Coaches poll tabs OU as preseason No. 1

Oklahoma edges out defending national champion Ohio State for the top spot in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll by one vote. Stoops says his Sooners will embrace the ranking. (Photo/Getty Images)

NORMAN, Okla. — The first official preseason poll for the 2003 season is out and it has put a huge bullseye on the back of OU Head Coach Bob Stoops and his Sooners.

The Sooners edged out defending national champion Ohio State by one vote for the top spot in the first ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll released by ESPN Thursday evening.

"We'll look at it as a challenge," said Stoops live on ESPN moments after the release of the poll. "When you play at a great place like Oklahoma, that's what you want. We should have a good team this year and we expected to compete for a championship."

Oklahoma will attempt to be the first team to go the length of the season No. 1 from start to finsih for the first time since 1999. Florida State accomplished that when they knocked off Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl, where this year's BCS natinal title game will be played.

"We haven't been able to sneak up on anybody since 2000, so we're not going to worry about that," said Stoops, on his Sooners being a target now that they're ranked No. 1. "We'll look at it as a challenge and do our best to live up to it."

Sooners top preseason Top 25 coaches' poll:

Sooners edge Buckeyes 29-28 in first place votes:

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories