Expectations are high for Oklahoma's football team for the 2014 season, and The Sporting News just gave OU fans a reason for that excitement in late April.
The magazine has listed OU as the No. 1 team in the nation for its preseason poll. The preview magazine won't hit newsstands until May 27, but regional covers were unveiled Wednesday with one of them featuring OU sophomore quarterback Trevor Knight.
Being ranked No. 1 in the past has been a mixed blessing as sometimes it has felt like the Sooners play best when they're the underdog instead of the favorite. That mentality helped OU upset Alabama 45-31 in the Allstate Sugar Bowl in a game the Crimson Tide were favored by 17 points.
With nine starters returning on defense to go along with an improved Knight and a plethora of young talent at running back and wide receiver, the Sooners should be in the conversation all season.
But No. 1 is not the goal for the first time ever this season. This time around it's better to simply be top four as the top four teams will qualify for the first College Football Playoff, a four-team tournament to decide a true national champion.
Other regional covers included Baylor, Notre Dame, Florida State and Oregon. The Sporting News top 10 is OU, Oregon, Florida State, Alabama, Auburn, Stanford, Baylor, UCLA, Ohio State and South Carolina.