Colorado

??8. Washington

??9. Georgia

10. Washington State

11. LSU

12. Oregon

13. Nebraska

14. Michigan

15. Ohio State

16. Virginia Tech

17. Louisville

18. Marshall

19. Maryland

20. Texas A&M

21. Auburn

22. NC State


24. Michigan State

25. Ole Miss