Cooper makes the move to what is now Class 5A this year and finds themselves ranked near the top in region one. The Coogs enter the season at number two according to the coaches. Right behind defending state champion Aledo.
District 3-4A Div. I looked on paper to be the toughest in the state on realignment day back in February, and the coaches are backing up that assumption. Stephenville enters the year not only as the favorite to win the district, but also the top ranked team in region one.
The Wylie Bulldogs are not far behind at number three to start the season. The Big Spring Steers also enter 2014 ranked in the top ten at number four. Brownwood rounds out the teams from district 3-4A Div. I ranked in region one at number seven.
Sweetwater is the Big Country's lone division two team in Class 4A, and finds themselves ranked second in the region entering the season. Perhaps the biggest game of the year in 2014 will come against fourth ranked Monahans for the district title.
Class 3A division two once again belongs to the Cisco Loboes according to the coaches. Cisco enters the season at the top of region one, and received four first place votes.
Not far behind is their rivals, the Eastland Mavericks, who enter the season ranked fourth behind Sonora, and Idalou.
The Coleman Bluecats round out the top ten in John Elder's first year, but he has plenty of returners at skill positions to build off last year's playoff appearance.
In division one, the Wall Hawks reign supreme in region one. The 2014 state finalists are picked as the favorites to win district 3A Div. I. Two other teams from the district, including the Bangs Dragons at number seven, are also ranked to start the season according to the coaches poll.
The Breckenridge Buckaroos head into the season in a tie for fourth place in division one with Denver City and Muleshoe.
Two time defending state champion Stamford is the highest ranked team from the Big Country in Class 2A Div. I. The Bulldogs enter the year ranked fourth in region one, but will have to overcome many changes in Ronny Casey's first season at the helm as head coach.
The Anson Tigers are also undergoing a coaching change this year with Chris Hagler coming over from Breckenridge. Hagler should have plenty of talent to work with as the Tigers enter 2014 ranked seventh in division one.
Hawley drops to Class 2A this year and finds themselves ranked at number nine to start the season in division one. Just like Anson and Stamford, the Bearcats are also undergoing a change of leadership with Mitch Ables taking over in Hawley.
The Goldthwaite Eagles enter the first year of the Greg Proffitt era as the sixth ranked team in the region, and district rival DeLeon follows behind at number ten.
Albany is one of the contenders for a stat title in 2014 according to many publications, and the coaches seem to hold the Lions in high asteem as well. The Lions enter the season ranked as the top team of region one in division two with a talented group returning.
Hamlin also has plenty of talent returning this year with a large senior class. That could be one reason the coaches ranked them second in the region, but in a tie with Iraan.
The Munday Moguls went through what many would call a rebuilding year in 2013, and appear poised for another run in the playoffs this year. The coaches ranked the Moguls at number five entering the season in division two.
Last but not least is the Winters Blizzards, who drop a division this year. Stan Caffey has plenty of starters returning for his second year as head coach in Winters, and the coaches have the Blizzards ranked as the ninth best team in the region to start the year.
Here's the complete rankings for the Big Country's regions:
Class 5A Region I
2. Abilene Cooper
3. W.F. Rider
6. North Richland Hills Birdville
7. Wichita Falls
8. Canyon Randall
10t. El Paso Del Valle
10t. Lake Dallas
Class 4A Region I
4. Big Spring
7t. Lubock Estacado
10. Wichita Falls Hirschi
Class 4A D-II Region I
8. Dallas Lincoln
9. Dallas Madison
Class 3A D-I Region I
4t. Denver City
3A D-II Region I
9. Wichita Falls City View
2A D-I Region I
6. New Deal
Class 2A D-I Region II
7. Quinlan Boles
Class 2A D-II Region II