MORGANTOWN — There was no surprise in the Big 12 Media preseason poll announced on Wednesday as Oklahoma, for what seems like the 153rd consecutive year — really just the third year in a row — was picked to win. First-year West Virginia coach Neal Brown, meanwhile, finds himself coaching a team that little is expected from.
While the media is fawning over the Sooners, who have been the preseason choice in seven of the nine years since the conference went to 10 teams in 2011, Texas has quietly put itself back into contention.
With Preseason Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year quarterback Sam Ehlinger showing the way, the Longhorns were the second choice of the media and the only other team to receive a first place vote. It wasn’t close, however, with Texas receiving nine first-place votes versus Oklahoma’s 68.
The top two finishers in the league standings will compete in the Big 12 Football Championship Game on Saturday, Dec. 7 to determine the conference title.
Third place went decidedly to an improving Iowa State team, while fourth, fifth and sixth place were all extremely close with TCU garnering 474 points, Oklahoma State 460 and Baylor 453.
The Mountaineers followed Texas Tech by 40 points, 281-241, while Kansas State and Kansas finished ninth and 10th.
A year ago WVU was picked second behind the Sooners in the Preseason Media Poll but finished tied for third in the conference.
The Mountaineers have been eighth in the league two other times since coming into the conference from the Big 12, while once being seventh, twice sixth and twice second.