Just one day after Vince Young and Texas beat USC to claim the 2005 National Championship, the early prognostications for 2006 have already begun.
And if the early preseason lists released Thursday by ESPN and Sports Illustrated are anywhere close to what the polls will look like when Oklahoma takes the field next September, the Sooners will be in a good position to make a run at their eighth national title.
The Sooners, who finished ranked 22nd in both the final Associated Press and Coaches Top 25 Polls released late Wednesday night, checked in at No. 8 according to ESPN writer Pat Forde and CNNSI writer Stewart Mandel in their early preseason top 10 lists.
"The rest of the Big 12 took their best shots at the young Sooners this season; it won't be as easy next year," wrote Mandel on CNNSI.com. "A healthy Adrian Peterson in the backfield, a more mature Rhett Bomar at quarterback and a more experienced offensive line should help OU return to prominence."
Forde, a columnist for ESPN, also ranked the Sooners No. 8.
"Adrian Peterson should return to Heisman contender form, Rhett Bomar should take a major step forward at quarterback, and the defense should be up to usual Bob Stoops standards," Forde wrote.
Both Forde and Mandel ranked the Longhorns No. 1, pending the return of Young.
Click the links below to see the complete list from ESPN and Sports Illustrated.
CNNSI 2006 Top 10
ESPN 2006 Top 10
Sooners make early 2006 top 10 lists
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