Sooners debut at No. 2 in ESPN preseason poll

Oklahoma players — including quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) and running back Rhamondre Stevenson (29) celebrate after their 27-21 win over Iowa State in the Big 12 Conference championship game last December in Arlington, Texas.

The preseason hype and expectations for Oklahoma has started.

The Sooners landed at the No. 2 spot in ESPN’s annual preseason power rankings, slotting just behind Alabama. Clemson, Georgia and Ohio State rounded out the Top Five, respectively.

The rankings were assembled based on top-25 lists for 33 ESPN analysts.

ESPN’s Dave Wilson gave his reasoning for having the Sooners as the biggest threat to knock off the defending-champion Crimson Tide.

“The Sooners amped up the excitement level this offseason with designs on joining the SEC in the future, but they have a real opportunity to push for a national-title run this season,” Wilson wrote. “

The schedule sets up nicely: TCU and Iowa State, which can push the Sooners, visit Norman this year, as does Nebraska for a Game of the Century anniversary celebration. The Texas game, as always, is a key test, but [ESPN’s Football Power Index] gives the Sooners a 68% chance to win the conference.”

The Sooners are joined in the Top 15 by Iowa State, who landed at No. 15. Texas slotted at No. 21 as the only other ranked Big 12 team.

The SEC, the Sooners’ future athletic conference, had six teams listed in the rankings.

ESPN’s Football Power Index has the Sooners ranked at No. 3.

The Sooners could find themselves ranked at the top of most preseason lists after ending last season with eight straight wins, a sixth-consecutive Big 12 title and a Cotton Bowl win over Florida. The Sooners also return nine projected starters on both sides of the ball, led by early Heisman Trophy favorite Spencer Rattler.

The season kicks off at Tulane on Sept. 4

• OU Football Local Media Day set for Thursday: The Sooners are holding its annual local preseason media day in a combined in-person and virtual format.

OU coach Lincoln Riley will open with a 30-min press conference at 3 p.m., followed by Alex Grinch at 3:30 p.m.

10 players, five offensive and five defensive, will then be available via Zoom interviews starting at 4 p.m. Offensive players include Rattler, Marvin Mims, Eric Gray, Tyrese Robinson and Austin Stogner.

Defensive players include Brian Asamoah, Jeremiah Criddell, Caleb Kelly, Isaiah Thomas and Perrion Winfrey.

Footage from the media availabilities will be available at normantranscript.com and soonersports.com.

The Sooners begin fall camp on Friday.

• Preliminary hearing set for Seth McGowan: The Cleveland County Courthouse will hold a preliminary hearing for former OU running back at 9 a.m. on Aug. 10 in Judge Lori Puckett’s court room.

McGowan is facing three felony counts for an alleged armed robbery back in April.

McGowan, along with Trejan Bridges and Mikey Henderson, were dismissed from the team this summer in connection to the alleged robbery.

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