College softball: Defending WCWS champs Oklahoma unanimous No. 1
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Oklahoma, the 2016 national champions, is the unanimous No. 1 selection in the 2017 USA Today/NFCA Division I Preseason Coaches Poll, the Association announced Tuesday.
The Sooners (57-8), who collected their program’s third national title a year ago, received all 32 first-place votes and 800 points to garner the first unanimous preseason pick since Arizona State in 2012. Under the guidance of head coach Patty Gasso, OU defeated preseason No. 2 Auburn in a thrilling three-game championship series.
Auburn (58-12) earned 745 points after a runner-up finish at the Women’s College World Series. The Tigers head up a group of four Southeastern Conference programs in the top 7 and nine in the top 20.
WCWS semifinalist Florida State (56-7) grabbed the No. 3 spot with 683 points, while back-to-back semifinalist LSU (52-18) received 671 points, matching SEC foe and league preseason favorite Florida (56-7) at No. 4.
WCWS participants Michigan (52-7 /655), Alabama (51-14 / 633) and UCLA (40-16-1 / 534) rank 6th, 7th and 8th, while the final WCWS participant, Georgia (46-20 / 435) was voted 12th.
Joining Pac-12 rivals UCLA in the top 10 are Oregon (48-10 / 484) and Arizona (466 / 40-21) at No. 9 and 10, respectively.
As previously mentioned, the SEC led the way with nine selections, all in the top-20. Along with three top-10 programs, the Pac-12 follows with five representatives. The Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 and Big Ten each boast two teams in the top-25, while the American Athletic Conference, Colonial Athletic Association, Conference USA, Mountain West and Sun Belt garnered one nod apiece.
The USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll is voted on by 32 NCAA Division I head coaches, one representing each conference.