Oklahoma is ranked No. 1 in several preseason polls.
“It's the whole preseason hype,” said wide receiver Dejuan Miller. “I don't buy into it because nobody has played, yet. Everybody is 0-0. At the end of the season is when it's the real No. 1 and real No. 2.
“It's good to be preseason No. 1. But at the same time you have that target on your back.”
Linebacker Travis Lewis, one of the Sooners' more outspoken players, said national rankings rarely are mentioned in the locker room.
“We were ranked No. 1 for about five days last year,” Lewis said. “Everybody knows how that ended.”
When the first BCS standings were released in late October, the Sooners were No. 1 but lost 36-27 later that week at Missouri.
“We've maybe brought it up once or twice and the reaction is always the same. Nobody cares,” Lewis said. “Everybody knows you need to win 12 games to get to where you want to be. Once you lose one or two that No. 1 ranking goes away and it means nothing.
“The mindset of this team is to stay focused, stay together and don't listen to any outside forces.”
OU is getting a lot of love in preseason for several reasons:
* The Sooners return 29 players on offense and defense that have started at least one game, 34 if you include special team players.
* Quarterback Landry Jones is a Heisman candidate.
* All-American wide receiver Ryan Broyles already owns numerous school records.
* A favorable schedule.
Most view Florida State and Oklahoma State as the Sooners' two toughest two games. Both are on the road.
Texas A&M, ranked in the top 10 in several polls, and Missouri, ranked in the top 20, play in Norman, where OU is riding a 36-game winning streak. Texas is coming off a disastrous season and has quarterback issues. The Sooners don't have to travel to Lubbock.
Florida State and OSU could define the season. Both are ranked in the top 10 in most polls. The Seminoles were even ranked a surprising No. 1 by Fox Sports.
FSU was throttled 47-17 last year in Norman, but regrouped to finish 10-4.
“I'd rather not be No. 1 but all eyes will be on us regardless because of who we are,” said defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland. “It is what it is.”
Preseason rankings essentially don't mean anything. The one advantage is on rare occasions if no team finishes undefeated, teams ranked high early in the season can sometimes overcome an early loss by working their back up the polls.
Last year's Associated Press preseason rankings are a reminder it's a juicy summer topic, but nothing more.
Alabama, ranked No. 1, lost three games.
Texas, ranked No. 5, finished 5-7.
Florida, ranked No. 4, lost five games.
Neither Auburn nor Oregon, which played for the national title, was ranked in the top 10. The Ducks were No. 11, the Tigers No. 22.
OU coach Bob Stoops has dealt with the hype before.
“Who puts more pressure on us to win than me?” Stoops said at a caravan stop. “You (media) guys or the fans ... that's going to change my mindset? That doesn't matter to me.”
A sobering fact is only one team the past decade — USC in 2004 — was ranked No. 1 by AP in preseason and went wire-to-wire to win the national championship. And the Trojans vacated that title last spring because Reggie Bush was found to have accepted illegal benefits.
OU or Alabama will be ranked No. 1 when AP's preseason poll is released next month. Either way, don't expect much reaction in Norman.
“Our guys are very aware it's the work they do and what they earn that matters,” Stoops said. “We'll deal with it a little bit but it's not an issue.”
Preseason No. 1s
* Athlon's: Alabama
* Associated Press: Will be released in mid-August
* Blue Ribbon: Oklahoma
* CBSSportsline: LSU
* ESPN: Oklahoma
* Fox Sports: Florida State
* Lindy's: Oklahoma
* Phil Steele: Alabama
* Sporting News: LSU
* USA Today: Alabama