The Cardinals, who are coming off a 9-4 season and an appearance in the 2003 GMAC Bowl, return 16 starters, including nine on an offense, which was ranked in the top 10 in the nation last season.
"We're honored to be considered in the top 25," said head coach Bobby Petrino. "However, we know we have a lot of work to do to get ready for the season. Preseason rankings are good publicity for the program, but we know we need to get better as a football team."
The publication also tabs the Cardinals as the preseason favorite to win the Conference USA title, in their final season in the league before joining the BIG EAST Conference in 2005.
Senior quarterback Stefan LeFors was selected as the preseason Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year and was a first team preseason All-League selection. Wide receiver J.R. Russell, offensive tackle Travis Leffew and offensive guard Jason Spitz were preseason selections on offense, while defensive end Marcus Jones was the lone nominee on defense.
The Cardinals open the season on Sunday, September 5 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium against Kentucky.