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Saturday, August 20, 2011
Oklahoma doing fine atop AP Poll


The 62nd Associated Press preseason college football poll was released today, with the Oklahoma Sooners as the No. 1 team for the record 10th time, but only second since 1988.

In the nine previous occurrences, the Sooners finished on top of the AP Poll four times, most recently in 1985. The last time Oklahoma was ranked No. 1 in the preseason was 2003.

The preseason No. 1 ranking may not mean much. In the past 35 years, only five preseason No. 1 teams finished the year ranked there in the AP Poll, with 2004 USC the most recent.

But preseason ranking does correlate somewhat with postseason success. Seven of the past eight teams that finished No. 1 in the AP Poll began the season ranked in the top 10. The exception was last year’s Auburn Tigers, who were ranked 22nd in the preseason poll and became the lowest-ranked team in the preseason to capture the national title in the BCS era.

Speaking of Auburn, the Tigers begin this season ranked 23rd, making them the second defending national champion to begin the year outside the AP top 15, joining unranked Minnesota in 1961.

Auburn’s archrival Alabama is ranked second to begin this year, marking the first time the Crimson Tide have been ranked in the preseason top five for three straight years since 1980 to 1982.

The Oregon Ducks are third, their best-ever preseason ranking. The Ducks had been ranked higher than 15th in the preseason only twice, but have been ranked in the top 10 of the final AP Poll four times.

The LSU Tigers and Boise State Broncos round out the top five. The Tigers begin the season there for the first time since 2007, when they won the national title. The Broncos received two first-place votes and are in the top five for the second consecutive season.

At the other end of the poll, the Texas Longhorns led the receiving-votes category, ending its streak of 12 straight years ranked in the preseason AP Poll. That was the second-longest active streak, behind only Ohio State’s 22-year run.