Being voted preseason No. 1 is a tradition at Oklahoma, and this season is no different. The Sooners will start out top-ranked in The Associated Press college football poll for the 10th time, more than any program in the country.

The defending Big 12 champions received 36 of 60 first-place votes and 1,464 points in the top 25 released Saturday. Auburn, last season's national champion, will start the season No. 23, one spot behind where it began in 2010.

The national title race could be a scramble. No. 2 Alabama wasn't far behind OU, receiving 17 first-place votes and 1,439 points. No. 3 Oregon got four first-place votes, No. 4 LSU received one and No. 5 Boise State got two. Florida State was No. 6. Heisman Trophy favorite Andrew Luck and Stanford were No. 7.

Rounding out the top 10 are Oklahoma's Big 12 rivals, Texas A&M (No. 8) and Oklahoma State (No. 9), and Nebraska (No. 10), in its first season in the Big Ten. No. 16 Notre Dame is ranked for the first time since early November 2009.

Oklahoma hasn't won a national championship since 2000. That's when coach Bob Stoops led the Sooners to their seventh AP national title. Since then, Oklahoma has lost three BCS championship games.

The Sooners have won the AP national title four times when they were preseason No. 1 (1956, '74, '75 and '85). The last time they started a season top-ranked was 2003. That season, they lost the BCS championship game to LSU.

"We're . . . very aware we're not much different than about 12, 15 other teams that'll be competing for it that have legitimate chances to win it," Stoops said. "What are we going to do differently to separate ourselves?"