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.