CNHI News Service
NORMAN — Preseason rankings have been released, and the University of Oklahoma softball team, after coming up just a game short of a national title a year ago, are ranked second in the country.
The only team ranked above Oklahoma is the only team that topped them in the postseason a year ago. Alabama received 25 of 31 possible first-place votes to land the top spot. Rounding out the top five are a trio of Pac-12 teams in California, Arizona State and Oregon. The Sooners received five first-place votes, while California nabbed the remaining vote.
There are only two other Big 12 teams ranked in the poll, with Texas the highest at seventh and Baylor coming in 24th. Former Big 12 squads Missouri and Texas A&M are included in the first poll of the season, coming in at eighth and 17th, respectively.
The Sooners have a top-five matchup early in the year, with a contest against fifth-ranked Oregon coming in the third game of the season on Feb. 9 at the Kajikawa Classic in Phoenix. They also face off against ninth-ranked Georgia on Feb. 21.
The Sooners don’t play the only other top-10 Big 12 team, Texas, until a three-game series beginning on April 19 that is likely to have major implications on the conference race.