NORMAN, Okla. -- The University of Oklahoma baseball team was picked fifth in the Big 12 Conference Coaches’ preseason poll as released by the league office on Tuesday. OU, who is ranked nationally by Collegiate Baseball at No. 29 and the NCBWA at No. 28, received 44 points in the Big 12 poll, ten points shy of fourth place Baylor.
The Sooners were picked to finish seventh last season and ended the regular season in fifth place en route to making the program’s second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance. This year’s poll marks the highest preseason prediction within the conference in the last three seasons, after being picked third prior to the 2003 season.
“I would like to compliment all the coaches for really knowing their opponents in the conference and putting together a good evaluation of how we all may finish,” said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. “There are several teams that have a shot at winning the Big 12 regular season title outright, but ultimately a poll can’t predict who will finish first or even last. That will all be decided on the field.”
Texas once again topped the list for the fourth straight year with 79 points, including eight first-place votes. Nebraska (70) and Missouri (66) followed as the only other teams to receive a first-place vote with one each. The poll was based on a vote by each of the 10 conference head coaches who were not allowed to cast a vote for their own team in the process.
Following the Sooners was Oklahoma State (41) at No. 6, Texas A&M (36) at No. 7, Texas Tech and Kansas (24) tied at No. 8 and Kansas State (11) rounded out the list at No. 10.
“I think the Big 12 is arguably, from top to bottom, the toughest conference in the nation,” added Golloway. “Texas, Nebraska and Baylor proved that last season by advancing to the College World Series. We have another challenging schedule this season and we know that once Big 12 play begins, there are no off weekends.”
OU ended the 2005 regular season with a 10-2 record under Golloway, then an interim head coach. That team closed out the regular season as one of the hottest teams in the nation and 19 letterwinners, including 12 seniors, return for the 2006 season.
Among some of the key players returning this season are two 2005 MLB draft choices in Daniel McCutchen (12th round) and Ryan Rohlinger (21st round) and a freshman All-American (Baseball America) in Kody Kaiser.
The Sooners open the 2006 season at the Texas-Pan American Tournament in Edinburg, Texas, against Texas State on Feb. 3. The opener is followed by contests against host UTPA and Lamar, Feb. 4 and 5 respectively.
2006 Big 12 Conference Coaches' Preseason Poll
SEASON TICKETS NOW ON SALE
Season tickets for the 2006 OU baseball season are now on sale through the OU Athletics Ticket Office and SoonerSports.com. Click here to learn more about what is offered for the 2006 season.
The Sooners' home opener is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 10 at 3 p.m. against Western Illinois. OU will then continue the series against the Leathernecks on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 3 p.m. and conclude the three-game set on Sunday at 1 p.m.
To order your season tickets please call the OU Athletics Ticket Office at (405) 325-2424 or (800) 456-4668 or click here for more information available on SoonerSports.com.