07 top 25 - I've had nearly two weeks to sift through which...

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I've had nearly two weeks to sift through which college football players are staying and going -- and to sort through more than 1,500 e-mails suggesting I should stick to college basketball (and another 800 that suggested I stick to football). So it's time to revise the very early 2007 preseason top 25. Defending national champion Florida and national runner-up Ohio State were hurt most by early defections to the NFL draft, while Louisville moves up considerably because quarterback Brian Brohm decided to return for his senior season. Southern California is still No. 1, but a lot can change between now and August. 1. USC Trojans Why : Quarterback John David Booty 's stellar performance (391 passing yards, four touchdowns) in the Trojans' 32-18 win over Michigan in the Rose Bowl showed he's among the best passers in the country. The Trojans played a boatload of underclassmen this season and the defense should return 10 starters with end Lawrence Jackson, linebacker Keith Rivers and tackle Sedrick Ellis back for another season. Why not : Booty's two primary targets -- Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith -- will be gone next season. Are young receivers Vidal Hazelton and Patrick Turner ready to step up? Rebuilding the offense will be easier with left tackle Sam Baker coming back, and quarterbacks coach Steve Sarkisian staying after he turned down a chance to coach the Oakland Raiders. The 2006 schedule flips in 2007 with road games at Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon, California and Arizona State. 2. Michigan Wolverines Why : Quarterback Chad Henne , tailback Mike Hart and All-America left tackle Jake Long each decided to come back. That trio combined with wide receiver Mario Manningham will give the Wolverines another explosive offense. Michigan plays most of its tough games at home -- against Oregon, Notre Dame, Penn State and Ohio State -- and doesn't play at Wisconsin until Nov. 10. Why not : Seven defensive starters are leaving, including junior tackle Alan Branch, who decided to enter the NFL draft. Defensive ends LaMarr Woodley and Rondell Biggs and All-America cornerback Leon Hall also are gone. Two starters are leaving on the offensive line. 3. West Virginia Mountaineers Why : Mountaineers coach Rich Rodriguez turned down a lucrative offer from Alabama to stay at his alma mater. Quarterback Pat White and tailback Steve Slaton , two of the most electrifying players in the country, return for their junior seasons. The road to the Big East title gets easier with Bobby Petrino leaving Louisville. Why not : The Mountaineers lose center Dan Mozes, the heart and soul of their offensive line, and starting receivers Rayshawn Bolden and Brandon Myles , who were valued as much for their blocking as pass catching. Losing offensive line coach Rick Trickett to Florida State was another key loss. Seven starters should be back on defense, but
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linebackers Kevin "Boo" McLee and Jay Henry are leaving. Three of West Virginia's toughest games in 2007 -- against Rutgers, South Florida and Maryland -- are on the road.
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