Preseason rankings are a lot of fun to dissect and that is, in short, the reason for their collective existence. In 2017, the consensus appears to be that the Alabama Crimson Tide are a cut above the rest and that comes as no surprise given the presence of Nick Saban and a roster that could only be described as absolutely loaded. However, things can get a little weird after Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State (in some order), as evidenced by what the good folks at Sports Illustrated put together this week.
After the consensus top three, SI.com went with Oklahoma State — yes, Oklahoma State — as the No. 4 team in the country.
A good-but-not-great Pitt (Sept. 16) is the Cowboys’ most challenging non–Big 12 matchup. That’s not to say Oklahoma State needs to be perfect; a loss to a ranked conference foe might not doom the Pokes, should they go on to win the title showdown.
This isn’t a situation in which Oklahoma State is a completely unreasonable choice. Many projections have them as a top-10 team and the Cowboys ranked at No. 11 in the preseason coaches poll. Still, this is a very aggressive ranking for Mike Gundy’s team, even with the stated rationale above stemming from their relatively soft schedule.
Could Oklahoma State finish with 11 wins? Absolutely. At the same time, it does feel like a bit of a hot take to assign this kind of weight to the Pokes and only time will tell.