NORMAN — Oklahoma found itself in a familiar spot Thursday morning: Sitting atop the Big 12’s preseason media poll.
The Sooners received 47 of 56 first-place votes, landing them as the league favorite for the third time in the past four seasons. Including the pre-2011 Big 12 era, when the league was split into divisions, OU has been picked first 10 times since the conference’s inception in 1996.
The Sooners have been picked first or second in each preseason poll since 2000.
Oklahoma State was picked to finish fifth in Thursday’s poll, behind the Sooners, defending Big 12 champion Baylor — which received the other nine first-place votes — Kansas State and Texas, in that order.
Texas Tech, TCU, West Virginia, Iowa State and Kansas rounded out the rankings, which were released just days before league coaches and players convene in Dallas for Big 12 Media Days.
The Sooners have won a league-record eight Big 12 championships — seven outright and one co-championship, shared in 2012 with Kansas State. If OU wins another title in 2014, it would mark the program’s eighth consecutive league championship in an even-numbered year dating back to 2000, Bob Stoops’ second year on the job.
OU earned the league title in six of the previous nine years it was selected first in the preseason poll.
The excitement level surrounding the 2014 Sooners is extremely high, mostly the result of Oklahoma’s 45-31 Sugar Bowl victory over two-time defending BCS champion Alabama last January. Quarterback Trevor Knight earned MVP honors after his incredible performance in the victory, making him a trendy pick as a Heisman Trophy darkhorse entering his sophomore campaign.