Big 12 football coaches figure to discuss Oklahoma’s dominance when they convene in Texas for the league’s football media days next week.
Consider that Dana Holgorsen, who left for Houston in the offseason, never beat OU while he was West Virginia’s head coach.
“They have the best players,” Holgorsen said at last year’s media days. “The talent gap is there. I think everybody else needs to continue to improve. Coach [Bob] Stoops did a hell of a job there for 18 years, and Lincoln [Riley] took that program and kept it going. There was no turnover.”
Wednesday, OU was picked to win its fifth consecutive Big 12 championship by reporters who cover the league. Even with major questions about its defense and promising, yet unproven candidates at quarterback, OU gathered 68 of 77 first-place votes. Texas received the remaining nine.
Behind OU and Texas were Iowa State, TCU, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas Tech, West Virginia, Kansas State and Kansas.
The Sooners are on quite a run.
On the same night last season, OU and Clemson became the first two Power Five programs to win four consecutive conference titles since Florida won the SEC from 1993-96. The Sooners and Tigers are tied for the longest active streaks among teams in the SEC, Big 10, ACC, Pac-12, Mid-America, Sun Belt, Conference USA, American Athletic and Mountain West.
OU’s conference grasp is strong as it’s been since the Barry Switzer era when the Big 12 was the Big 8. Its four straight Big 12 crowns are most in league history, and a fifth this season would be the school’s most conference championships since claiming nine consecutive from 1972 to 1980. (Chuck Fairbanks coached the ’72 team before Switzer won eight in a row.)
Since the Big 12 dropped to 10 teams, the Sooners have been picked as the champion seven out of nine years. A fifth consecutive title would give them 13 in the conference’s 24 years of existence — while no other member has won more than three total.
Texas stands in the way, coming off a Sugar Bowl victory over Georgia and a 1-1 record vs. the Sooners a year ago.
An OU-Texas rematch in this year’s championship would be ideal for the league, which reinstated a title game in 2017 for the first time in seven seasons a year ago.
OU’s 39-27 victory over the Longhorns last season was the highest-attended conference championship game in NCAA history, drawing 83,114 fans.
2019 Big 12 Football Media Preseason Poll
1. Oklahoma (68) ... 761
2. Texas (9) ... 696
3. Iowa State ... 589
4. TCU ... 474
5. Oklahoma State ... 460
6. Baylor ... 453
7. Texas Tech ... 281
8. West Virginia ... 241
9. Kansas State ... 191
10. Kansas ... 89
(first-place votes in parenthesis)