Sooners earn highest preseason ranking since winning 1994 College World Series.
Baseball America top 25 preseason poll | PDF
|| OU in the preseason top 10
According to archives for the four major collegiate baseball polls that date back to 1981, OU earned its fourth preseason top 10 ranking on Monday. Below is a look at the other Sooner squads that started a season in the top 10.
1995: 42-16 (21-7, first in Big Eight)
Coming off the 1994 National Championship, the program's second title, OU begins the 1995 campaign at No. 3 according to Baseball America. It marks the best ranking for a Sooner squad prior to a season. The 1995 Sooners made the program's ninth College World Series appearance with 42 wins and a Big Eight Championship. It also marked the first back-to-back appearances in Omaha since the 1975 and 1976 campaigns.
1986: 44-21 (19-3, first in Big Eight)
The Sooners enter 1986 ranked No. 8 in the preseason (Baseball America) after rattling off 55 wins, the second most in program history, the year before. OU wins 44 games in 1986 and win the program's 22nd conference championship with a 19-3 mark in the regular season.
1985: 55-14 (18-6, second in Big Eight)
In 1985, Oklahoma began the year at No. 4 (Baseball America) after returning to the NCAA postseason a year earlier. The 1984 postseason started a string of six straight NCAA appearances for OU which concluded with legendary coach Enos Semore's final season in 1989. The 1985 campaign saw OU win the second most games in program history.
Jan. 27, 2011
NORMAN, Okla. ---- The University of Oklahoma baseball team was tabbed No. 5 in Baseball America's preseason top 25 poll on Thursday. Oklahoma was also ranked No. 6 in the preseason by Collegiate Baseball back in December.
The Sooners have been ranked in the top 10 by Baseball America, at some point in the season, in each of the last three years. Only the 1984-1987 Sooners can claim a better streak among the nation's top 10 in program history.
Thursday's preseason ranking is the highest for OU since 1995 when it was coming off the program's second National Championship and entered the season as Baseball America's No. 3 team in the nation.
"The consistency over a three-year period is rewarding in that we know we are doing things right," said OU Head Coach Sunny Golloway. "Sometimes you wonder if the things you are doing, day in and day out, are the right ways to approach the game. And maintaining a top 10 program, hosting regionals and going to Omaha reassures that and is the reward. All of those things show how hard the coaches and players have worked along a tough road.
"With that said, you can always do better and that is our challenge as we maintain that consistency. The challenge is maintaining that high level and that is also one of the most fun things about coaching. I said it back in December and it will get repeated throughout the season, `it's not where you start that matters, it's where you finish.'"
Florida earned the top spot while the remainder of the top five featured UCLA, TCU, Vanderbilt and Oklahoma. No. 6 Texas followed the Sooners as did No. 7 South Carolina, No. 8 Cal State Fullerton, No. 9 Connecticut and No. 10 Clemson.
The Sooners are coming off the program's 10th appearance in the College World Series with a 50-18 overall record and second place finish in the Big 12 Conference. OU's 2010 season ended after it lost a 12-inning game to a South Carolina team that went on to win the National Championship. The Sooners were nation's No. 5 consensus team in the final rankings.
OU returns all but one position starter and three hurlers from the 2010 squad that won the first NCAA Super Regional at then-No. 1 Virginia in school history.
Baseball America had this to say about Oklahoma:
"The Sooners welcome back seven starters from last year's Omaha team. The versatile offense applies constant pressure with its aggressiveness at the plate, its ability to hit-and-run, sacrifice, use the gaps and bunt. The Sooners have a nice balance of lefties and righties, scrappy athletes (Ellison, Bushyhead, Ross) and physical mashers (Buechele, Seitzer, White, Reine, Ogle)."
The Sooners and Longhorns were two of the four Big 12 programs to appear in the top 25 poll. Baylor came in at No. 16, followed by Texas A&M at No. 21.
Overall, OU will face six of the teams ranked in the preseason poll for a combined 14 games, including non-conference foes TCU (No. 3), Arizona State (No. 11) and Cal (No. 33).
Besides 1995, OU was previously ranked in the preseason top 10 in 1986 (No. 8) and 1985 (No. 4). The archives for the four major polls (Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball, USA Today Coaches' poll and the National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Association) only date back to 1981.
The Sooners open the 2011 campaign on Feb. 18 against William & Mary in Norman. The four-game series with the Tribe is part of a nine-game home stand for Oklahoma to being the season.