TCU has been unanimously selected as the favorite to win the regular season crown in the 2017 Big 12 baseball preseason coaches’ poll. The Horned Frogs top the poll with 64 points, while Oklahoma State is second with 55 and Texas Tech sits third with 48.
The Frogs earned eight first place votes for the unanimous pick, marking the third straight year TCU has topped the preseason poll and second time in three years as an unanimous decision. It is the first time a team has been picked No. 1 three straight times since Texas was voted six years in a row (2003-08).
The 10-point separation between No. 1 TCU and No. 2 Oklahoma State is the largest since the 2010 poll, which separated Texas and Kansas by 12 points.
The Frogs claimed the Big 12 postseason title in 2016 and advanced to their third straight College World Series, finishing in the national semifinals with a 49-18 overall record. TCU has earned multiple preseason No. 1 rankings this year, marking the eighth consecutive campaign the Frogs will be ranked entering the season. In 2017, the TCU returns 22 letterwinners and welcomes a top 10 recruiting class. Luken Baker, a preseason All-American and the 2016 Big 12 Freshman of the Year, headlines the group, while freshman left-handed pitcher Nick Lodolo highlights the incoming class.
Oklahoma State is coming off its first College World Series appearance since 1999 and advanced to the national semifinals to finish 43-22 in 2016. Under head coach Josh Holliday, the Cowboys won a conference championship in 2014 and made an appearance in the Big 12 Championship finale in 2014 and 2015. The Cowboys return All-Big 12 performers Tyler Buffett, Trey Cobb, Jensen Elliott, Garrett Benge and Dustin Williams while adding 19 newcomers to the roster.
Texas Tech, which joined Oklahoma State and TCU at the College World Series last year, won its second conference championship in 2016. TTU compiled a 19-5 conference record after being picked as No. 5 in the Big 12 preseason poll. The Red Raiders return 17 letterwinners in 2017, including All-American selections Tanner Gardner, Steven Gingery and Davis Martin.
Texas checks in at No. 4, while West Virginia is fifth. Oklahoma, Baylor, Kansas State and Kansas round out the poll.
The preseason frontrunner has gone on to win the regular season on six occasions and the postseason title five times. A different league team has won each of the past six Big 12 titles with Texas the last squad to repeat as regular season champions (2009-11). Since UT in 2011, Baylor (2012), Kansas State (2013), Oklahoma State (2014), TCU (2015) and Texas Tech (2016) have each won the Big 12.
The 2017 season begins on Friday, Feb. 17, with conference play starting the weekend of March 17.
2017 BIG 12 PRESEASON COACHES' POLL
|5.||West Virginia (1)||40|
First-place votes in parentheses. Coaches are not permitted to vote for own team.