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Sports Illustrated Top 25 Includes ASU Football At 17th Overall

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The Sun Devils earned a big dose of respect on Wednesday, as Sports Illustrated ranked ASU 17th overall in their 2011 Top 25.

They are ahead of several prestigious football schools, including Ohio State, USC, Missouri, Auburn and Florida.

There are a few big surprises on this list, including Stanford ahead of Oregon. The Ducks haven't received a ton of respect even though they keep their offense largely intact from 2010.

Notre Dame is at 15th overall, being given their annual popularity contest vote.

With TCU at 18th, they have their work cut out for them if they want to reach the BCS. With a key game against the Boise St. Broncos in the latter part of the season, they will be able to make a statement and move up the rankings.

1. Alabama

6. Florida State

11. Texas A&M

16. Virginia Tech

21. Mississippi State

2. Oklahoma

7. South Carolina

12. Wisconsin

17. Arizona State

22. Missouri

3. LSU

8. Boise State

13. Oklahoma State

18. TCU

23. West Virginia

4. Stanford

9. Nebraska

14. Michigan State

19. Ohio State

24. Auburn

5. Oregon

10. Arkansas

15. Notre Dame

20. USC

25. Florida

But lets return to the Sun Devils.

ASU has been decimated by injuries this offseason, yet 17th overall is the highest ranking we've seen. Perhaps SI is intrigued by Brock Osweiler's positive attitude and his confident desire to make the BCS National Championship Game down in New Orleans.

Another possibility is that the Sun Devils played well in 2010, losing close matchups to nearly every ranked team they faced. Without penalties, ASU could have beaten Stanford. Without excessive turnovers, the Sun Devils may have conquered Oregon. Who is to say they will not turn it around in 2011 and win those tight games?

And that is what brings us back to reality: the only game that matters is UC-Davis on September 1. Once that game is in the record books, the Sun Devils can focus on Missouri.