Times West Virginian
IRVING, Texas —
Defending Big 12 champion Kansas State has been selected as the coaches’ preseason favorite to repeat as the regular season title winner. In a vote by the league’s head coaches, the Wildcats, who have never been picked higher than fifth, garnered five first-place votes to top the 2014 preseason poll.
West Virginia University recieved 23 votes to finish seventh in the poll.
Only six points separate the first through fourth place teams in the poll with four different teams receiving a first-place vote for the first time in league history.
Oklahoma State earned a pair of first-place votes and is tied for second on the poll with TCU. It marks the highest preseason poll spot for the Cowboys since 2007 when they were also selected second. In its second season in the league, TCU checks in at No. 2 for the second year in a row with one first-place vote. The Cowboys and Horned Frogs are just five points behind K-State. Texas also tallied a first-place nod and sits at fourth, just one point behind OSU and TCU.
K-State jumped six spots from last year’s preseason selection of No. 7. The highest change from one year to the next in poll history is Kansas, which moved from No. 10 in the 2009 poll to No. 2 in the 2010 poll. Including Kansas State, four teams have moved six spots or higher from one year to the next.
The preseason favorite has gone on to win the regular season title on five occasions with the last being in 2010 (Texas), while four preseason No. 1 teams have won the postseason championship.
Since the poll began in 1999, six different league teams have earned the No. 1 spot with Texas chosen to win the league on eight different occasions. Oklahoma (2013, ‘11) and Texas Tech (1999) along with former league members Nebraska (2002, ‘01) and Texas A&M (2012, ‘09) have also topped the preseason rankings.
K-State enters the 2014 campaign with preseason rankings for the first time in program history, checking in as high as No. 18 (NCBWA). Oklahoma State, TCU, and Texas also appear on at least one of four national preseason top 25 lists.
The 2014 Big 12 baseball season begins on February 14, with conference action starting a month later on March 14.