"College Football Live" unveiled its 2011 preseason poll this past Friday, and not surprisingly, Alabama and LSU were both in the top 5.
A 38-person panel of ESPN analysts, studio hosts, play-by-play announcers, bloggers and researchers participated in the poll. Oklahoma was No. 1, but Alabama was No. 2 and LSU No. 4.
We won't have to wait long to find out about the Tigers. They open the season in Arlington, Texas, against Oregon, which was ranked No. 3 in the poll.
The biggest surprise to me, as it relates to the SEC, was that South Carolina was ranked so high. The Gamecocks were No. 8.
While I think Steve Spurrier's club is the favorite in the East to make it back to the SEC championship game for the second year in a row, I wouldn't have South Carolina ranked in the top 10 nationally to start the season, not with some of the uncertainty at quarterback.
As it does every year, so much of the Gamecocks' season rides on that second game against Georgia, and this season, the game's in Athens.
Arkansas was ranked No. 12 in the poll, and I'd be surprised if the Hogs aren't a top-10 team before the season is over. They finally appear to have a top 10-caliber defense under Bobby Petrino.
Florida was No. 18, Mississippi State No. 21 and Auburn No. 22.
To me, the Gators are that mystery team in the league as the Will Muschamp era begins. The Bulldogs probably deserve to be ranked a little higher, and the Tigers are probably ranked where they are because they're defending national champions. No team in the league lost more than Auburn did from a year ago.
Georgia will have an opportunity to hop into the rankings the first two weeks of the season. The Bulldogs open the season in Atlanta against No. 5 Boise State and then face No. 8 South Carolina at home the following week.
It's a September stretch that will either make or break the Bulldogs' season.