Sooners not buying into the hype

Oklahoma is a popular pick as the preseason No. 1 team in college football. But coach Bob Stoops and several players say they don't care about early rankings.
by Michael Baldwin Modified: July 10, 2011 at 6:58 pm •  Published: July 10, 2011

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.

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by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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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

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