NEW YORK – The Associated Press released its annual preseason rankings Saturday, and Oklahoma is the nation's No. 1 team with Oklahoma State ranked No. 9.
The Sooners received 36 of the 60 first-place votes, with the other 24 votes split among four teams. Alabama received 17 votes, Oregon received four, LSU received one and Boise State received two.
It is the 10th time in their history that the Sooners will begin the season ranked No. 1 in the AP poll, more than any other program. The last time they started at No. 1 came in 2003, when they went on to lose the BCS Championship Game to LSU.
OU went on to win the AP national title four times after beginning the season at No. 1, in 1956, 1974, 1975 and 1985. But they have never been able to repeat that feat in the BCS era.
The only school to start and finish the season as the AP No. 1 team in the last decade was USC in 2004, and that championship win had to be vacated because of NCAA rules violations.
Two other Big 12 schools are ranked in the preseason Top 10, as well as a recent conference departure. Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Nebraska are ranked consecutively at Nos. 8, 9 and 10, respectively.
Also notable in its exclusion is the University of Texas. The Longhorns were not part of the preseason Top 25 for the first time since 1998. Defending champion Auburn also dropped all the way to No. 23, becoming the first team in 20 years to win a national championship and start the next season outside the Top 10.
The Cowboys' preseason Top 10 ranking is their second in school history. The last one came in 2009 when they were also ranked ninth.
OSU is coming off one of its best seasons in program history, with an 11-2 record that ended with a resounding victory in the Alamo Bowl.
"While we are certainly appreciative of a Top 10 ranking, we realize it's more a reflection of what we accomplished last year," head coach Mike Gundy said in a statement. "This is a new year with a new team and new challenges."
With the departures of Nebraska and Colorado from the Big 12 after last season, the conference no longer will have a championship game. That means the conference champion and the BCS bowl bid that goes with it could very well be determined by the Bedlam game, which will take place Dec. 3.
AP Preseason Rankings (first-place votes)
1. Oklahoma (36)
2. Alabama (17)
3. Oregon (4)
4. LSU (1)
5. Boise State (2)
6. Florida State
8. Texas A&M
9. Oklahoma State
12. South Carolina
13. Virginia Tech
16. Notre Dame
17. Michigan State
18. Ohio State
20. Mississippi State
24. West Virginia