The Nebraska softball team earned a preseason top-25 ranking in both major polls on Tuesday, ranking in a tie for 20th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll and coming in at No. 21 in the NFCA/USA Today poll.
Nebraska finds itself in the preseason polls for the first time since 2007. The Huskers are coming off a 41-14 record and a No. 21 final ranking in both polls last season. Nebraska returns eight starters from that group, including six players who have earned an all-conference award in their Husker careers, the highest total to begin a season in school history.
Nebraska was one of two Big Ten Conference teams to appear in the poll, as Michigan earned a No. 15 ranking in the NFCA poll and tied for 16th in the ESPN.com poll. Ohio State and Northwestern also received votes in the ESPN poll, with the Buckeyes receiving the second-highest vote total of any team outside the top 25.
In addition to Northwestern and Ohio State, several other Husker opponents earned preseason recognition. Nebraska is scheduled to play a total of 10 teams ranked in the ESPN.com poll and two other teams receiving votes. In the NFCA poll, the Huskers are scheduled to face nine ranked teams and two teams receiving votes.
The Huskers' open their 2012 season on Thursday, Feb. 9 against Washington at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. Nebraska opens its season with back-to-back games against top-15 teams, as the Huskers' second game comes against Arizona, which earned a No. 8 preseason ranking in both polls.
Last week, ESPN.com softball writer Graham Hays tabbed Nebraska as the No. 17 team in his preseason top-20 countdown.
Courtesy: Nebraska Media Relations