Defending Big 12 champ Baylor tabbed preseason favorite

The Baylor Bears logo on their uniform. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) (G Fiume, 2021 G Fiume)

IRVING, Texas – Defending Big 12 champion Baylor has been tabbed as the preseason favorite to win the conference title again, based on a poll of media who cover the league.

It is the first time Baylor has been favored in the preseason vote. Coach Dave Aranda's Bears got 17 of the 41 first-place votes in the poll released Thursday.

Oklahoma was picked second ahead of Oklahoma State, which lost 21-16 to Baylor in the Big 12 championship game last December. Baylor and Oklahoma State were both 12-2 last season, while the Sooners were 11-2.

Texas junior running back Bijan Robinson, who ran for 1,127 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, was named the preseason offensive player of the year in the media vote.

Kansas State junior linebacker Felix Anudike-Uzomah was picked as the top defender and Oklahoma junior quarterback Dillon Gabriel the best newcomer.

Anudike-Uzomah had 11 sacks and 14 1/2 tackles for loss last year. Gabriel transferred from UCF to Oklahoma after throwing for 8,037 yards and 70 touchdowns in 26 games with the Golden Knights.

The Sooners were picked as the preseason favorite each of the past six years. They saw their run of six consecutive conference titles end last season when they didn't make the Big 12 title game.

Oklahoma got 12 first-place votes. Oklahoma State got nine and Texas, picked fourth, got two. Kansas State, Iowa State, TCU, West Virginia, Texas Tech and Kansas rounded out the poll. Iowa State got the final first-place vote.

The Big 12 will be the first Power Five conference to conduct its football media days this summer. Its two-day session begins Wednesday with the introductory news conference for Brett Yormark, the conference's incoming commissioner.

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