Oklahoma State was picked to finished second and Oklahoma was picked fourth in the 2016 Big 12 Conference standings in a preseason poll of the league’s head coaches, it was announced today by the conference office.
This year’s poll marked the closest voting margin between the top three teams in Big 12 history with TCU topping the poll followed by the Cowboys and Texas. All three of those teams earned three first-place votes, marking the first time in conference preseason poll history that three or more teams received multiple first-place votes.
Furthermore, the two point separation between TCU and OSU ties for the closest in preseason history, along with the 2011 poll that separated Oklahoma and Texas by just two points.
The last time the Cowboys were picked to finish second in the preseason poll came in 2014, and OSU went on to claim a Big 12 championship that year.
The 2016 season marks OSU’s fourth under head coach Josh Holliday, who has guided the Cowboys to a top-two finish in the conference in each of his first three seasons at the helm.
OSU is coming off a 2015 season in which it finished 38-20 and hosted an NCAA Regional for the second-straight year. The Cowboys were 14-8 in Big 12 play a year ago and return seven starters from that club, including All-Big 12 performers Donnie Walton, Ryan Sluder and Corey Hassel.
The Sooners received 45 points on their way to their highest position since being the league’s preseason favorite in 2013.
Last season, Oklahoma went 34-27 overall and finished third in the Big 12 with a 13-11 conference record, including series wins at Texas, Kansas State and West Virginia as well as home series wins over Texas Tech and Kansas.
OU was picked seven points ahead of fifth-ranked Texas Tech (38). The bottom half of the poll is rounded out by West Virginia (26), Kansas (18) and Kansas State (18) in a tie for seventh and Baylor (14).
The Sooners were last picked fourth in the preseason poll in 2010; a year in which Oklahoma finished second in the standings and earned its 10th trip to the College World Series. OU has been picked fifth or better in each poll beginning in 2010 and finished fourth or better in five of those six seasons.
The season gets underway on Friday, February 19 against Northeastern. First pitch is set for 4:00 pm. The Sooners host the Huskies for four games on the weekend, including a Saturday doubleheader.