Oklahoma football: Where will OU land in final major preseason polls?

Jul 14, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Brent Venables is interviewed during the Big 12 Media Day at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 14, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Brent Venables is interviewed during the Big 12 Media Day at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

For a couple of months now, we’ve been tracking the preseason top-25 rankings of the 2022 Oklahoma football team.

It all started with the college football preview magazines that began hitting newsstands in late May and June followed by the preseason rankings of various sports media outlets. In reality, the first top-25 rankings for the 2022 season started appearing back in early January with numerous way-too-early top-25 projections.

There was plenty of uncertainty surrounding the Oklahoma program as the calendar changed over from 2021 to 2022, and that was reflected in most all of the way-too-early projections. But since spring ball and into the summer months, the general outlook for the Sooners by the prognosticators has grown much more positive.

As an example, in the way-too-early top-25 projections that were issued in January, ESPN had Oklahoma at No. 17, Sports Illustrated ranked the Sooners No. 15 in its way-early top-25 ranking and 247Sports had the Sooners No. 16.

Since May, we’ve tracked seven different sports media sources that have issued preseason top-25 rankings for the 2022 college football season. I’m sure there are others we’ve overlooked, but the seven we’ve captured seem like a fairly representative sample.

The average of those seven rankings has the Sooners at 9.7, with the highest OU ranking at No. 6 (2022 College Football America Yearbook) and the lowest No. 13 (Athlon Sports). Importantly, however, Oklahoma was ranked in the top 10 by six of the seven media outlets.

Still to come, however, are some of the big boys of the college football top-25 ranking business. We’re speaking specifically of the Associated Press preseason media poll, the Coaches Poll as well as the September issue of Sports Illustrated, which will feature SI’s college football preview and preseason top 25.

The former two of those big final three, the AP and Coaches Poll, are the ones that seem to count the most and are the ones that most fans follow on a weekly basis until later in October, when the College Football Playoff rankings kick in and trump all of the other rolling weekly polls.

Over the past five years, and actually for much of the past two decades, Oklahoma has been a top-10 fixture in both the AP preseason top 25 as well as the first Coaches Poll of the season. The Sooners have averaged a No. 5 ranking in each of the last five preseason polls issued by AP, the Coaches Poll and SI.

In fact, Oklahoma ranks No. 1 since 1950 in the AP Preseason College Football Top 25, according to a recent analysis done by College Football News. The Sooners are 2nd, however, behind Ohio State in the number of overall appearances in the AP preseason poll. Ohio State has appeared 68 times in the AP Preseason Top 25 with an average ranking of 8.4. OU has appeared 63 times in the AP preseason poll over that time with an average ranking of 6.5.

So, the question becomes where will the AP and Coaches Poll voters place the Sooners when the 2022 preseason rankings are released by those two major pollsters? Numerous sports websites are offering their take on what the initial AP and Coaches Poll rankings will look like when they are released in the coming days. The Sooners are coming in around 7 or 8 in most of the third-party predictions.

We’ll have the definitive answer in the next week or so, but it appears that the college football experts are gaining more and more favor with Brent Venables and the new era of Oklahoma football the closer we get to the 2022 season kickoff.