Flipping through the lists of preseason rankings that coaches from across the state have sent to our office, it was overwhelming to see how many of them ranked the defending champion in their class as the preseason favorite once again.
A lot of coaches do that every year, just out of respect for the titleholder. But the numbers relayed a higher level of expectation for last year's champions.
It almost feels as though trying to take down the defending champions in several classes is a trivial pursuit.
Knocking Jenks and Tulsa Union off their pedestal in Class 6A certainly falls into that category, as the powerhouse pair look to extend their streak of consecutive titles to 18.
Carl Albert returns a core group of players who were vital to last year's turnaround to win 5A, led by one of the state's top playmakers, quarterback Stevie Thompson.
In Class 4A, Clinton has most of its stout defense back, along with a 2,000-yard rusher in Marquiz Simpkins. Only a junior, Simpkins' Division I interest is already picking up, with a scholarship offer from Tulsa on the table.
Class 3A and 2A are a little more wide open, but Blanchard and Oklahoma Christian haven't gone anywhere, and could just as easily be right back on top.
Ringling was the overwhelming favorite among Class A coaches, despite losing star running back/linebacker Jackson Dillon, who is now a freshman at Memphis.
The 8-man classes each return a team that went 14-0 a year ago — Laverne and Tipton, respectively — and are pointed to as the early leaders in the race for the gold ball once again.
How many of the eight will actually repeat? Who knows, maybe all of them.
But here's the thing: none of them are playing for a three-peat.
So let's not hand out any trophies just yet, and see what happens over the next 3½ months.