The Longhorns will begin the season ranked 15th in the Associated Press preseason college football poll.
After a victory over Oregon State at the Alamo Bowl, Texas ended last season ranked 19th. Though a No. 15 ranking may be well below many fans' expectations for this season, a four spot climb means the AP sees signs of an improved team.
The largest bump from last year comes from conference rivals Oklahoma State. The Cowboys finished last season unranked, but begin this year ahead of Texas in the 13th slot.
Other Big 12 teams that will begin the season ranked include Oklahoma (16) and TCU (20).
Elsewhere, Alabama’s quest to become the first team to win three straight national titles got off on the right foot, predictably ranking No. 1 and garnering 58 of 60 first place votes. Ohio State and Georgia each received one vote.
Though widely regarded as one of the best barometers in college athletics, the AP Poll is not included in the BCS formula. Instead, the Associated Press continues to award its own champion at the end of the season.
The USA Today Coaches Poll, which is used in the BCS formula, ranks Texas at number 15, as well.