He’d treat it like a preseason game. At least that’s what he’d like Oklahoma to do.
“Play their starters a series and then rest them – which would be a good idea for them because, really, they should be just focused on winning the game and not winning by a lot, making sure they stay healthy for conference play,” Kiffin said. “That would be a good idea for them to do.”
Kiffin was, of course, joking. Well, kind of, anyway,
Odds makers installed Oklahoma as a 21 point favorite in that game.
“This is a really talented team that has recruited great,” Kiffin said of Oklahoma. “We’re not going to look like them when we go out there.”
On Monday the Associated Press placed the Sooners, a playoff team last season, at No. 7 in their preseason rankings. FAU received votes, but came up short of being ranked for the first time in program history.
Kiffin didn’t mind the Owls being left out.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “It’s just less articles, less things about how good these players are and [reasons] for them to think that.”
Kiffin spent much of the past week trying to keep expectations in check regarding the Oklahoma game, and the season as a whole.
He returned to that refrain again following Tuesday’s practice, noting that powerhouses like Oklahoma achieved their status through decades of success.
“They don’t just overnight become a perennial Top 25 program when they hadn’t been to a bowl game in 10 years and won three games every year,” Kiffin said. “Just because you do it once doesn’t mean the whole program is completely changed.”
In 2017 Kiffin took over an FAU team coming off three consecutive 3-9 season. It hadn’t been to the postseason since 2007.
In his first year Kiffin led the Owls to an 11-3 record, the Conference USA championship and a Boca Raton Bowl title.
Owl optimism has never been higher heading into a season.
“People talking about playoffs for FAU is just ridiculous,” Kiffin said. “I mean, what have we beaten, one BCS team in the history of the school – a Minnesota team that won one game that year or something like that, and now we’re supposed to be going to the playoffs? I mean that’s really kind of ridiculous.”
He also isn’t putting much stock in any of the preseason polls.
“It’s just entertainment and conversation, that’s all it is,” Kiffin said. “There’s no way anybody making those polls, even the ones – the coaches ones, what does a coach know? He’s not at every training camp around the country seeing every other team and stuff, and knowing injuries and knowing depth charts. Nobody has any idea. There’s no one that can say their preseason poll is really accurate. There’s just too many variables.”
For the second consecutive year Oklahoma begins a season ranked No. 7. The Sooners ultimately drew the No. 2 seed in the FBS playoffs.
Last season the AP ranked Alabama, Ohio St., Florida St. and USC Nos. 1 though 4 to start the season.
Of that group only Alabama made the four-team championship playoff.
“Look at the postseason poll with the experts at the college football playoffs, and they get it exactly wrong one through four,” Kiffin said, noting that underdogs Georgia and Alabama advanced to the championship game. “One and two got beat. And four beat three. There’s the experts with all the information post season. I’m not going to say they don’t get it right, but obviously that’s not who was the best team according to what happened in the games.”