FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
Oklahoma is the preseason favorite to claim the Big 12 baseball regular season championship heading into the 2011 season, in a vote of the league’s head coaches. In 2010, the Sooners made their 10th College World Series appearance and first trip to Omaha since 1995. It marks the first time in Big 12 history OU has been selected as the top pick in the preseason poll (records dating back to 1999).
OU (78 points) has received six of the possible 10 first-place votes while defending Big 12 regular season champion Texas has earned the remaining four tallies and 76 points overall. Texas A&M, the 2010 league postseason winner, and Baylor are third and fourth, respectively, followed by Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. Nebraska and Kansas check in at No. 8 and 9, and Missouri fills the final spot.
The Sooners have been the highest-ranked Big 12 team in each of the four major national preseason polls (Baseball America – No. 5 , Collegiate Baseball – No. 6 , National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association – No. 5 and USA Today/ESPN Coaches – No. 6). OU returns 20 letterwinners from last season’s 50-18 team, including seven position players and six pitchers. Four All-Americans in outfielder Elliot Blair, third baseman Garrett Buechele, right-hand pitcher Ryan Duke and infielder/right-hand pitcher Max White will suit up again for Oklahoma this season.
The Longhorns and Aggies also have been recognized nationally in the preseason top 10. UT has been rated as high as No. 6 (Baseball America, NCBWA) while TAMU is No. 8 in the Collegiate Baseball poll.
The 2011 season gets underway on Friday, Feb. 18 with all 10 league teams in action.
2011 BIG 12 CONFERENCE BASEBALL PRESEASON COACHES’ POLL
|Rank||Team (First-place votes)||Points|
Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams.