Coaches Tab Sooners as Preseason No. 1

NORMAN, Okla. — If the expectations weren't already through the roof, they definitely are now, as the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll was released today, and the Sooners are in the top spot to start the season for the first time since 2003.

That year, the BCS National Championship Game was at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, the same location where the 2012 title game is set to take place.

OU snagged 42 of 59 total first place votes and 1,454 points overall in the poll.

"It's an honor to be ranked No. 1 any time, but we understand that the preseason ranking means very little compared with what it will mean months from now," said OU head coach Bob Stoops. "Like a lot of other teams, we face the challenge of preparing for a difficult schedule. Our aspirations are clear in that we want to compete for the national championship and we're flattered to be considered by others as a program that has an opportunity to reach that goal."

The next closest team is Alabama, who received 13 first place votes and 1,414 points as the preseason No. 2 team in the nation.

Oregon and LSU each had a pair of first place votes, with the Ducks coming in ahead of the Tigers at 1,309 and 1,296 points, respectively.

Florida State, coming off its 10-4 season, notched a spot in the Top Five with 1,116 points.

Stanford, Boise State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Wisconsin rounded out the Top 10, in that order.

Five Big 12 teams were named to the Coaches' Preseason Top 25, as Missouri and Texas were 21 and 24, respectively.

The SEC, winners of five straight national titles, has eight in the poll.

The 2011 season begins Sept. 1 with four games, and OU opens up the year at 7 p.m. Sept. 3 against Tulsa.

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