Texas A&M cracked the Top 10 of its first preseason college football poll since 1999 and Oklahoma, the defending Big 12 champion, opened as the No. 1 team the USA Today/coaches poll, released today.
TCU, last year’s Rose Bowl champions coming off a 13-0 season, opened at No. 15, with Texas _ a 5-7 team last season _ squeezing in at No. 24. Other Big 12 teams in the preseason poll included Oklahoma State (No. 8) and Missouri (No. 21).
For A&M, which finished 9-4 last season, the ranking marks the first time the Aggies have cracked the Top 10 of a preseason poll since 1999, when A&M opened at No. 7 in The Associated Press poll and No. 8 in the coaches poll. The Aggies feature 18 returning starters as well as a school-record 60 returning lettermen.
Oklahoma, a 12-2 team that won the Fiesta Bowl last season, received 42 of 59 available first-place votes from the participating coaches to take the top spot. The remaining first-place votes went to No. 2 Alabama (13), No. 3 Oregon (2) and No. 4 LSU (2). Florida State finished at No. 5 but did not receive a first-place vote.
Boise State, a first-year member of the Mountain West considered TCU's biggest threat in the Horned Frogs’ quest to defend their 2010 conference title, opened at No. 7 in the poll. Auburn, the defending BCS champion, checked in at No. 19.
Among other Texas-based colleges, Houston received enough votes to score 13 points but not enough to crack the Top 25.
_ Jimmy Burch
Follow Jimmy Burch on Twitter @Jimmy_Burch.