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Shocker! Florida headlines Stewart Mandel's '09 Top 25.
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It's never too early to look ahead. Certainly not for SI.com's Stewart Mandel, who got a jump start on next year's college football season with his advance look at next year's Top 25.

The top four teams in Mandel's "initial, absurdly early stab" weren't too difficult to earmark. Pretty much everybody should have Florida, Texas, Oklahoma and USC atop their napkins.

It's at the No. 5 spot where the fun really starts. Mandel's pick?

Ole Miss. It probably seems laughable to many of you that Ole Miss -- Ole Miss -- could possibly field a top five team, but take a look at some of the other contenders, then consider the Rebels' résumé. They won six straight to end last season, including a Cotton Bowl victory over 11-1 Texas Tech, and they return 17 starters, including premier quarterback Jevan Snead.

It might strike some observers as a curious selection. But it's never easy to predict these things so far in advance, and the Rebels seem as plausible a guess as anyone else.

Here's a quick glance at Mandel's complete Top 25.

1. Florida (13-1 in 2008)
2. Texas (12-1)
3. Oklahoma (12-2)
4. USC (12-1)
5. Ole Miss (9-4)
6. Oklahoma State (9-4)
7. Alabama (12-2)
8. Virginia Tech (10-4)
9. Oregon (10-3)
10. Boise State (12-1)
11. LSU (8-5)
12. Georgia Tech (9-4)
13. Georgia (10-3)
14. Utah (13-0)
15. Penn State (11-2)
16. Ohio State (10-3)
17. TCU (11-2)
18. Florida State (9-4)
19. Oregon State (9-4)
20. Cal (9-4)
21. Iowa (9-4)
22. Kansas (8-5)
23. North Carolina (8-5)
24. Texas Tech (11-2)
25. Pittsburgh (9-4)

What do you think? Is any school ranked too high or too low? Any surprising inclusions or glaring omissions? Let us know below.

Stewart Mandel: An early crack at an '09 top 25 [SI.com]

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