Oklahoma football heads Big 12 Preseason Poll for 6th straight year

As has been the case for six consecutive years, Oklahoma football is the pick to win the Big 12 in the Big 12 Football Preseason Poll.

The Sooners, who have been the preseason No. 1 now six straight times and nine times in the past 11 years since the Big 12 discontinued the two-division structure after the 2010 season after the conference size was reduced to 10 teams.

Oklahoma garnered 35 of the 39 first-place votes and received 386 points in the voting by media representative who cover the Big 12 and its teams. Iowa State picked up the four other first-place votes and received 351 total points.

There was a big drop off after OU and Iowa State, with Texas and new head coach Steve Sarkisian the third-place vote getter, followed by Oklahoma State and TCU in the top half of the conference standings. No. 6 West Virginia, Kansas State, Baylor, Texas Tech and Kansas make up the second half of the preseason conference poll.

Since the Big 12 was formed in 1996, Oklahoma has been picked to win its division or the conference 16 times, and the Sooners have won the Big 12 title 14 times in the 25-year existence of the league. OU is shooting for its 15th Big 12 championship this season. No other team has won the conference championship more than three times.

OU’s 50 conference championships all-time lead all of college football.

The Sooners had nine players named to the 2021 Preseason All-Big 12 Team and a 10th player, running back Eric Gray, a transfer from Tennessee, selected as Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.

Quarterback Spencer Rattler is the Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year.

Lincoln Riley’s team returns 13 players from last year’s Big 12 championship team who started at least eight of the Sooners’ 11 games (six on offense and seven on defense). Oklahoma has won the Big 12 championship all six seasons that Riley has been part of the OU coaching staff.

The Big 12 Preseason Football Poll and the Preseason All-Big 12 selections traditionally come out a week ahead of Big 12 Media Days, which is scheduled for next Wednesday and Thursday in Dallas, Texas.  Along with Riley, the Sooners will be represented by FB Jeremiah Hall and LB Nik Bonitto. Both players are All-Big 12 preseason selections.