COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Texas A&M softball team will start the 2013 season ranked No. 17 in both national polls, as the ESPN.com/USA Softball Preseason Top 25 was announced today. The Aggies were also tabbed 17th in the NFCA/USA Today Preseason Poll last week.
Reigning National Champion Alabama, who will face the Aggies in College Station in their first season in the Southeastern Conference March 29-31, again took the top spot in the poll. The Crimson Tide are followed by No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 California, No. 4 Arizona State and No. 5 Tennessee.
Including Alabama, Tennessee and A&M, seven SEC teams were listed among the top 25. The SEC and Pac-12 led the way with seven schools each. No. 7 Missouri, No. 8 Georgia, No. 12 LSU and No. 15 Florida are also on the list, while Kentucky and Mississippi State are receiving votes.
The Aggies have a challenging 2013 slate, playing against six top 10 teams and ten top 25 clubs. A&M's nonconference opponents on the two lists are No. 5/6 Oregon, No. 11/11 Louisiana Lafayette, No. 15/15 Michigan, No. 19/19 UCLA and No. 22/21 North Carolina. Illinois State is receiving votes in the NFCA/USA Today poll.
The team will start the hunt for a 12th straight NCAA Tournament berth a trip to Oklahoma City for the Women's College World Series at the Stacy Winsberg Tournament in Los Angeles, Feb. 8-10, beginning with games against a pair of NCAA Tournament competitors in Long Beach State, the 2012 Big West Champions, and host school UCLA. The Aggies will also play Cal State Bakersfield and Wright State in L.A. before closing out the tournament with another game vs. the Bruins.
To learn more about Texas A&M softball, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieSoftball on Twitter.
ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Preseason Poll - Jan. 29, 2013
1. Alabama (13)
2. Oklahoma (7)
4. Arizona State
10. South Florida
17. Texas A&M
21. North Carolina
24. Florida State
Others receiving votes: Notre Dame (24); Syracuse (23); Kentucky (20); Georgia Tech (18); Virginia Tech (17); Tulsa (14); Texas Tech (12); Mississippi State (9); Oregon State (8); Northwestern (7); Oklahoma State (3); Central Florida (3); South Alabama (2); UMASS (2); BYU (1).