No matter how much a team has accomplished, there is still plenty to prove.
That’s how Baylor coach Art Briles reacted upon learning that although his team is the defending Big 12 champion, it was picked to finish second when the conference’s preseason football media poll was released Thursday.
Oklahoma picked up 47 of the 56 first-place votes and 548 points, with the Bears earning the remaining nine first-place nods and 508 points. Six teams received first-place votes in last year’s preseason poll.
“If we were ranked No. 1, there would be a lot to prove because every time you play you have an opportunity to improve,” Briles said at a signing event at the Baylor Bookstore. He was autographing copies of his book “Beating Goliath: My Story of Football and Faith.” Dave Campbell, founder of the magazine “Texas Football” and former Tribune-Herald sports editor, was also on hand to sign his namesake magazine.
“There are a lot of things out there that we haven’t done from a mental, physical and schematic concept standpoint that we certainly feel is out there in front of us,” Briles said. “It wouldn’t matter if we were preseason No. 1 or No. 10, you’ve always got something to prove.”
The second-place voting marks the highest for the Bears in the Big 12 era, easily outdistancing last year’s fifth-place selection. They were picked sixth in 2011 and seventh in 2012.
Baylor finished 8-1 in the Big 12 last season, including a 30-10 victory against Texas in the final game at Floyd Casey Stadium on Dec. 7. That win, combined with Oklahoma’s 33-24 win over Oklahoma State earlier that day, handed the Bears the outright crown.
Baylor returns 51 lettermen from last year’s team, which won a school-record 11 games and played in the Fiesta Bowl, the school’s fourth straight bowl appearance.
Kansas State (377 points), Texas (376), Oklahoma State (312), Texas Tech (308), TCU (297), West Virginia (170), Iowa State (121) and Kansas (63) rounded out the poll.
2014 Big 12 Football Media Preseason Poll
1. Oklahoma (47) 548
2. BAYLOR (9) 508
3. K-State 377
4. Texas 376
5. Oklahoma State 312
6. Texas Tech 308
7. TCU 297
8. West Virginia 170
9. Iowa State 121
10. Kansas 63
first-place votes in parentheses