The media members who cover the Big 12 Conference have voted in the 2016 preseason poll and have selected Oklahoma as the favorite to win the conference. West Virginia was ranked seventh.
- Oklahoma (24) 258
- TCU (2) 222
- Okla. State 202
- Baylor 156
- Texas 151
- Texas Tech 141
- West Virginia 126
- Kansas State 88
- Iowa State 59
- Kansas 27
Seventh? Behind Texas and Texas Tech? Really?
Yes, the Mountaineers are picked to finish in the bottom half of the conference, but is seventh really the place we'll end up?
OU is the clear favorite, with TCU and Oklahoma State being the most likely choices to give the Sooners a run for their money. Baylor has moved down to fourth because of the uncertainty that surrounds that program losing a quarterback.
Texas and Texas Tech both received more points than WVU. In fact, WVU is 15 points behind Texas Tech, who is only 10 behind Texas. This is curious because WVU defeated both teams last year and seems to be returning a more experienced offense.
Look at it this way, there are three distinct groups of teams in the eyes of the Big 12 media:
- The Great: Oklahoma, TCU and Oklahoma State are seen by most as the class of the Big 12 this season, and each team could possibly win the title.
- The Good: Baylor, Texas, Texas Tech and WVU are separated by 30 points, a group that could be fighting for a Russel Athletic or Texas bowl berth, where the schedule may determine who beats whom.
- The Not Good: Kansas State, Iowa State and Kansas are the bottom-dwellers this year, with KU and KSU struggling to find talent and ISU breaking in new coaches.
Obviously, the Big 12 writers see the losses on the defensive side of the ball too great for WVU to overcome the Longhorns and Red Raiders in the standings, or maybe they just see us as the least likely to perform in the clutch of the mediocre teams in the conference.
Is seventh a fair slot for WVU to be placed in before the 2016 season starts? Big 12 Media Days take place next week, July 18-19, which may shed more light on all these teams.