In a couple of weeks the college football preview magazines will start appearing in mail boxes and on newsstands around the country with their forecasts of the top 25 teams and the conference favorites for 2020. Oklahoma football has been a regular on that list for the past two decades.
Since 1950, Oklahoma has appeared in the top five of the Associated Press Preseason Poll 35 times, more than any other NCAA Division I team. Alabama and Ohio State are next with 28 top-five preseason rankings.
The Sooners also have appeared the most times in the AP preseason top 10 over the last 70 years — a total of 49 times — with an average ranking of 4.04. Ohio State, however, leads all teams, appearing in the AP Top 25 66 times in the last 70 preseason polls.
Most of the multiple 2020 “Way too Early” preseason polls that came out in early January, right after the LSU Tigers were crowned 2019 national champions, had Oklahoma at No. 6 or 7, although at least one of those early projections ranked the Sooners ninth.
USA Today’s updated Preseason College Football Top 25 has the Sooners at No. 6.
The initial 2020 ESPN College Football Index, which is defined as “a measure of team strength that is meant to be the best predictor of a team’s performance going forward for the rest of the season” ranks Oklahoma 10th and gives the Sooners a 44.1 percent chance of winning the Big 12 this coming season and a 15.3 percent chance of making a fourth straight appearance in the College Football Playoff.
Oklahoma ranked 13th in the final FPI at the end of last season.
In the coming weeks, Athlon’s, Sporting News, Lindy’s and Phil Steele’s 2020 College Football Preview will be releasing their 2020 preview magazines, and it will be interesting to see 1) where the Sooners are ranked to begin the coming season, and 2) if they are the favorite to win the Big 12 for what would be a sixth straight year.
Sports Illustrated, Associated Press and the Coaches Poll will release their preseason top-25 in mid to late August.
The Sooners have finished no lower than first in all five seasons Lincoln Riley has been a member of the OU coaching staff.