Oklahoma, which was ready to claim the 1984 national championship had it beaten Washington in the Orange Bowl, is the No. 1 pick in the Associated Press and the United Press International preseason college football polls released last night.
Maryland received three first-place votes and was ranked seventh by AP. In the UPI poll, the Terrapins received one first-place vote and were ranked ninth.
Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer, whose team finished sixth in the final AP poll last year, said being ranked No. 1 "just raises the expectations of your fans. It creates so much anticipation and they feel so disappointed when it doesn't happen."
In the AP poll, 10 of the 105 Division I-A teams received at least one first-place vote. Oklahoma received 23 of 60 first-place votes and 1,090 of a possible 1,200 points from a nationwide panel of sportswriters and sportscasters. Auburn, ranked second, received 13 first-place votes and 1,027 points.
The preseason AP poll also raised the possibility that a team on probation could win the national championship. Southern Methodist is third and Florida is ranked fifth; both are on probation, ineligible for their league championships and prohibited from going to bowl games.
Iowa is fourth in the AP poll. Rounding out the top 10 are No. 6 Southern California, Maryland, Ohio State, Nebraska and Brigham Young, the defending champion.
In the UPI coaches poll, Oklahoma led with 14 of 42 first-place votes and 564 points. Auburn, last year's No. 1 preseason pick, was second with 434 points and eight first-place votes, and Ohio State got one top vote and 412 points.
They were followed by Nebraska, Southern Cal, Washington, Brigham Young, Iowa, Maryland and Illinois.
Since the AP began a preseason poll in 1950, only six teams ranked No. 1 at the start of the season have won the national championship. Tennessee did it in 1951, Michigan State in 1952, Oklahoma in 1956, 1974 and 1975 and Alabama in 1978. Oklahoma also was the preseason pick in 1977 and finished seventh. Auburn wound up 14th last year.