The state of Texas finished 2016 with zero teams ranked in the Top 25 of the Associated Press Poll, and they’ll start 2017 with exactly one - because TEXAS IS BACK (again) (we think) (for real this time) (maybe).
The Big 12 has five teams in the Preseason Top 25, led by Oklahoma at #7. Oklahoma State follows, rounding out the top ten - at #10 overall. Kansas State, West Virginia, and Texas all find themselves ranked between 20-25, with TCU just outside the magic number at 26th overall. Houston and Texas A&M also made the “receiving votes” category.
The ranking comes on the heels of the Frogs being voted “The Best in Texas” by CBS Sports just a couple of weeks ago (thanks for the line, Scott). TCU was ranked 28th in the coaches poll earlier this month, as well.
While expectations are through the roof for both the Sooners and the Cowboys, questions surround several other big name programs in the Big 12. Texas certainly has the tools to make a run - but a new coach, a new system, and a brutal schedule could have folks tapping the brakes come October. West Virginia is coming off a very good year, one in which they were in the hunt for a title until the stretch run, but are replacing a significant amount of productivity on both sides of the ball.
Alabama was the #1 overall team, to the surprise of absolutely no one, edging #2 Ohio State by 99 points. Florida State and USC round out the top four, with reigning National Champion Clemson holding the fifth spot. Penn State takes a meteoric rise from a year ago to sixth, playoff participant Washington is eighth, and Wisconsin rounds out the remainder of the top ten at ninth.
Opening night for the College Football season is Saturday, as #14 Stanford faces off with Rice in Australia and #19 USF (seriously - thanks, Charlie Strong) takes on San Jose State. The first Big 12 game of the new year is Thursday, August 31st, as Oklahoma State tangles with Tulsa. The most important opener is that Saturday, with the Frogs hosting Jackson State at 7:00 PM.
Again, it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish, so #EyesUpKeepClimbing.