NORMAN, Okla. The University of Oklahoma baseball team was picked seventh in the Big 12 Conference Coaches’ Preseason Poll as released by the league office on Wednesday. OU received 37 points in the poll, two points shy of sixth place Texas Tech. The Sooners were picked to finish sixth last season and ended the regular season a half game behind first place Texas.
The Longhorns again topped the list for the third straight year with 81 points, including nine first place votes. Oklahoma State was the only other team to receive a first place vote as they finished in third place behind Texas A&M. 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 Oklahoma State was Baylor at No. 4, Nebraska at No. 5 and Texas Tech at No. 6. Rounding out the list was Missouri (No. 8) Kansas (No. 9) and Kansas State (No.10).
“The preseason polls are just a guess on how people think the teams will finish and nobody really knows how the season will play out at this point in the year,” commented OU head coach Larry Cochell. “I am a little surprised on where we were picked but it will not have any effect on the season.”
Despite the ranking, the Sooners’ prospects for the season look bright. OU’s incoming class was ranked as the tenth-best in the country in September by Collegiate Baseball. It marked the second consecutive season that Cochell’s class was ranked by the publication in the top ten (2004 class was ranked ninth). This year’s highly-touted class includes eight individuals that have been drafted at some point in their careers.
“We are really excited about this team and the upcoming season,” added Cochell. “We have a nice combination of experience and fresh talent on this roster and regardless of where the preseason poll has us, we expect to contend for a Big 12 Championship.”
Among the returning players that are expected to make an impact are seniors Matt Bose, Eric Thornton and juniors Daniel McCutchen, Russell Raley and Ryan Rohlinger.
The Sooners will start the season on Friday, Feb. 11, against Gonzaga in the Coca-Cola Classic Spring Tournament in Surprise, Ariz., and will begin the fight for the Big 12 Conference title on March 24 against Texas A&M at Dale Mitchell Park.
2005 Big 12 Conference Coaches' Preseason Poll
* Points based on nine for first place, eight for second, etc.