The Big 12 Conference released its annual preseason media poll on Thursday morning and Baylor has been picked to finish 7th in the conference in Matt Rhule's first year as head coach. This is the lowest that the Bears have been picked in the preseason poll since 2012, in which they were also picked 7th. The ranking is understandable as Baylor is being led by a new regime and are coming off of a 3-6 conference record from a season ago.
Oklahoma was selected by the media as the preseason favorite to win its third consecutive conference championship, earning 19 of 32 first place votes. Oklahoma State was a close second earning 12 first place votes with Kansas State earning 1 as well. The entire poll can be found here. As a reminder, the Big 12 Championship Game returns this season, so the media is predicting a Bedlam rematch to decide the Big 12 crown in Arlington come this December.
In addition, the preseason all-Big 12 team was released on Wednesday. Senior DE K.J. Smith is Baylor's lone representative on the team. Smith was one of three Bears to earn all-Big 12 first team honors in 2016 but he is the lone returnee from that group as Kyle Fuller exhausted his eligibility and was drafted by the Houston Texans while KD Cannon elected to leave school early and is now a member of the New York Jets.
It's noteworthy that this is the first time since 2011 that there has not been a Baylor Bear on the preseason all-Big 12 offensive team. You might remember a certain Heisman trophy winning quarterback from that season...
Baylor takes its turn at Big 12 Media Days in Frisco next Tuesday, July 18th. The Bears will be represented by Coach Rhule along with Brian Nance, Taylor Young, K.J. Smith and Blake Blackmar. Fall practice is right around the corner and kickoff of the season opener at McLane Stadium on September 2nd is a mere 51 days away.
Football is almost here, folks.