The Advantages of Three

It's never wise to put too much stock into any of the preseason Top 25 polls, but let's assume the voters virtually hit the nail on the head with their early predictions in the USA Today/Coaches poll.

Here's three advantages to where the Sooners are at right now:

3. They're in the mix:
Any team in the Top 10, certainly in the Top 5, controls its own destiny throughout the year. Keep winning and there's few enough teams in front that could snatch that spot in the BCS National Championship instead. The Sooners have healthy company along with them in the Top 5 in No. 1 Florida, No. 2 Texas, No. 4 USC and No. 5 Alabama, but they have just as good a chance as any of the rest to be in the Rose Bowl in January playing for all the marbles.

2. They're not the team to beat:
Florida bears the burden of having the No. 1 ranking next to its name, and OU doesn't. Coaches and players will always say—and it's true—that the rankings don't really matter when they hit the field. It's how the teams play. But to a certain extent, there is an added pressure when a team that's ranked No. 1 gets on the gridiron against a lesser opponent. For every game except perhaps a couple, the Sooners will be the clear-cut favorite this year, but at least they won't have the burden of knowing they will lose the No. 1 ranking with a loss.

1. They get to play ‘underdog' against Texas:
Perhaps the best thing about the preseason Top 25 for the Sooners is the fact that Texas, barring any unexpected loss throughout the early weeks of the season, must take the higher ranking into the annual Red River Rivalry game in Dallas. While in the back of their minds the Sooners know a loss in that game will likely cost them a chance at a national championship, Texas will be expected to win and have extra pressure. The Sooners will be able to play looser.

Next, Sooners Illustrated will provide the three disadvantages at where they are right now.

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