Oklahoma Debuts at No. 2 in ESPN Poll

While the Sooners have made a splash with future plans to join the SEC, there's still a very promising season ahead of them in 2021.
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Media Day in Norman is Thursday. Oklahoma begins practice Friday. The 2021 college football season is now a month away.

So preseason polls are getting serious.

The Sooners came up at No. 2 in ESPN’s preseason power rankings on Tuesday, one spot behind defending champion Alabama. The poll was conducted among “33 ESPN college football experts” and includes Clemson at No. 3, Georgia at No. 4 and Ohio State at No. 5.

“The Sooners amped up the excitement level this offseason with designs on joining the SEC in the future,” writes Dave Wilson, “but they have a real opportunity to push for a national-title run this season. 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 FPI gives the Sooners a 68% chance to win the conference.”

Magazine magnate Phil Steele picked the Sooners to win the national championship this season. ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) has OU ranked No. 3. 

The Sooners, equipped with more depth than they've had in a decade, return starters or former starters at nine positions on offense and nine on defense, plus their punter and entire placekicking unit. They also added seven players through the transfer portal, including three starters from the SEC and one from the Pac-12. Lincoln Riley also made just one change on his coaching staff (Joe Jon Finley replaces Shane Beamer, who's now head coach at South Carolina).

Elsewhere in the Big 12, Iowa State comes in ranked No. 7 in ESPN’s preseason power rankings, while Texas opens at No. 21.

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