Oklahoma mailbag: Where do the Sooners deserve to be ranked?
DieHards tackles the best questions from Oklahoma fans. Look for our Oklahoma question of the day Monday through Friday. Join the conversation by sending your questions to @john_shinn, by email to John at firstname.lastname@example.org or at the Oklahoma DieHards Facebook page.
Scotty Adams asks: ‘What is a fair preseason ranking for Oklahoma?’
Well, there are a couple of factors to look at. The Sooners finished in the top 5 in the final Associated Press Top 25 the last three seasons, including No. 3 last season.
That would indicate the Sooners should be in the top 5 of just about any preseason ranking. However, teams that bring back their starting quarterback from the previous season tend to be ranked higher than those who do not. The departure of Baker Mayfield to the NFL is worthy of taking the Sooners down a peg or two.
Another way to look to look at it is who is worthy of being ranked ahead of Oklahoma heading into this season. Alabama fits into that group. Georgia earned that right. Clemson’s run over the previous three seasons puts them up there. Ohio State has been in the College Football Playoff in two of the four years of its existence.
The last thing you have to consider is how you look at the ranking. Is the goal to rank the teams from best to worst? Is it order based on those most likely to have the best records?
The Sooners have one of the most favorable schedules in college football this season. They have seven home games, including all three nonconference games.
The Big 12 appears to be poised for a down season. It had three teams in the final AP Top 25 of 2017. Like the Sooners, TCU and Oklahoma State break in new quarterbacks this season.
Based on all the factors, I would say anywhere from No. 4 to No. 8 is fair for the Sooners heading into the season. Their success the previous season says they are worthy of being in the top 4. The absence of Mayfield is a legitimate rationale for dropping Oklahoma a couple of spots.
It’s also worth noting that the Sooners have exceeded their preseason ranking in the final AP Top 25 two of the last three seasons.