Texas checks in at No. 8 in the USA Today/ESPN pre-season poll released Friday, while USC is the coaches' choice to edge Oklahoma as the early favorite for the national champion.
It is the fourth straight year Texas
begins the season ranked among the Top 10, the longest span since 1968-1971. The Longhorns and Sooners are joined in the rankings by Big 12 teams Kansas State
(No. 13) and Missouri
(No. 17). The Tigers and Sooners are Texas' only two opponents ranked in the pre-season poll and the Horns face Oklahoma
and Mizzou on back-to-back Saturdays in a critical two-week stretch that will likely define the team's season. Texas faces Oklahoma at 11 a.m. (CDT) at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas on Oct. 9 before hosting Missouri the following Saturday. It is the highest pre-season ranking for the Tigers since 1969.
Also receiving votes were Nebraska (just barely out of the rankings at No. 26), plus opponents Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Texas Tech and Texas A&M.
The Trojans garnered 44 of a possible 61 first-place votes while OU received 12. Rounding out the top five are Georgia and Miami. The SEC placed three teams in the Top 10 (LSU, Georgia, Florida) while the Big 10 staked its claim as the country's strongest conference with six teams listed in the pre-season poll. The re-vamped ACC put five teams in the pre-season rankings.
The Associated Press (media) poll is slated to be released on August 14.
COACHES TOP 10
6. FLORIDA STATE
9. OHIO STATE