Ten SEC teams, including OU football, featured in ESPN pre-spring power rankings


Realignment will have an impact on the next college football season like never before, and OU football is one of the 10 teams who will find themselves competing in different power conferences this fall.

It's still a number of months before the kickoff of the 2024 college season, but spring ball is just around the corner and it seems it's never too early to start thinking about and projecting what the next season will look like.

Oklahoma is leaving the Big 12 to join the SEC, widely considered the best football conference in the land. The Sooners, along with archrival Texas, have long been big players in the Big 12, and now they find themselves going from being the big fish in a small pond to a place with a number of big fish in a much bigger pond. In other words, Oklahoma can expect the competition to be at a different level and deeper than in the Big 12, which itself is adding four new schools in 2024.

The final 2023 Associated Press Top 25 rankings featured six SEC teams, including four in the top 10. And if you include Oklahoma and Texas, the number of top-25 SEC teams becomes eight.

On Tuesday this week, ESPN released a pre-spring revision to its "Way-too-Early" 2024 college football top-25 rankings, and that model includes 10 SEC teams, two more than the cable network's way-too-early version published on Jan. 8, the day after the College Football Playoff national championship game.

The good news is Oklahoma is one of the 10 SEC teams included in the revised forecast. The Sooners come in at No. 14, one spot higher than where they finished in the final 2023 AP rankings and also one position better than in the earlier way-too-early top-25 projection.

The not-so-satisfying news is that five SEC teams are ranked higher than OU in the revised projection. Following is how the 2024 SEC and Big 12 teams rank in ESPN's revised pre-spring forecast:

1. Georgia

2. Ohio State Buckeyes

4. Texas Longhorns

6. Ole Miss Rebels

7. Missouri Tigers

9. Alabama Crimson Tide

12. LSU Tigers

14. Oklahoma Sooners

16. Tennessee Volunteers

17. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12)

20. Kansas State Cowboys (Big 12)

22. Kansas Jayhawks (Big 12)

23. Kentucky Wildcats

25. Texas A&M Aggies

Also this week, Action Network projected the 12 teams that will make the expanded 2024 College Football Playoff as well as way-too-early 2024 postseason bowl assignments.

According to Action Network, Georgia is the early favorite to earn the No. 1 seed in the playoff. Three other SEC teams are projected as playoff teams: No. 10 Alabama. No. 8 Missouri and No. 5 Texas.

Action Network projects Oklahoma to earn a berth in the ReliaQuest Bowl in Tampa, Florida. against Iowa out of the Big Ten. The ReliaQuest Bowl in one of six bowl assignments that are available for eligible SEC teams after bowl selections have been filled within the CFP format and New Year's Six bowls.