It may only be spring, a good four months before the start of the college football season, but at least one national publication has already come out with its preseason rankings. Sporting News has Oklahoma in the top spot in its preseason college football poll.
Baylor also is ranked in the top 10 in the Sporting News 2014 preseason rankings. The Bears are ranked seventh. Following the Sooners in positions two through five are Oregon, Florida State (the defending national champion), Alabama, which Oklahoma defeated 45-31 in the Sugar Bowl in January, and Auburn, which Florida State defeated in the BCS National Championship game earlier this year.
The bottom half of the top 10 in the Sporting News’ rankings are Stanford, Baylor, UCLA, Ohio State and North Carolina.
Explaining the Sporting News’ selection of Oklahoma as the top-ranked team in its preseason poll, college football writer Matt Hayes said: “Quality on both lines of scrimmage as well as strong skill players and a schedule that includes big games at home gave OU the edge.”
Oklahoma also has “a quarterback (redshirt sophomore Trevor Knight) who looks confident and ready to have a breakout season,” Hayes told the Tulsa World. “Also, I think that Bama win gave the program a shot of swagger it lacked in the last few years.”
No doubt there are quite a few people very surprised by the selection of Oklahoma as a preseason No. 1. It is not a poll position that the Sooners are unfamiliar with, however. Since the Associate Press weekly college football poll began in 1936, the Oklahoma Sooners have been ranked No. 1 for 101 weeks, the most of any team in college football.
If you are wondering how the Sporting News 2014 preseason poll compares with the early preseason ranking of other polls:
ESPN has the Sooners at No. 8 and Baylor No. 12 in its preseason college football rankings, published right after the conclusion if the 2013-14 bowl season. The ESPN poll ranks Florida State and Alabama as one and two.
CBS Sports‘ preseason college football rankings have Baylor as the highest-ranked team from the Big 12 at No. 12, followed by Oklahoma at No. 13, Oklahoma State No. 19 and Texas at No. 22. Florida State and Alabama are CBS Sports’ picks as the top two teams in college football coming into the 2014 season.
USA Today’s early preseason rankings have Oklahoma ranked No. 8, Baylor No. 11, Kansas State at No. 22 and Texas No. 23. Florida State and Oregon are the top two teams, according to USA Today’s early college football rankings for 2014.
This is what an early snapshot of the 2014 college football season looks like four-to-six months out. It is almost certain to change to some degree in the coming months, but it is one of those things created by the media to keep the embers burning among college football fans and the commentary and conversation flowing in football preview publications and on the sports talk-radio circuit right up to the start of the new season in the fall.