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Top 25 countdown

August 19, 2008|Chris Dufresne

The Times' Chris Dufresne unveils his preseason college football top 25, one day (and team) at a time:

No. 10 Texas

It should have been beers on the house on Sixth Street last spring on the day Louisiana State said "good riddance" to quarterback Ryan Perrilloux.

Perrilloux, see, had originally committed to Texas before he switched 10-gallon hats.

Whew.

Not that Texas wouldn't sign trouble if trouble could run for 1,500 yards -- Coach Mack Brown, remember, had tailback Cedric Benson.

Instead of Perrilloux, Texas got "stuck" with Colt McCoy, a swell kid whose worst crime last year was throwing too many interceptions -- 18, against 22 touchdowns -- in leading the Longhorns to a 10-3 season capped by a wipeout win over Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl.

Texas has won 10 or more games under Brown the last seven seasons, and should be good to go for nine or 10 again this year if only because five wins (Florida Atlantic, Texas El Paso, Arkansas, Rice, Colorado) have seemingly been scheduled in before Oct. 4.

You always think big picture in Texas, though, because the program thinks national titles even when it goes decades without winning one.

It did win one, three years ago, in 2005.

There are concerns in terms of this year's big prize because the Big 12 Conference South Division will be tougher than ever, with Oklahoma already there and Texas Tech on the rise.

The Longhorns lost tailback Jamaal Charles early to the NFL, and the pass defense last year ranked 109th nationally in a conference that this year leads the nation in quality quarterbacks.

Brown made a good hire in prying from Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, probably worth the $425,000 he'll earn annually to tie up all those loose defensive ends.

Texas' national title hopes will be hooked, as usual, to its annual State Fair showdown against Oklahoma, this year on Oct. 11.

The Longhorns don't catch any breaks in the Big 12 schedule, either, drawing North Division powers Missouri and Kansas. There's also a Nov. 1 date at Texas Tech that could serve as a trip wire.

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The countdown so far:

25. Notre Dame; 24. California; 23. Fresno State; 22. Florida State; 21. Rutgers; 20. Illinois; 19. Penn State; 18. Oregon; 17. Tennessee; 16. Arizona State; 15. Texas Tech; 14. Brigham Young; 13. Wisconsin; 12. Kansas; 11. Auburn; 10. Texas.

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chris.dufresne@latimes.com

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