Horns Check In At No. 2 In Coaches Poll

The 2005 college football season is going to come down to defending national champ USC and Texas. At least that's the consensus of the preseason USA Today Coaches Poll released Friday.

As expected, a Southern Cal team that has won or shared the past two national titles was the clear favorite to repeat as the BCS champ. The Trojans, winners of 33 of their past 34 games, collected 60 of 62 'first place' votes (1,547 points). The Horns received the two remaining first place votes (1,405 points) to open the season in the runner-up spot for the second time in four years. Texas returns 17 starters from last year's 11-1 Rose Bowl championship squad but is replacing its backfield.

Friday's poll marks the fourth straight year that Texas opens the season ranked in the Top Five in at least one of the two major polls. Texas is one of four Big 12 Conference teams listed in the preseason poll. All nationally rated league teams hail from the Big 12 South. Oklahoma checks in at No. 5, while Texas A&M is No. 17. Texas Tech follows at No. 21.

Ohio State, Texas' September 10 opponent in Columbus, opens the season at No. 9.

ESPN opted out of its previous affiliation with the Coaches Poll earlier this year. The poll remains one of the factors in determining which teams participate in BCS bowls, including the BCS national championship game which will be played in the Rose Bowl on January 4.

Longhorns officially report on Sunday. The first practice of the 2005 season is set for 6:30 p.m., Monday, at Denius Field. The session is open to the public. The home opener is scheduled for 6 p.m., September 3, against Louisiana-Lafayette in a Fox Sports Southwest broadcast.

2005 PRESEASON COACHES POLL

1. USC

2. TEXAS

3. Tennessee

4. Michigan

5. Oklahoma

6. LSU

7. Virginia Tech

8. Miami

9. Ohio State

10. Iowa

11. Florida

12. Florida State

13. Georgia

14. Louisville

15. Auburn

16. Purdue

17. Texas A&M

18. Arizona State

19. Boise State

20. California

21. Texas Tech

22. Boston College

23. Virginia

24. Alabama

25. Pittsburgh


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