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Oklahoma State football: Cowboys Big 12's higest-ranked team in preseason coaches' poll

BY GINA MIZELL, Staff Writer, gmizell@opubco.com Published: August 1, 2013
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Oklahoma State's pick as the favorite to win the Big 12 title in the preseason media poll coincides with the Cowboys' position in the preseason USA Today Coaches poll.

OSU is the highest-ranked Big 12 team in the first national rankings released Thursday, coming in at No. 14.

The Cowboys lead a group of four Big 12 teams that cracked the preseason poll, with Texas coming in at No. 15, Oklahoma at No. 16 and TCU at No. 20. Kansas State and Baylor also received votes.

The Cowboys' spot, however, is the lowest the team tabbed to win the Big 12 has ever been ranked in the preseason USA Today Coaches poll, illustrating the league's wide-open nature in 2013. Six teams received at least one first-place vote in the preseason Big 12 poll.

It's the fourth time in the last five seasons OSU has been ranked in the preseason USA Today Coaches poll. The Cowboys came in at No. 11 in 2009, No. 8 in 2011 and No. 19 in 2012. OSU finished the 2011 season ranked third nationally after winning the Big 12 championship and Fiesta Bowl but finished unranked at the end of 2012 following an 8-5 season.

OSU returns 20 starters in coach Mike Gundy's ninth season, including quarterback Clint Chelf, All-Big 12 receiver Josh Stewart and Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year Calvin Barnett. Stewart, Barnett and linebacker Shaun Lewis were all named to the preseason All-Big 12 team.

Gundy has a vote in this year's poll, along with former Cowboy assistants Dana Holgorsen (West Virginia), Larry Fedora (North Carolina) and Tim Beckman (Illinois).

Mississippi State, OSU's first opponent, received three votes in the poll.