Hogs Enter Season Ranked No. 21

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas coach Houston Nutt insists he doesn't pay much attention to polls, especially ones that come out two weeks before the season opener.

Still, the Razorbacks were shown some respect Saturday when the Associated Press released its first poll of the 2007 college football season.

Arkansas was ranked No. 21, six spots below where the team finished last season but still a noticeable improvement from the past few years.

"We don't worry about it," Nutt said of the ranking. "That's good, that's fine, but we don't worry about it. Bowls and polls and all those things will take care of itself. It's about winning."

Arkansas is among six Southeastern Conference teams ranked in AP's Top 25 preseason poll, joining No. 2 LSU, No. 6 Florida, No. 13 Georgia, No. 15 Tennessee and No. 18 Auburn.

The University of Southern California is the overwhelming preseason favorite, receiving 62 of a possible 65 first-place votes. LSU garnered two first-place votes and West Virginia got one.

After going 10-4 and playing in the SEC Championship Game, the Razorbacks finished last season ranked No. 15. It was their highest ranking to end a season since 1989 when they finished No. 13.

And even with Arkansas losing defensive end Jamaal Anderson, cornerback Chris Houston and defensive tackle Keith Jackson Jr. to the NFL, voters thought highly enough of the Razorbacks to rank them.

A big reason for that is running back Darren McFadden, last year's Heisman Trophy runner-up and the favorite to win the award this season.

But McFadden said he didn't want to take all the credit for Arkansas' No. 21 ranking.

"I can't put this all on myself," McFadden said. "We have a whole team to go out there and grind every day and put in hard work."

The Razorbacks, who open the season Sept. 1 against Troy University, were ranked No. 20 in the USA Today Coaches preseason poll released earlier this month.

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