The Associated Press released their preseason rankings for college football this season, and the Sooners enter 2018 at number seven. This comes after a loss in the Rose Bowl to Georgia, and maybe more importantly, the loss of Baker Mayfield. Oklahoma still has a lot to prove, but a number seven ranking shows that voters believe the Sooner’s still have some strong talent returning.
Oklahoma enters the season behind 1. Alabama 2. Clemson 3. Georgia 4. Wisconsin 5. Ohio State and 6. Washington. Other teams from the Big 12 in the rankings are 16. TCU 17. West Virginia and 23. Texas.
The Big 12 should improve as a conference, with recruiting and developed talent continuing to rise in all programs. West Virginia has been pegged by many to be the favorite to win the Big 12 and possibly the Heisman this year. With the talent Will Grier has around him like wideout David Sills, they might be able to make some real noise on the national stage. The Mountaineers have a ton of work to do on defense after allowing almost 35 ppg in the conference, but if they can fix the holes then they present the toughest test for Oklahoma to repeat as champions. Texas looks to feature a top defense in the conference, if not the entire country. One not so shocking drop from the rankings is Oklahoma State. Following the loss of both Mason Rudolph and James Washington, the Cowboys are receiving votes and are on the outside looking in at number 29.
The Sooners have been voted into the AP Top-10; 16 out of the last 18 seasons, showing their continued ability to recruit well, and develop supreme talent each season. The constant pressure on the Sooners early on has held them back in the past, and may have caused them to not meet the expectations many believe they should’ve. But in 2018, if the offense can find it’s rhythm behind a new quarterback, then this team has a strong chance to win out in the Big 12 and make a run for the College Football Playoff.