The Oklahoma Sooners softball team won the national championship last season, but they are opening the new 2014 college softball season ranked second in the preseason USA Today / NFCA Division I Top 25 polls, released on Jan. 21.
The Sooners softball team returns with seven starters from last seasons national championship winning season and the No. 2 ranking is tied for the best preseason ranking in the school's history. That season they were ranked second behind UCLA. They also opened last season ranked second.
This year, the Sooners softball team is ranked behind the Tennessee Lady Volunteers by a score of 729-720. Despite coming in second place in the polls, OU received a nation high 17 first-place votes. Last year in the College World Series, the Sooners swept the Lady Volunteers.
The seven starters that the Sooners return this season with includes USA Softball National Player of the Year finalist Lauren Chamberlain, Second-Team All-American Shelby Pendley and Second-Team All-Region honoree Destinee Martinez.
This season, OU plays 10 teams ranked in the preseason college softball polls, including their season opener against 12th ranked Kentucky. They also have games with Washington, Arizona State, Nebraska, Louisiana Lafayette, UCLA, LSU and UAB. Texas and Baylor are also ranked within the Big 12.
In some interesting college softball rankings trivia, the Oklahoma Sooners are the only team in the nation to be ranked in every single NFCA poll since they started in 1995. That is now 274 straight polls.