The final preseason softball poll was released Tuesday as the ESPN.com/USA Softball Preseason Poll has Oklahoma ranked No. 5 in the nation. Last week, the Sooners were also tabbed No. 5 in the USA Today/NFCA Preseason Poll.
Oklahoma is one of five Big 12 schools in the poll and one of three in the top-10 with Texas A&M coming in at No. 3 and Baylor receiving a No. 9 ranking. Missouri (No. 21) and Texas (No. 24) round out the top 25 for the Big 12 Conference.
The top-25 list also features four of OU’s non-conference opponents with No. 10 UCLA, No. 17 Stanford, No. 23 Oregon and No. 24 Cal State Fullerton, which tied with Texas for the No. 24 slot.
Defending national champion Arizona earned 14 first-place votes to claim the top spot. Arizona State comes in at No. 2 with 468 total points and three first-place votes. Trailing only three points behind the Sun Devils is Texas A&M, who received two first-place votes. Alabama (425 pts) leads the SEC conference at No. 4 while the Sooners, receiving 410 points, closed out the top five.
Rounding out the top 10 is Northwestern, LSU, DePaul, Baylor and UCLA, respectively.
Eight conferences are represented on the poll with the Pac-10 leading the way with seven teams, with three schools in the top 10. The Big 12 is second with five teams ranked in the top 25, also with three teams ranked in the top 10. The SEC, Big Ten and ACC all have three schools in the top 25 while the Big East, WAC, Sun Belt and Big West all have one school in the rankings.
OU kicks off the 2008 season with its annual Meet the Team banquet this Friday, Feb. 1 at 6:30 p.m. inside Journey Church at 6:30 p.m. Tickets ($20) are still available for the ceremony. For tickets call Kaycee Clark at (405) 325-8377.
The No. 5 Sooners will open their season with a top-10 showdown against No. 10 UCLA on Friday, Feb. 8 at 2:30 p.m. in the Freeway Series in Westwood, Calif.