Bulldogs, Seminoles eyeing Orange Bowl

After the Trojans were slighted by the BCS last season, Pete Carroll should have no problem motivating the troops.

Updated: August 27, 2004, 6:54 PM ET
By Todd McShay | Scouts, Inc.
The Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls have been out for a while, and Southern California and Oklahoma have gotten a lot of love in the top two spots. But with the new college football season nearly upon us, we wanted to offer our take on the best teams as they look in the preseason, and our list doesn't quite match the other two.

We all agree on USC at No. 1, but our next three -- Georgia, Florida State and Oklahoma -- are something of a departure from the other two polls. With that said, ladies and gentlemen, we present the Scouts, Inc., preseason top 15:

1. USC Trojans
The Trojans will take a while to put it all together offensively. The offensive line is breaking in four new starters and, with no formal decision made by the NCAA on WR Mike Williams, the wide receiver corps is young and inexperienced. QB Matt Leinart is one of the best in the nation, and despite the suspension of Hershel Dennis, USC still has exceptional talent at running back with Reggie Bush and LenDale White.

If offensive coordinator Norm Chow can help avoid an early stumble, the team is likely to catch fire midway through the season and should be nearly unstoppable. While the offense takes time to grow, the defense, which features DE Shaun Cody, DT Mike Patterson and WLB Matt Grootegoed, should hold down the fort. Finally, after the Trojans were slighted from playing in the BCS national championship game, head coach Pete Carroll should have no problem motivating the troops.

Todd McShay

ESPN Senior Writer