The Cooper Cougars are the largest school ranked by Harris Ratings to start the year. The Coogs come in at number 13 in what is now Class 5A, and will have plenty of challenges ahead as they look to replace four players that went on to play division one college football. That road will start against a ranked opponent as well, as number 24 Wichita Falls Rider makes the trip to Shotwell Stadium on Thursday night.
Wylie is once again ranked to start the year at number 18 in Class 4A Div. I. The Bulldogs will have plenty of challenges this year as well with an opening game against third ranked Argyle.
District 3-4A Div. I may be the toughest district in the state this year with Stephenville holding the top spot in the state, and Big Spring coming in at number 14.
This year the Cisco Loboes enter the season in some new territory after winning a state title a year ago. Harris once again has the Loboes ranked among the state's best at number two.
The rival Eastland Mavericks are not far behind the Loboes to start the season. The Mavs will start the year ranked number eight in Cliff Watkins first year at the helm in Eastland.
Class 2A has the most big Country teams ranked to start the season.
Anson enters 2014 as the highest ranked team from the Big Country in division one at number eight. The Tigers have plenty of talent back for Chris Hagler's first year in Anson. That being said, they do have some holes to fill with the departure of key contributors like quarterback Jalen Garza and the multifaceted Matt Villanueva.
The Goldthwaite Eagles are also undergoing a change of leadership as Greg Proffitt takes over as the sole head coach this year. The junior Proffitt will have a lot to work with this season, and a team that enters 2014 ranked in the top ten.
The two-time defending state champion Stamford Bulldogs start the year ranked right behind the Eagles at number 11. Just like Anson and Goldthwaite, the Bulldogs are also undergoing a coaching change as former assistant Ronnie Casey takes over as the boss.
In division two the Albany Lions are the highest ranked team in the region according to Harris Ratings. The expectations are high for the Lions this year, and they are backed up with the number two ranking.
Hamlin has plenty of talent back this year with a large senior class returning, and the Pipers are expecting big things this season. The Pied Pipers will enter 2014 ranked 13 to start the season.
Up in Knox County, the Munday Moguls are looking to build off their strong finish from last year and Harris Ratings has them ranked in the top 25 to start the season at number 20.
Here's the complete Harris Ratings for teams in the Big Country:
13. Cooper Cougars
Class 4A Div. I
18. Wylie Bulldogs
Class 3A Div. II
2. Cisco Loboes
8. Eastland Mavericks
Class 2A Div. I
8. Anson Tigers
10. Goldthwaite Eagles
11. Stamford Bulldogs
Class 2A Div. II
2. Albany Lions
13. Hamlin Pied Pipers
20. Munday Moguls