NORMAN, Okla. Another preseason poll was released this week as the Oklahoma softball team found itself ranked in the 12th spot in the USA Today/NFCA Preseason Poll. The Sooners have been ranked in the top 25 of every NFCA poll since its inception, which spans 142 weeks long. OU moved up one spot from the ESPN.com/USA Softball preseason poll released Tuesday that placed the Sooners at No. 13.
The preseason poll features nine of the opponents Oklahoma will face this season, including five Big 12 foes.
The Michigan Wolverines begin 2006 where they left off in 2005, on top of the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 poll. The Wolverines pulled in 21 first-place votes to top the preseason ranking. The UCLA Bruins, whom the Sooners face this season, enter the 2006 campaign following right behind in second.
Tennessee, who advanced a game away from the championship game at the WCWS, comes in third and Texas follows in fourth, with Arizona claiming the final top five spot.
Alabama, another Sooner opponent, comes in at No. 6 while Stanford moves up three places from the final 2005 poll to No. 7, and California comes in at No. 8. The Big 12 defending champion Texas A&M Aggies are slotted at No. 9 with Georgia rounding out the top 10.
Big 12 teams make up the next two spots in the poll, with Baylor at No. 11 followed by Oklahoma in the No. 12 position. Washington comes in at No. 13, while 2005 WCWS participant DePaul ranks 14th.
Oregon State starts the season at No. 15, while Northwestern earns its first preseason ranking at No. 16. Auburn, another team in the preseason poll for the first time, comes in at No. 17. Louisiana-Lafayette follows at No. 18, and Florida, the only team not in the final 2005 poll, comes in at No. 19. Fresno State rounds out the top 20.
Nebraska starts the campaign in the 21st spot, while Oregon follows at No. 22. Missouri, Iowa and Georgia Tech round out the top 25.
OU kicks off the 2006 season with its annual Meet the Team banquet next Friday, Feb. 3 at 6:30 p.m. inside the J.D. McCarthy Center at 6:30 p.m. Tickets ($20) are still available for the ceremony. For tickets call Shelly Harmon at (405) 325-8361.
The Sooners will open their season in Las Vegas, Nev., at the UNLV Alexis Resort Kickoff Classic (Feb. 10-12) where they will face preseason No. 13 Washington in their opening game.