Oklahoma is the preseason No. 1 in the USA Today coaches' poll. The Sooners received 42 of 59 first-place votes to easily outpoint No. 2 Alabama, which received 13 first-place votes.
Oregon, which lost last season's BCS championship game, is third and LSU is fourth.
The Ducks and Tigers will open the season against each other at Cowboys Stadium on Sept. 3 in Arlington, Texas. They each received two first-place votes in the coaches' poll.
Florida State is fifth, followed by Stanford, Boise State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Wisconsin.
Defending national champion Auburn starts the season ranked 19th in the coaches' poll.
After a tumultuous offseason, Ohio State is ranked 16th. Notre Dame is No. 18.
HELP WANTED ON THE PLAINS
Auburn coach Gene Chizik isn't just offering the standard recruiting pitch when he touts the immediate and plentiful opportunities for playing time to prospects.
The defending national champions opened preseason camp Wednesday night with just 71 scholarship players - 14 fewer than the NCAA maximum. More than half of those going through camp are freshmen.
No wonder Chizik says the Tigers weren't after spectators. He says, "We recruit them to come in here and play."
And many of them surely will hit the field for the Sept. 3 opener against Utah State and beyond.
The numbers crunch goes beyond the early departures of stars Cam Newton and Nick Fairley, and the offseason dismissal of five players following arrests.
Only seven players remain from the 2007 and 2008 signing classes combined.