Orange Bowl Dec 30

OU’s CeeDee Lamb celebrates after catching a touchdown against Alabama in the College Football Playoff’s Orange Bowl last December. OU again starts this season ranked in the top five in the coaches poll. IAN MAULE/Tulsa World file

Oklahoma is among familiar faces in the top five of the Amway Coaches Top 25 preseason poll released Thursday.

The Sooners were voted No. 4 by a panel of 65 coaches. OU is ranked behind No. 1 Clemson, No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia. Ohio State sits at No. 5.

The same five schools started last season in the top five but were in a different order — Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Georgia and Oklahoma.

OU coach Lincoln Riley was asked about this season’s college football playoff race during Big 12 Media Days. While honored his program is held in high regard, the third-year head coach understands his team needs to prove itself on a yearly basis.

“You got Clemson and Bama, unquestionably here in the last several years, which have had their best two runs,” Riley said. “You’d probably put us in there over the last several years with the run that we’ve had.

“That’s all well and good for the previous years. But it’s all about this year right now. There are a lot of really good programs out there and we’re proud of some of the consistency that we’ve had. We’ve established ourselves as a major contender on the national scene, but at the same time you are only as good as your team is this year. We’ve got to go prove it. That’s our mindset right now.”

The Sooners have played in the College Football Playoff three of the past four seasons. OU has been ranked fifth or higher in 14 of the past 20 coaches preseason polls.

Clemson received 59 first-place votes, and Alabama garnered the remaining six.

The Sooners have been ranked in the top five of the coaches preseason poll in three of the past four seasons. OU has finished at the same spot or higher in each poll during that stretch.

Big 12 teams joining the Sooners were No. 10 Texas and No. 24 Iowa State. TCU, West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Baylor also received votes by the panel of coaches.

Riley and Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy are not part of the voting panel. Tulsa’s Philip Montgomery does vote for the Top 25.

Amway Coaches Top 25 Preseason Poll

First-place votes in parentheses, 2018 records, total points based on 25 points for first place through 1 point for 25th, and last year’s final ranking:

Record Pts Pvs

1. Clemson (59) 15-0 1619 1

2. Alabama (6) 14-1 1566 2

3. Georgia 11-3 1447 8

4. Oklahoma 12-2 1415 4

5. Ohio State 13-1 1368 3

6. LSU 10-3 1218 7

7. Michigan 10-3 1155 14

8. Florida 10-3 1103 6

9. Notre Dame 12-1 1100 5

10. Texas 10-4 1038 9

11. Texas A&M 9-4 893 16

12. Washington 10-4 834 13

13. Oregon 9-4 787 NR

14. Penn State 9-4 699 17

15. Utah 9-5 642 NR

16. Auburn 8-5 606 NR

17. UCF 12-1 436 12

17. Wisconsin 8-5 436 NR

19. Iowa 9-4 343 NR

20. Michigan State 7-6 313 NR

21. Washington St. 11-2 274 10

22. Syracuse 10-3 227 15

23. Stanford 9-4 200 NR

24. Iowa State 8-5 169 NR

25. Northwestern 9-5 161 19

Others receiving votes: Nebraska 152, Boise State 118, Mississippi State 111, Miami 94, Army 91, Kentucky 79, Virginia Tech 64, TCU 63, Southern Cal 47, Utah State 32, Fresno State 32, Virginia 30, Cincinnati 25, West Virginia 24, Memphis 24, Oklahoma State 20, South Carolina 15, N.C. State 12, Duke 10, Boston College 5, Appalachian State 4, Baylor 4, Florida State 4, Houston 3, North Texas 3, UCLA 2, Temple 2, Arizona State 2, Minnesota 1, Mississippi 1, Tennessee 1, Troy 1.

Eric Bailey

918-581-8391

eric.bailey@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @ericbaileyTW

Sports Writer

Eric covers the University of Oklahoma football and men’s basketball teams. A Haskell Indian Nations University graduate, he has been a member of the Tulsa World sports staff for 12 years. Phone: 918-581-8391