NORMAN – For the fifth season in a row and the eighth time in the last nine years, the Oklahoma softball team has topped the Big 12 Preseason Coaches' Poll, which was released Wednesday. The Sooners received six of the seven first-place votes. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own team.
The Sooners led Big 12 teams with 36 points, while Texas received the other first-place vote and ranked second with 30 points. Baylor was slotted third by the coaches with 26 points, followed by Oklahoma State (22), Kansas (14), Texas Tech (13) and Iowa State (6).
The reigning national champions and five-time defending Big 12 champions, Oklahoma returns six of its seven All-Big 12 honorees from last season, including Paige Parker (Big 12 Pitcher of the Year), Shay Knighten (Big 12 Freshman of the Year) and Kelsey Arnold (Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year). In addition, seven of OU’s eight all-region selections will be back for the 2017 season.
OU went 17-1 in the Big 12 in 2016 to capture the ninth regular season conference crown in program history and to become the first team in league annals to win it five seasons in a row. In fact, no other program has won more than two consecutive league titles.
Overall, Oklahoma posted a 57-8 record last season and became the third program in NCAA history to win at least three national titles. En route to winning the national championship, the Sooners won 32 of their final 33 games, including a school record 31-game winning streak between April and June.Oklahoma’s 2017 season starts on Thursday, Feb. 9 against Auburn at the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge in a rematch from the 2016 Women's College World Series Championship Series. OU is also scheduled to face BYU, Nebraska and Washington in the season-opening tournament.