For the third time in as many years, Oklahoma has been chosen as the favorite to win the Big 12 softball title, in a vote of the league's head coaches. Missouri, the Conference's lone Women's College World Series participant last season, finished in second.
The Sooners (79 points) received seven of 10 first-place votes for the second straight season. MU (71) had two tallies while Texas received one vote.
UT (69) ranked third in the preseason poll as Texas A&M (54) edged out Oklahoma State (50) for fourth place. Baylor (40) landed in sixth while Texas Tech (33) and Nebraska (26) finished in seventh and eighth, respectively. Iowa State (15) and Kansas (13) rounded out this year's preseason poll.
Oklahoma returns 10 letterwinners from 2010's NCAA Super Regional team. Among the 11 returning players are four All-Big 12 honorees, including Big 12 Championship Most Outstanding Player Keilani Ricketts. OU posted a 47-12 overall record and was 13-3 in Big 12 play a year ago. The Sooners won the league's final conference championship, after a second-place regular-season finish.
The Tigers, coming off their second straight WCWS appearance, welcome back 17 players. Mizzou also returns three of their four pitchers including Chelsea Thomas, who has four career no-hitters. She was awarded a medical redshirt last season after suffering a season-ending wrist injury at the end of March. Thomas was named the 2009 Big 12 Championship Most Outstanding Player.
The softball season opens on Thursday, Feb. 10, with four Big 12 squads beginning non-conference action.
2011 PRESEASON COACHES POLL
|Team (first-place votes)||Points|
|1. Oklahoma (7)||79|
|2. Missouri (2)||71|
|3. Texas (1)||69|
|4. Texas A&M||54|
|5. Oklahoma State||50|
|7. Texas Tech||33|
|9. Iowa State||15|
**Points were awarded nine for first, eight for second, etc. (Coaches were not allowed to vote for their teams.)**